HS2 will benefit us all

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Over recent weeks, we have heard from our local MP why HS2 is a bad idea. Yet again John Mann has shown that he is more interested in jumping on the latest band wagon for short term political advantage than working for the long term benefit of both the people of Bassetlaw and the country.

HS2 will directly benefit us here in Bassetlaw by relieving the congestion on the East Coast Line enabling more trains to run, both North and South, through Doncaster and Retford, improving the connections for both businesses and local people. It will also allow for more capacity for freight trains on the line thereby helping to relieve the traffic on the A1 and M1.

Indeed John Mann moans about local quarries who have to use roads to transport aggregates but without a new line there simply isn’t the capacity to run more freight trains.

Despite what John Mann says, teleconferencing, with or without video, will not be replacing face to face meetings. I suffer from regular such tele-meetings and know, as do most people who use them, that while they are better than not meeting, it is far better to meet face to face, where you can see the body language and feel part of a conversation in a way that tele-conferencing can never replicate.

Yes the cost of HS2 seems high at £43 billion but that is for a 30 year project so even if the cost rises, it will still only average out at £3 billion a year, in terms of overall government spending, not a great deal.

Yes the current infrastructure needs upgrading, with improved signalling, longer platforms for longer trains, better rolling stock, but there are limitations on how much this can increase capacity. The choice should not be between improvements on one side and HS2 on the other, we need both.

The real scandal of HS2 is not that we are going ahead with it but that it is not being built straight away as far as Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Indeed there are good cases for High Speed lines down to Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter. In 50 years the people will not be wondering why we built HS2 but why the politicians at the beginning of the century had so little vision they failed to the job properly.

Leon Duveen

Campaign Manager

Bassetlaw & Sherwood

Liberal Democrats