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Call to get behind high-speed rail

Call to get behind high-speed rail

Business leaders in the West Midlands have been warned that complacency may cost them the £17bn high speed rail link. A range of environmental groups have targeted the Government’s public consultation exercise over the HS2 project. And Professor David Begg, director of the Campaign for High Speed Rail, said the scheme could be scrapped if the negative responses are not matched by endorsements from the entrepreneurs and wealth creators in line to benefit from easier inter-city links. Prof Begg, speaking in Birmingham, warned the city’s business community the link could be scrapped unless it becomes more vocal in its support. And he criticised opponents for making misleading statements about the planned link’s likely impact. He said the coalition Government may change its mind and withdraw support for the scheme if it only heard from objectors.

“There are a number of erroneous statements masquerading as fact at the moment and it is important to rebut these myths. I have spent 12 years working alongside various politicians and I know they can bend with the breeze if they feel it is expedient, so if they only hear from objectors on this then that may influence what they do. I have gotten involved with this because I realise that if it is to happen then it will have to be worked for. The high speed link would strengthen Birmingham’s position as the second city, which has been challenged by Manchester for some time. However, if the city is not prepared to back the bid then the scheme won’t happen,” he cautioned.

Prof Begg said the link’s impact on the development of Birmingham Airport was also significant and would reinforce the case for it to become Britain’s third airport.

“I think this situation should be viewed as a wake-up call for the people of Birmingham and my message is that they should not allow the opponents to win,” he said. “For too long the opposition have been allowed to push misleading statistics and bogus exaggerations and, while I can understand their objections, we must stress what’s important for the national economic interest.”

If you are affected by HS2, our team of property dispute resolution lawyers can advise on your options. For advice, contact a member of the team: call us on 08456 381381 or email propertydisputes@ibblaw.co.uk.