Last month we revealed how the Council have been trying to manipulate figures to exaggerate levels of support for HS2.
The Birmingham Post ran a story entitled “Birmingham City Council HS2 survey results ‘misleading’, says Friends of the Earth” in which we were extensively quoted and Councillor Whitby (Conservative Leader of the City Council) even had to backtrack a little saying the poll “could have been more ‘robust’”.
I was quoted as saying: “This was one of the most biased surveys we have ever seen, based on a propaganda sheet purporting to give facts about HS2. It is a shocking example of the Council appearing to consult but actually setting out to gather evidence to back high speed rail.”
Our position was given prominence at the end of the article, as they reported “Birmingham Friends of the Earth said HS2 would not fit into a sustainable transport system, reduce carbon emissions, or significantly benefit the city’s economy.”
Unfortunately, the largest three parties all still support the plan and despite the Government claiming to be “consulting” on High Speed Rail, in fact they are also just trying to sell the idea; at the consultation event, one of our members was told by a member of staff that it would be “Amazing for Birmingham”. David Cameron has also said: “the Government is committed to HS2” and the plan wouldn’t be de-railed by opposition – doesn’t sound like a fair consultation, then.
The pro-HS2 campaign have also been running some awful adverts claiming that it is only rich landowners in the South East who are against HS2 and that they’re going to stop jobs going to Birmingham and Manchester, when in fact the people who’ll benefit are mainly in London and those rich enough to travel on High Speed Trains.
Some claim that if HS2 isn’t built, they’ll build more roads instead, but we believe this to be a totally discredited transport strategy and the need to reduce the number of car journeys becomes ever more pressing with rocketing oil prices and the UK missing its air pollution targets in all major cities. How Birmingham could benefit from better local transport and fewer cars!