On the 26th June the ‘High Speed Rail (Preparation) Bill’ will be voted on in the House of Commons. Michael Fabricant says: “This is not the main HS2 legislation which will be a major Bill of several hundred pages and which I cannot support in its present form when it is heard in Parliament for the first time at the end of this year. The ‘Preparation Bill’ is a simple 2 page document which makes funds available for HS2 including compensation. If the main Bill fails later this year, HS2 will not proceed though, at present, all three main political parties in Parliament support the legislation.
“The fact is, whether or not HS2 eventually proceeds through Staffordshire or elsewhere, my constituents along the proposed line are affected now by blight and urgently need compensation. For that reason, I will be supporting this short Bill which will enable this and I will not oppose that legislation.
“However, although I believe in the principle that we do need two extra north-south lines to relieve existing track congestion, I am bitterly opposed to the Labour route adopted by the Coalition Government. As I have said before, I will not support the main Bill when it is published later this year and if we cannot get the route changed in the Committee Stage of the Bill, I will vote against the legislation.
“I will be pressing the Government to change the route to use an existing transport corridor, such as a motorway, to minimise the environmental impact and stop the line plunging through unblemished southern Staffordshire countryside altogether; to link HS2 directly with HS1 (the channel tunnel line) so that commuters will be able to travel to the continent without changing trains; and to provide a better link with Birmingham New Street station.
“In parallel with all this action, I shall be taking a delegation from Lichfield and Whittington to London to meet the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, his civil servants, and representatives of HS2 on Monday July 1st to discuss tunnelling and other mitigation measures should we be unable to get the line shifted away from our area” Michael adds.
Clause 4(c) of the two page Preparation Bill reads: “The expenditure… includes expenditure incurred in providing compensation in respect of property likely to be affected” (by the route of HS2).