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HS2 would link with Heathrow in proposed alternative

Category: England

Published: 31st Oct 2011 11:59:58

An alternative route to the proposed £32bn national high-speed rail link will be outlined by the shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle later.

The route would still run from London Euston to Birmingham but would follow the M40 and Chiltern line in parts.

Ms Eagle, Labour MP for Garston and Halewood, says it would be a "huge mistake" if Heathrow Airport was not connected directly by HS2.

A spokesman for Stop HS2 campaign said the alternative link was "implausible".

Ms Eagle, who will be addressing the Airport Operators Association, said she had taken into account "some of the objections and concerns some people had" with the new proposal, which would still see the rail link running though rural parts of Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire and Staffordshire.

The route would run closer to the towns of Princes Risborough, Bicester and Banbury and could link up with the original line east of Leamington Spa or pass south of Warwick before heading towards Birmingham Airport and its city centre.

Ms Eagle said: "I don't think we got everything right in our original proposal when we were in government and having had a close look at it over the last year as part of our policy review we think that connecting via Heathrow and using existing transport corridors means that we're going to get to Birmingham in a more sensible way.

"It might be two or three minutes slower on a non-stopping service but it avoids going through areas of outstanding natural beauty and joins up better with our other transport networks.

"It seems mad not to take your high-speed train though your hub airport at the earliest opportunity - that's the lesson of high speed in Europe."

Joe Rukin, from Stop HS2, said he felt the alternative had come too late, and did not address the concerns of his fellow campaigners.

"Moving the route is all well and good but it doesn't change the business case or the environmental case," he said.

"Nor does it change the fact we can't afford it.

"It is still a project that will only benefit the rich in society.

"We cannot understand this obsession with high-speed rail and connecting airports."

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BBC News, 2011. HS2 would link with Heathrow in proposed alternative [Online] (Updated 31st Oct 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/198271/HS2-would-link-with-Heathrow-in-proposed-alternative [Accessed 2nd Sep 2014]

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