Warwick and Leamington MP urges Boris Johnson to invest fully in upgrading current transport links and to stop HS2’s environmental destruction
Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western has called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to to minimise environmental destruction and invest fully in upgrading regional and local transport rather than HS2 in light of the climate emergency.
It was announced yesterday (Tuesday February 11) that the Government has approved the controversial HS2 project, which passes through Warwickshire and will see the destruction of ancient woodlands.
The cost of HS2 currently stands at over £100 billion – more than double the 2015 estimate.
Along with the HS2 announcement, the Prime Minister has announced a £5bn investment for zero carbon buses and a relatively paltry 250 miles of cycle routes, ie 640 yards per constituency.
Speaking in Parliament, Mr Western asked the Prime Minister to invest in more buses and cycle routes far above what was announced today and match the investment seen in Europe.
Speaking about the announcements, Mr Western said: “Poor management of the project by the Government has meant the cost of HS2 has gone through the roof. These costs must seriously start to come down if it is to have any net benefit for taxpayers.”
“The Government has underfunded public transport for a decade.
"They are now cherry-picking Labour policies on buses and cycle routes but failing to properly invest them.
"These limited improvements announced today simply don’t go far enough.
"I’m pressing for the ‘Chiltern line’ from Birmingham to London to be upgraded and for more cycle routes and electric buses to be installed, especially in Warwick and Leamington.
"This is where the Government should be investing.”
The announcement follows a visit by Mr Western last weekend to residents camping near Offchurch who are protesting to save woodland planned for clearance to make way for HS2.
As it happens HS2 does not run through his constituency.
Greenpeace UK has said today that Boris Johnson will be "this century’s largest destroyer of irreplaceable ancient woodlands in the UK".
Commenting on the environmental impacts, Mr Western said: “After visiting the three campsites which fall just outside of my constituency, it is clear that residents feel strongly about protecting wonderful natural assets that help us in our fight against climate change.”
“The Government must now seriously work to minimise the environmental destruction from HS2.”