Oct 8 2012 By Poppy Bradbury
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EALING campaigners say they are 'not surprised' by the new transport secretary’s fresh commitment to high speed rail.
Addressing the Conservative party conference on Monday (08), Patrick McLoughlin said he will ‘crack on’ with the £36billion project to connect London with Birmingham and the North.
He said the country ‘cannot afford not to build it’ as he also announced a £170million package to ease congestion on Britain’s busiest roads by 2015.
Ed Pawley of North Ealing Against HS2 had hoped the Government would launch a review into HS2 Ltd figures following the west coast rail line franchise debacle. Three civil servants at the Department for Transport were suspended following significant flaws in the bidding process.
“We’re not surprised he’s still toeing the party line,” said Mr Pawley.
“They’re all keeping their heads in the sand but we know how quickly they can turn around and say we’ve got other things to spend our money on.
“But when the aviation review comes up and they realise that needs to be sorted out first, they will drop this (HS2) like a hot potato.
“Everyone is awaiting for him to review the business case for HS2, we know there are hidden figures which make the business case look not too good.
“We want transparency and failing that we want a tunnel through north Ealing.”
Mr Pawley, who lives close to the tracks in Selborne Gardens, Perivale, will lead a 12-hour protest at Hanger Lane on Friday (12).
Eighteen bridges in Ealing would need to be replaced to make way for the high speed trains, including both bridges at the congested gyratory which would cause traffic chaos at this major gateway into the capital.
Ealing Council has persuaded HS2 Ltd to look into plans to tunnel the route through the borough. Results of the study will be presented to the council and residents by the end of the month.
The demonstration starts at the slip road to the A40 at 7.30am, moving to Hanger Lane Tube station during the day. Ellie the White Elephant, mascot of the national Stop HS2 campaign, hopes to attract the attention of drivers and pedestrians.
For more information on the campaign, visit www.ealing-against-hs2.co.uk.