Politics

HS2 potentially in hot water

HS2 is a well known, scientifically proven, cause of flooding. Like raining, blocked rivers and bursting pipes. In fact, HS2 is one of the most prolific and dangerous causes of flooding, worldwide. I know this because I am a British Citizen and, as is common knowledge, British citizens are all experts on flooding.

The recent torrential rain and biblical scenes of high water in many parts of the UK have led to huge criticism of the plans for HS2, most notably from high profile Tories. Concerns have been raised that the high-speed network between London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester is being built on farmland that acts as a natural barrier to flooding.

This has caused outrage amongst some Conservatives. Most active is Europe Minister, David Lidington, who has written to the Transport Secretary to raise the concerns of many of his constituents in Buckinghamshire where communities could be most effected. Perhaps the concerns are well founded.

The main issue at this point is that there seems to have been a lack lustre effort in terms of a ‘flood risk assessment.’ This has also angered party members. Former cabinet minister Cheryl Gillan has labelled it as  “totally unsatisfactory” and it’s a sentiment echoed by other backbenchers.

As noted, I am not a flooding expert. Apologies. So I took to twitter and was bombarded by anti-HS2 groups who all pointed me to the HS2’s ‘Sustainability Statement’ and it does indeed state that building on flood plains could exacerbate the risk and severity of flooding. Only time and the results of modern engineering will tell if this is true.

Politically it is very interesting. HS2 is something that Cameron wants to use as a party and personal legacy and the Chancellor, only last week, stated he wanted to go “really big” in terms of development in London for the project.

With a General Election fast approaching, many will look back at how the floods were handled. If it is indeed proven that the building of HS2 will increase flooding in the future, then a Conservative party that was divided on this at the time, may look very silly indeed.

There are still those who champion HS2 due to its long-term economic benefit, but at the moment confidence in the project looks a bit wet.

 

Ed Ludlow

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