Friday, 10 February 2012

Do not waste tax money on litigation attack on HS2

(This was written on Monday the 6th of Feb but due to a technical error was not published immediaty)

Oh dear, Oh dear, Oh dear. This evening Mr. Chapman, for whom I have a lot of time, asked the Wendover Parish Council for £50,000 on behalf of the Wendover anti-HS2 group. The purpose is to support a legal challenge to the consultation that took place last year. This is to be on different grounds to the 51M group that will be challenging “only” one aspect of the consultation. The Wendover anti-HS2 group want to join forces with other bodies to challenge the consultation on the environmental impact.

It was to be expected that the people who were disappointed with the decision to go ahead with HS2 will take a scatter gun approach and try every avenue possible to bog down the HS2 project. I am sure the government has budgeted for a full battery of top notch lawyers. Remember, that is tax payer money and it has to come on the expense of something else – longer tunnels for instance. Now imagine Bucks County Council, AVDC, and Wendover Parish Council use your tax money to pay for QCs to mount the litigation. That means you and I will be paying for consultants, barristers, and QCs on both sides if we want it or not. The only people who benefit from litigation are lawyers.

If people want to donate money to the anti-HS2 organisations that is their choice and based on last years’ experience, the donations will flow in. However, using tax money is another matter:

  1. The government is about to enter a separate consultation on the impact to the environment. So challenging the consultation that is done and duster on this ground is wasteful and illogical.
  2. We should be focusing on negotiating better noise mitigation measures and perhaps even an extra stop somewhere near Aylesbury. If we had the money they intend to collect (£180,000) we could build something ourselves on top of what HS2 LTD will do or just plant trees.
  3. There is no clear evidence that most residents wish to spend money on such litigation.
  4. I believe that most people holding public office and working in the public sector have good intentions, are mostly competent, and try to do what is right for the UK (that said, I also believe that the scrutiny generated by our political system helps keep them such). Moreover, I would be surprised if the opposition to the consultation was not for-predicted. Therefore, I would expect that the consultation was carried out with great care. As do BCC & AVDC conduct their own consultation. Thus, the likelihood of a significant, substantial win of a legal challenge is very low in my mind.
  5. Once a consultation is over, lets move on to the next base and ensure minimum impact on Wendover, maximum compensation, and improvement to facilities such as roads, parking, cycle routes and public transport.

As a closing note: The HS2 project has evoked a very emotional response that has seemed to sweep the village. This group-think has created a situation that opinions that are not aligned with the “correct” thinking are treated as high treason. Please, please, please, do not attack people that think differently to you – respect them for their courage to voice an alternative view.

1 comment:

  1. Had several unstructured opinions floating around the back of my mind, which you just structured for me. Couldn't agree more.