Anti-HS2 campaigners have hit back after a transport minister claimed many will submit ‘vexatious petitions’ to ‘gum up’ the Hybrid Bill process.
Birminghampost.co.uk reported yesterday, under-secretary of state for transport Robert Goodwill claimed the Parliamentary process to push through high-speed rail was being delayed.
Mr Goodwill said the big challenge was “to separate these petitions from the genuine types”.
However, Stop HS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin said it was a fact that the first phase of work would directly affect 19 ancient woodlands, and the opposition was merited.
He said: “In saying HS2 Ltd have made comprehensive environmental report, politicians have clearly mixed up ‘comprehensive’ with ‘incomprehensible’. People in our campaign have always been pragmatic, wanting to Stop HS2, but knowing we had to lobbying for improvements and mitigation if it does happen. Communities and councils along the route have been treated with distain and ignored for four years, as HS2 Ltd have gone through the motions, thinking holding regular meetings where they would put their fingers in their ears counts as ‘engagement’.”
“In saying people will submit vexatious petitions to the HS2 Hybrid Bill, Robert Goodwill is being condescending and disingenuous. HS2 Ltd have caused four years of vexation along the proposed route by ignoring legitimate concerns, ignoring environmental impacts and ignoring well-constructed proposals to mitigate HS2. There will be hundreds of petitions submitted against the Bill that would not have happened if HS2 Ltd had listened to communities or bothered to adequately assess the environmental damage. They will only have themselves to blame.”