Quarterly reports on environmental impact, costs and progress

Part of High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:00 pm on 15th July 2019.

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Photo of Owen Paterson Owen Paterson Conservative, North Shropshire 7:00 pm, 15th July 2019

I totally get that point, but one cannot get from Crewe to the end destinations in phase 1 without getting this part of the project done, and the point is that Labour’s amendments do not allow any action. If the hon. Lady compelled the Government to do something, I might be minded to support that, but as I said, I have become increasingly disillusioned by the cost and the damage to my own patch.

The first I knew about the damage to my constituency was when a notice went up in the village of Woore, which the hon. Lady is probably not aware of, in the most extreme north-eastern corner of Shropshire. It is a salient that sticks out to the east between the counties of Cheshire and Staffordshire. Woore is a village of 1,200 people, with a nursery and a primary school of about 60. People walk every day to school and to work. In parts of the main road through the village, there is no footpath and some of my constituents have to cross the road three times, so the situation caused major consternation.

We have had a significant number of meetings with HS2, and I pay credit to the HS2 officials who have been assiduous in coming to meetings and providing information. We have looked at a whole range of alternatives to what could happen. It seems perverse that the original plan to move 600 vehicles a day through the village has come down to 300 by simply doubling the time—it was going to be 600 for three months and now it is 300 a day for six months. They are doing that because they are going to travel three sides of a rectangle. Every alternative that we have looked at has been turned down, and that is why I do not support these amendments. It is the sort of issue that the hon. Lady’s amendments could have flushed out, and there could have been concrete action.