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Gillan's HS2 amendment proposals thrown out
CHERYL Gillan was unsuccessful in her attempts to persuade MPs to agree to an amendment stating HS2 should be scrapped.
The Chesham and Amersham MP called for members to reject a second reading of the project's Hybrid Bill, saying HS2 should be called off instead.
She admitted she wasn't expecting to win the ballot over her proposals - but warned: "My goodness we are giving notice to the government, and any future government in charge of this project, that it will be scrutinised inch by inch."
Outlining her amendment, Mrs Gillan said there had been 'inadequate opportunity' for members to summarise and consider the 21,833 responses to the HS2 Environmental Statement ahead of Monday's Parliamentary debate.
She also branded as 'wholly deplorable' the decision of Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin's to use the rarely-used ministerial power of veto to prevent the publication of the Major Projects Authority report, which raised concerns at the viability of the project.
But her proposal was defeated by 451 votes to 50, with Wycombe MP Steve Baker among those voting in favour of the amendment.
In a 15 minute specch to members Mrs Gillan questioned if HS2 should be the government's top priority, warned it would do nothing to help the north/south divide, and again pressed for a tunnel to be built the whole way through the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which cuts through her constituency.
She said: "If the project does proceed, I now believe that the only way to mitigate properly the damage to the AONB is to fully tunnel the whole area. The line will already have a devastating impact on the AONB, including destroying 10.2 hectares of irreplaceable ancient woodland, as well as communities such as South Heath and Wendover.
"As it stands, Buckinghamshire will take all the pain and have no gain. The impact of the Colne Valley viaduct travelling through a site of special scientific interest, with no details on how the noise will impact on the local community, is a source of real anxiety.
"People blighted by HS2 will not only be negatively affected by the line itself, but by the construction, noise, traffic, impact on our blue light services, decrease in tourism, and the disruption to our waterways; I need not go on. The effect of these has not been explored fully to any adequate degree.
"All projects carry risk. It is unacceptable that we should not be aware of the risks when we are spending such vast sums of taxpayers’ money."
The former Welsh Secretary added the cost-benefit ratio of the project could actually result in HS2 making a loss to the taxpayer.
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