Guest column: We have been ignored over HS2 plans

Sir Kevin Barron MP
Sir Kevin Barron MP

I am very disappointed that the Government has ignored overwhelming evidence to recommend the M18 route for HS2 in South Yorkshire.

The fact that neither the Transport Secretary nor the HS2 Minister turned up to answer questions regarding the route announcement tells you, in my view, all you need to know about their belief in this decision.

I feel this is another example of the Government showing contempt for the people of South Yorkshire as they have also broken another promise about meeting residents affected by the route prior to any decision.

The Government’s handling of the project has not inspired confidence, with independent experts already calculating cost over-runs of the initial section of almost twice the official figures.

The Transport Secretary must reassure the public that there will be no repeat of any conflict of interest scandal.

He must also clarify what steps he has taken to assure himself of the suitability of the decision to award contracts to Carillion, in light of the company’s recent difficulties.

The proposed route will result in slower journey times, fewer, smaller trains and will not provide the economic benefits to the wider region in comparison to the previous options.

It is particularly disappointing that the Government ignored the evidence that Rotherham Council presented alongside Doncaster Council, which showed that this proposal involves spending an extra £1.7 billion over the lifetime of the project to deliver 70 per cent fewer journey seats per hour, 25 per cent slower journey times and 30 per cent fewer new jobs for our area when compared to a station at Meadowhall.

Residents, especially those living on or close to the route, deserved much better than this from the Government and I will continue to do all that we can to ensure that their voices are 
heard.

I will continue to fight this decision as it will ruin homes and businesses across large parts of Rother Valley.