MP David Lidington responds to YOUR HS2 letters - do let us know what you think...
The letters called for Mr Lidington to respect the people that voted him in, and act tougher and against the HS2 scheme which affects his constituents so seriously.
As well as the 620 letters we delivered to Mr Lidington, we also have an online petition calling for ministerial MPs like Mr Lidington, who are bound by collective responsibility, to be given a free vote on scrapping the scheme.
You can sign the petition (which has already gathered more than 10,300 signatures) by CLICKING HEREBelow is the response from Mr Lidington, let us know what you think of his statment by emailing [email protected]
“Thank you for getting in touch with me about HS2, through the Bucks Herald petition. I have done my best to reply to all my constituents who left their addresses. A large number of signatures were identifiably from addresses in other constituencies. I have copied these to the relevant MPs: John Bercow, Cheryl Gillan and David Gauke.
As you know, I have had enormous concerns about HS2 since the scheme was first announced. I have profound doubts not only about its environmental impact, but also about the business case behind it. I fought as hard as I possibly could within the Government to present the case against HS2 and I also made sure that every argument put by my constituents was presented forcefully to Prime Ministers, Transport Ministers and others.
However, the reality is that the project has overwhelming cross-party support in Parliament. HS2 is supported by the great majority of Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and SNP MPs and Peers, and the bill passed Second and Third Reading in the House of Commons by a margin of more than 9 to 1. I know also from meetings with local councillors, businesses and trade union representatives that there is strong support for HS2 in cities like Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield.
You also may have seen the open letter last month in the Financial Times signed by 113 business leaders including the UK chiefs of HSBC, Virgin Money, Yorkshire Building Society and Siemens UK, as well as a number of institutions and businesses in central and northern England. I do understand that this can be very frustrating for my constituents, because they get all of the disruption of HS2 construction and operation, but none of the benefits of the completed line. This is why I am actively lobbying for the possibility of an intermediate station near Aylesbury to connect with the upcoming East-West Rail. I raised this in a meeting with the HS2 Ltd Chief Executive last month and will be raising it again at the upcoming meeting I have with HS2 technical experts.
Throughout the progress of the HS2 Bill through Parliament I worked hard to represent my constituents at every stage; from the Environmental Statement consultation and several compensation consultations, to giving evidence to both the Commons and Lords Select Committees - both on tunnelling and wider constituency issues, which you can find on my website by searching for ‘HS2 Consultation’ or ‘HS2 Committee’. In particular, along with other Bucks MPs, I have consistently raised the issue of the appalling communication from HS2 Ltd and the fairness of their Need to Sell compensation scheme, which has resulted in real changes to both their engagement and the success of my constituents’ compensation claims.
I continue to work with individual constituents in respect of environmental mitigation and compensation for their own homes and businesses. As you will understand, I cannot go into detail about individual consistency cases which I always treat as confidential between myself and my constituent.
I have also helped to secure more than a million pounds of additional funding for the constituency, including £450,000 for the Wendover Woods area and £243,000 for the Chilterns Conservation Board. I will continue to represent the interests of individual constituents and local communities with the impacts of HS2 throughout the next phases of the project - HS2 Ltd needs to be held to account to ensure that they live up to the promises they have made around the construction process, which is why I met with the Independent Complaints Commissioner earlier this month.
I hope that this explains my position on HS2, however if you have further questions on this or any other matter, please do get in touch on 020 7219 2514, or at [email protected].”