First person: MP Andrew Bridgen - HS2 line will bring blight, not benefits
Before the HS2 announcement last month, I looked in detail at the project aware that my constituency might be affected by the proposed route. I considered the alleged economic benefits, proposed costs and the blight caused to communities on the proposed route between London and Birmingham.
I decided I was not satisfied the widely disputed economic benefits HS2 might bring in the future outweighed both the financial and human costs.
Along with many of my constituents, I have now discovered exactly what those costs are.
While the disputed economic benefits of the HS2 project might or might not be realised in 10 or 20 years, the blight, fear and anxiety took effect immediately with the announcement of the proposed route.
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Several of our idyllic villages are set to be ravaged by the proposed HS2 route.
HS2 is planned to tunnel under East Midlands Airport, something I do not recall happening under an existing, functioning airport and which could be fraught with cost issues.
Perhaps most significantly, though, is the lack of account given to the proposed Strategic Freight Interchange proposed for north of East Midlands Airport.
This represents a private sector investment worth nearly £500 million and which is forecast to provide 7,000 jobs in 2015, not 2033.
The route ploughs straight through the middle of the development site and HS2 has no answers as to how the development could work with a rail line in the middle of it.
The developers have stated that if this issue cannot be resolved in weeks then the plan will be withdrawn. My suspicion is that, like every other large, public sector project of this sort, HS2 will be massively over budget.
This was a Labour idea. Lord Adonis dreamed it up. Frankly, it is reminiscent of those old Soviet block projects which had nothing to do with real need in the real world.
Planning for projects two decades ahead, in a rapidly changing world, is fraught with danger.
I believe that with technology developing as fast as it is, there will be many more video conferences, conference calls, more people working from home and so much less need for this sort of travel in 20 years time.
People may accuse us of being Nimbys. However, we already have East Midlands Airport, Donington race track, the M42 and the M1 and have agreed to have several thousand new houses to further benefit the economy.
HS2, for us in North West Leicestershire, is all of the pain and none of the gain.
Andrew Bridgen is MP for North West Leicestershire.