From: Paul Maynard, Transport Minister, Department for Transport.
JAYNE Dowle’s recent opinion piece ‘Why HS2 should be stopped in its tracks now – it’s an indulgence’ was misguided, misinformed and inaccurate (The Yorkshire Post, July 6).
While she might not see the need for a comfortable, modern and fast rail service between Yorkshire, the Midlands and London, business and civic leaders across the North of England certainly do. We have seen strong support for stations from both Leeds and Sheffield, as well as over the Pennines in Liverpool and Manchester.
She also completely misses the point about the pressing need for a new rail line. Our trains are bursting at the seams. Demand is rocketing and our ageing infrastructure is increasingly struggling to cope. Building HS2 will create vital new capacity on our rail lines, giving inter-city customers a faster and more reliable service. That, in turn, will free up space on local lines, making everybody’s journeys more comfortable and convenient.
Britain’s new railway will be the new backbone of our future national rail network, increasing space for passengers on our congested railways and improving connections between our biggest cities and regions.
It will support the Government’s Industrial Strategy by creating jobs, skills and growth and help us build an economy that works for all.
HS2 will bring businesses, employees and customers in our regions closer together, resulting in increased competitiveness for the North and Midlands, continued support for the Northern Powerhouse and rebalancing our economy.
I am fully aware that infrastructure schemes of this scale will affect people near the route and I can guarantee that my department and HS2 Ltd will treat people with compassion and fairness. The route is being developed to keep the impact on people’s homes, the natural landscape and historic features to a minimum.
Finally, your quoted overall cost of £88bn is incorrect. The 2015 Spending Review set the funding for HS2 at £55.7bn.
From: Ron Healey, CPRE North Yorkshire trustee, York.
THIS letter is to express concern about aspects of the A64 dualling campaign which are seen as fundamentally flawed, or with a degree of paranoia that can be attributed largely to mistaken perceptions of those leading the A64 group.
Firstly, it has to be noted that there is little evidence of a link between transport and economic growth, as recent research commissioned by CPRE highlights the fact that most highway schemes increase congestion, fail to provide economic benefits and lead to car-dependent developments as well as damaging the environment in every sense.
The study (Impact of Road Projects in England – TFQL) looked at over 80 official examinations of completed road schemes.
On the environment, it found that 80 per cent of schemes analysed “had an inverse impact on the landscape whether at one or five years after completion” and 57 per cent affected an area that had a national or local designation for landscape, biodiversity or heritage.
The proponents of these highway schemes, including DfT, need to accept that road schemes do induce traffic far above background trends over the longer term, do lead to permanent and significant environmental/landscape damage – and must show evidence of economic benefits to local communities.
Thatcher divided us
From: Ian Richardson, Beverley.
ONE might suggest that the string of high marks Bernard Ingham awarded to his former boss (The Yorkshire Post, July 12) stems not just from his close working relationship with Margaret Thatcher, but from an undiminished infatuation with her legacy.
While I can accept that she would generally merit better marks than the hapless Theresa May, it all does rather depend on what is measured. Try this one – unifying the nation.
Here, Mrs Thatcher would plunge deep into negative numbers, especially in Liverpool, Glasgow and most of South Yorkshire. Mrs Thatcher was not a great Prime Minister but a highly divisive one. Greatness lies with those who bring us together, not those who tear us apart.
From: Bob Watson, Baildon.
THE population of the UK has moved closer to overtaking France. Official projections have also suggested that the country will surpass the populations of both France and Germany by 2050 (The Yorkshire Post, July 11).
Action surely has to be taken sooner rather than later to restrict this growth. The land area of France is well over twice the size of the UK, and Germany is significantly larger as well. Both these countries could cope much more easily with population growth, but we cannot.
World class attraction
From: Henry Bentley, Leyburn.
IF the Lake District qualifies for world heritage status, why not the Yorkshire Dales – which has been extended into the Lakes – or the North York Moors?
From: Clare Horsfield, Silkstone, Barnsley.
SINCE when have we resorted to The Lake District being defined as covering square kilometres (The Yorkshire Post, July 10)?
From: James Johnson, York.
AFTER hearing Bishop James Jones, the former Bishop of Liverpool and now resident of Ryedale, on Radio Four’s Thought For The Day, I hope his passion for rural affairs does not go to waste once his duties with regard to the Hillsborough disaster are complete. We need more like him in public life.