Boris Johnson: HS2 campaigners pretending to be concerned about environment

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson

First published in News Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

BORIS Johnson said HS2 campaigners are pretending they are objecting to the project on environmental grounds when they're actually more worried about the effect it will have on house prices.

The Mayor of London said in an interview with Total Politics magazine those opposed to the scheme weren't concerned "the great crested grebe is going to be invaded or whatever".

The planned route of the line will go through the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and several hectares of designated ancient woodlands, which are more than 400 years old.

He spoke before a debate in Parliament yesterday, where MPs voted in favour of progressing the scheme.

Mr Johnson said: "People are in the humiliating position of having to pretend that there’s some environmental objection that they have, that the great crested grebe is going to be invaded or whatever. What they care about is their house prices.

"It's tragic we have protest groups talking about ‘this ancient woodland’ when actually there’s no tree in this country that’s more than 200 years old. Most mature trees die at about the age of my age, the average life expectancy of a tree can’t be more than about 60 years. There aren’t that many ancient woodlands around is the point I’m trying to make.

"It’s b******s. They’re not campaigning for forests, they’re not campaigning for butterflies. They pretend to be obviously, but what they’re really furious about is that their house prices are getting it."

Comments (13)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

11:00am Tue 29 Apr 14

geoffW says...

... and this idiot is touted as the next leader of the conservative party.
... and this idiot is touted as the next leader of the conservative party. geoffW
  • Score: 1

12:26pm Tue 29 Apr 14

sparky49 says...

geoffW wrote:
... and this idiot is touted as the next leader of the conservative party.
He's right and you are wrong. This man is no idiot, he plays the bumbling fool, but remember the Bullingdon boys, Cameron, Osborne and Bo Jo all at Eton the same time.
What a scary thought this clown running the country, he has already screwed up TFL with double deckers costing a mere 300 thousand each and making the underground less safe with the latest attack on ordinary tube workers instigated by Dodgy Dave.
Again you have been warned.
[quote][p][bold]geoffW[/bold] wrote: ... and this idiot is touted as the next leader of the conservative party.[/p][/quote]He's right and you are wrong. This man is no idiot, he plays the bumbling fool, but remember the Bullingdon boys, Cameron, Osborne and Bo Jo all at Eton the same time. What a scary thought this clown running the country, he has already screwed up TFL with double deckers costing a mere 300 thousand each and making the underground less safe with the latest attack on ordinary tube workers instigated by Dodgy Dave. Again you have been warned. sparky49
  • Score: -2

5:33pm Tue 29 Apr 14

bluebanana says...

Having met Boris and know a few people who work closely with him, it is true that he is very sharp, very switched on and is very clever. He may come across as a bit of a fool but that may be to get his opponents to drop their guard perhaps?!

I personally find it refreshing that we have a politician who actually says what he thinks and doesn't come out with a load of spin and rubbish to dodge questions. Whether you agree with him or not, he is at least being honest!
Having met Boris and know a few people who work closely with him, it is true that he is very sharp, very switched on and is very clever. He may come across as a bit of a fool but that may be to get his opponents to drop their guard perhaps?! I personally find it refreshing that we have a politician who actually says what he thinks and doesn't come out with a load of spin and rubbish to dodge questions. Whether you agree with him or not, he is at least being honest! bluebanana
  • Score: 10

5:48pm Tue 29 Apr 14

motco says...

Over many years and under all stripes of politician, ordinary people have been continually urged to work hard and own property. What is so sinful about caring for that investment - it represents a greater part of an ordinary person's assets than it might of many an MP or peer. I am fiercely protective of what the sweat of my brow has acquired and would think a fool anyone who rolls over and acquiesces to demands that they forfeit large parts of the value of their hard-won domicile for a few people to gain a few minutes travel time. NIMBY? Yes!
Over many years and under all stripes of politician, ordinary people have been continually urged to work hard and own property. What is so sinful about caring for that investment - it represents a greater part of an ordinary person's assets than it might of many an MP or peer. I am fiercely protective of what the sweat of my brow has acquired and would think a fool anyone who rolls over and acquiesces to demands that they forfeit large parts of the value of their hard-won domicile for a few people to gain a few minutes travel time. NIMBY? Yes! motco
  • Score: -1

1:48pm Wed 30 Apr 14

Terry_Marlow says...

No Boris you have it wrong!
Many people totally unaffected by the proximity of HS2 are totally against the use of so much money being spent on what looks increasingly more & more a gigantic white elephant.
The current cost is quoted at around £50 billion!. To spend this amount when we have hospitals closing A&E's as well as other departments (without consultation), schools turning out illiterate school leavers, roads that are falling to pieces, councils that are unable to do what is required of them due to lack of government funding etc. etc. is tantamount to lunacy.
Existing lines should be upgraded at less cost.
No Boris you have it wrong! Many people totally unaffected by the proximity of HS2 are totally against the use of so much money being spent on what looks increasingly more & more a gigantic white elephant. The current cost is quoted at around £50 billion!. To spend this amount when we have hospitals closing A&E's as well as other departments (without consultation), schools turning out illiterate school leavers, roads that are falling to pieces, councils that are unable to do what is required of them due to lack of government funding etc. etc. is tantamount to lunacy. Existing lines should be upgraded at less cost. Terry_Marlow
  • Score: 8

6:50pm Wed 30 Apr 14

The Drone says...

So busy reading about Boris that I missed this report in the UK papers.

LIDINGTON THREATENS TO RESIGN OVER HS2 TRAIN DEMANDS
Europe Minister David Lidington, who missed the Commons vote on the High Speed 2 train because he was on an official trip to Estonia, has vowed to sacrifice his job in future if he fails to secure adequate mitigation and compensation for the Aylesbury area where he is MP.
Work on the £50 billion high-speed rail project will begin in 2017 as planned, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said after a 33-strong Tory revolt in the Commons failed to wreck the scheme.

Mr Lidington, who leads the UK handling of Gibraltar issues at the Foreign Office, was one of several ministerial critics away from the Commons on official business - thus avoiding a whip-defying vote against the Government line that would almost certainly mean leaving the front bench. He told the Bucks Herald newspaper: “I will resign at a later stage of the bill if they don’t get mitigation, and that for me includes a Chilterns tunnel.”

He said he understood local criticism of his decision not to register his protest in the Second Reading vote.

But he said: “If I stood down I would just be one more MP that is against HS2, but by staying in I have the inside track, it’s a pragmatic political judgment.”
Gibraltar Chronicle 30 04 2014
So busy reading about Boris that I missed this report in the UK papers. LIDINGTON THREATENS TO RESIGN OVER HS2 TRAIN DEMANDS Europe Minister David Lidington, who missed the Commons vote on the High Speed 2 train because he was on an official trip to Estonia, has vowed to sacrifice his job in future if he fails to secure adequate mitigation and compensation for the Aylesbury area where he is MP. Work on the £50 billion high-speed rail project will begin in 2017 as planned, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said after a 33-strong Tory revolt in the Commons failed to wreck the scheme. Mr Lidington, who leads the UK handling of Gibraltar issues at the Foreign Office, was one of several ministerial critics away from the Commons on official business - thus avoiding a whip-defying vote against the Government line that would almost certainly mean leaving the front bench. He told the Bucks Herald newspaper: “I will resign at a later stage of the bill if they don’t get mitigation, and that for me includes a Chilterns tunnel.” He said he understood local criticism of his decision not to register his protest in the Second Reading vote. But he said: “If I stood down I would just be one more MP that is against HS2, but by staying in I have the inside track, it’s a pragmatic political judgment.” Gibraltar Chronicle 30 04 2014 The Drone
  • Score: -1

1:18am Thu 1 May 14

FLiszt says...

Oh dear. Boris shows he's as out of touch with the public as his fellow Cabinet Etonians! All protesters do is refute the bogus claims made by proponents of HS2, and then get this hot air in response. In footie parlance, instead of playing the man, why don't you play the ball by arguing on the basis of facts and leave all your huffing and puffing at home Boris! Ask yourself why is it that Francis Maude MP preaches open Government to many other countries in the world, yet he refuses to publish the Government's own report on HS2 - 'tradition' could just as well be used by the governments he's asking to change as to why they should continue to operate closed government. Why can't we debate all the facts in the open? I am glad HS2 has been investigated: it would have been wrong not to at least look at it and associated alternatives seriously, but having had a good look and found the case for HS2 to be increasingly flawed what is so weak about then abandoning it on the basis of it being found not to live up to initial hopes and expectations? Go and talk to your father, Boris, he'll fill you in on why you should have maintained your anti- HS2 stance.
Oh dear. Boris shows he's as out of touch with the public as his fellow Cabinet Etonians! All protesters do is refute the bogus claims made by proponents of HS2, and then get this hot air in response. In footie parlance, instead of playing the man, why don't you play the ball by arguing on the basis of facts and leave all your huffing and puffing at home Boris! Ask yourself why is it that Francis Maude MP preaches open Government to many other countries in the world, yet he refuses to publish the Government's own report on HS2 - 'tradition' could just as well be used by the governments he's asking to change as to why they should continue to operate closed government. Why can't we debate all the facts in the open? I am glad HS2 has been investigated: it would have been wrong not to at least look at it and associated alternatives seriously, but having had a good look and found the case for HS2 to be increasingly flawed what is so weak about then abandoning it on the basis of it being found not to live up to initial hopes and expectations? Go and talk to your father, Boris, he'll fill you in on why you should have maintained your anti- HS2 stance. FLiszt
  • Score: 2

9:38pm Thu 1 May 14

Minority Report says...

Boris has it all wrong, HS2 will not affect my property. So he can not call me a NIMBY because I live nowhere near the route. When the hype and promises are strip and the facts examined it's an very expensive folly at tax payer expense. It will be of no benefit locally or nationally. However a few contractors will get very rich. The economy is slowly recovering, HS2 will cost everyone to much and put the country in economic dark ages. I think Nigel Farages party are the only political party to do the math and realise the true costs and benefits.
Boris has it all wrong, HS2 will not affect my property. So he can not call me a NIMBY because I live nowhere near the route. When the hype and promises are strip and the facts examined it's an very expensive folly at tax payer expense. It will be of no benefit locally or nationally. However a few contractors will get very rich. The economy is slowly recovering, HS2 will cost everyone to much and put the country in economic dark ages. I think Nigel Farages party are the only political party to do the math and realise the true costs and benefits. Minority Report
  • Score: 4

9:10am Fri 2 May 14

mistamina says...

Minority Report wrote:
Boris has it all wrong, HS2 will not affect my property. So he can not call me a NIMBY because I live nowhere near the route. When the hype and promises are strip and the facts examined it's an very expensive folly at tax payer expense. It will be of no benefit locally or nationally. However a few contractors will get very rich. The economy is slowly recovering, HS2 will cost everyone to much and put the country in economic dark ages. I think Nigel Farages party are the only political party to do the math and realise the true costs and benefits.
The only maths Farage does is count the poles (i believe i may have made a pun!).
[quote][p][bold]Minority Report[/bold] wrote: Boris has it all wrong, HS2 will not affect my property. So he can not call me a NIMBY because I live nowhere near the route. When the hype and promises are strip and the facts examined it's an very expensive folly at tax payer expense. It will be of no benefit locally or nationally. However a few contractors will get very rich. The economy is slowly recovering, HS2 will cost everyone to much and put the country in economic dark ages. I think Nigel Farages party are the only political party to do the math and realise the true costs and benefits.[/p][/quote]The only maths Farage does is count the poles (i believe i may have made a pun!). mistamina
  • Score: 10

11:16pm Fri 2 May 14

Undercover Euro Yob says...

Frightfully witty loan from Evelyn Waugh - 'great crested grebe' jolly funny Bo Jo!

Nobody has produced a cogent, convincing, consistent justification for HS2.

Boris obviously doesn't know much about trees, ancient woodland and he does not explain why HS2 is a good thing.

I live some miles from the planned HS2 route.
Frightfully witty loan from Evelyn Waugh - 'great crested grebe' jolly funny Bo Jo! Nobody has produced a cogent, convincing, consistent justification for HS2. Boris obviously doesn't know much about trees, ancient woodland and he does not explain why HS2 is a good thing. I live some miles from the planned HS2 route. Undercover Euro Yob
  • Score: 1

1:37pm Sat 3 May 14

piran says...

Minority Report wrote:
Boris has it all wrong, HS2 will not affect my property. So he can not call me a NIMBY because I live nowhere near the route. When the hype and promises are strip and the facts examined it's an very expensive folly at tax payer expense. It will be of no benefit locally or nationally. However a few contractors will get very rich. The economy is slowly recovering, HS2 will cost everyone to much and put the country in economic dark ages. I think Nigel Farages party are the only political party to do the math and realise the true costs and benefits.
Really? Read UKIP manifest from the last election - they wanted 3 High Speed lines built! Amazing changes when they think they can pick up populist votes yet have absolutely no solutions to solve UK future transport infrastructure needs. Only a fool would vote UKIP
[quote][p][bold]Minority Report[/bold] wrote: Boris has it all wrong, HS2 will not affect my property. So he can not call me a NIMBY because I live nowhere near the route. When the hype and promises are strip and the facts examined it's an very expensive folly at tax payer expense. It will be of no benefit locally or nationally. However a few contractors will get very rich. The economy is slowly recovering, HS2 will cost everyone to much and put the country in economic dark ages. I think Nigel Farages party are the only political party to do the math and realise the true costs and benefits.[/p][/quote]Really? Read UKIP manifest from the last election - they wanted 3 High Speed lines built! Amazing changes when they think they can pick up populist votes yet have absolutely no solutions to solve UK future transport infrastructure needs. Only a fool would vote UKIP piran
  • Score: 0

11:00am Sun 4 May 14

Malc London says...

What would you say to closing all the junctions on the M40 and increasing the speed limit to 100mph?

That in effect is what HS2 is. Useless unless you live either end.

My opposition the HS2 would be less if it stopped on route, had huge car parks and linked to the exiting rail system.

Scrap the confusing ticket pricing and you might then have a rail service worth the cost. But on existing plans, HS2 will increase the journey time and distance (and cost) getting into London in order to catch it.
What would you say to closing all the junctions on the M40 and increasing the speed limit to 100mph? That in effect is what HS2 is. Useless unless you live either end. My opposition the HS2 would be less if it stopped on route, had huge car parks and linked to the exiting rail system. Scrap the confusing ticket pricing and you might then have a rail service worth the cost. But on existing plans, HS2 will increase the journey time and distance (and cost) getting into London in order to catch it. Malc London
  • Score: 1

10:05pm Sun 4 May 14

Undercover Euro Yob says...

Maybe Boris is reassuring the very rich that he is on their side just as much as the Cameroons.
Maybe Boris is reassuring the very rich that he is on their side just as much as the Cameroons. Undercover Euro Yob
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree