Anger shown at ‘wasteful’ new rail link

PROTESTERS have hit out against plans for a £33bn high-speed rail network which could cut through West Yorkshire.

People gathered at Wakefield Town Hall yesterday as campaigners from the Stop HS2 group led demonstrations against the proposed High Speed Two link between London and Scotland.

In June, campaigners Action Groups Against High Speed Two (AGAHST) claimed the route would cut through parts of the Hemsworth constituency.

They said it would “affect homes and quality of life”.

Yesterday’s Stop HS2 protest, called the Great White Elephant Hunt, featured a blow-up elephant to signify that the development was a waste of money.

Stop HS2 campaign co-ordinator Joe Rukin said: “The reality is that HS2 is little more than a fast train for fat cats, and is the most expensive way possible of solving one of the least pressing problems on the rail network.

“We are not against trains, simply against the ridiculous waste a vanity project like HS2 represents when there are far more important things to be thinking about right now.

“We have always said that HS2 has no business case, no environmental case and most importantly at this time, there is no money to pay for it and better things to be supporting and spending money on.”

The planned high speed rail network would allow people to travel between London and Leeds in less than 80 minutes and it is hoped it would create thousands of construction jobs, meet targets on climate change, support growth and regeneration and create significant benefits for rail travellers.

The Department for Transport carried out a consultation on the plans and said the results would be available before the end of 2011.