Action group against HS2 warns project coming to Cheshire is still ‘very much a reality’

AN action group against HS2 is striving to remind people the multi-billion pound project coming to Cheshire is still ‘very much a reality’. Mid Cheshire Against HS2 was set up in response to the Government’s decision on January 28, 2013, to extend HS2 into the county. Its main aim is to stop HS2, but members are concerned some Cheshire residents appear to be unaware of the impact it will have.

Graham Dellow, founder member, said: “We set ourselves up as an action group against HS2 in around March 2013.  “That followed the announcement of it extending into Cheshire, when phase one was in its planning stage.  “Some people had known about HS2 going back to 2010 but no-one knew what the route was going to be.”

HS2 proposes a ‘faster way of travel’, ‘speeds of up to 250mph’ and a ‘reduction in journey times’. The construction of the full network is now estimated to cost somewhere between GBP98 billion and GBP106 billion. High Speed Rail already exists in Britain – HS1 connects St Pancras International station in London with Kent, the Channel Tunnel and Europe.

HS2 Phase 1 will link London to Birmingham and construction started in September 2020. Phase 2a will link Birmingham with Crewe, while Phase 2b will link Crewe with Manchester. Mid Cheshire Against HS2 believes, for Cheshire, HS2 will be ‘all pain, no gain’, with countryside being ‘savaged’ to make way for the project. 

Meanwhile, they argue the engineering solutions needed in Cheshire will add to the ballooning costs.  The line will have to pass over unstable ground and salt mines. One solution is to reduce the speed of trains, which Mid Cheshire Against HS2 predicts will result in it being ‘low speed but high cost’ for the region.

They add that we will all ‘bear the environmental and economic costs’. “However close or far from the HS2 route, the whole of Cheshire is going to be affected,” Graham added. “There was a point where a lot of people thought it had been cancelled, but it’s still very much a reality at this moment in time.”

In the nine years since Mid Cheshire Against HS2 was formed, it has managed to boost public awareness and met with Cheshire MPs.

And Graham says ‘it’s more of the same into the future’ to try and stop the project.

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