Buckingham MP fears stress and anxiety over HS2 has cost lives
'It's obscene to throw money into this unwanted project' - Greg Smith speaks out in parliamentary debate
Buckingham MP Greg Smith said he feared people had lost their lives due to the anxiety caused by HS2, in a parliamentary debate on Monday.
He said: "I'm devastated to tell this house that, among the hundreds of people in that state of stress and anxiety, there have now been cases of people suffering heart attacks and losing their lives, which I fear is not a coincidence."
He added that evidence had been uncovered of "limestone being applied to land taken, which renders it useless for future agriculture use", and said people could guess what the "endgame" was.
Mr Smith said: "I stand with the protestors calling for HS2 to be scrapped.
"At a time when the state is reaching deeper into people's pockets, I put it to this house that it's obscene to throw money into this unwanted project. The latest estimate was £146 billion - that is 10 times more than the original estimate."
He added that "the case for HS2 was ropey to start off with", saying that "if rumours of the Eastern leg being scrapped are true, that must surely make the business case utterly untenable".
He said the level of environmental destruction in the constituency, including Calvert Jubilee, and up and down the country was unacceptable
The aftermath of Covid is that travel patterns won't recover to previous levels, he also explained.
The Westminster Hall debate was held following a petition calling for HS2 legislation to be repealed and was signed by in excess of 155,000 people - nearly 3,000 of whom were from the Buckingham constituency.
Also speaking in the debate, Aylesbury MP Rob Butler said: "It makes no sense economically, with a weak business case and spiralling construction costs. It makes no sense environmentally, with more than a hundred ancient woodlands being destroyed for a line that will never be carbon neutral over the course of its 120-year lifespan.
"I remain absolutely convinced that the scheme will do enormous damage to our area with zero benefit to the people of Aylesbury and the nearby villages.”
Following the debate, Mr Smith told the Advertiser: "Sadly, Westminster Hall debates do not change government policy, but this was a vital opportunity to restate the case as to why the government should scrap HS2.
"My speech focused on four specific areas. Firstly, that HS2 is unaffordable and costs are still going up. Secondly, that the Covid pandemic has fundamentally changed travel and working patterns. Thirdly, the environmental destruction it brings. And finally, the human misery construction of this monster brings.
"There is more to this gravy train than just the train. HS2 should be scrapped."
Mr Butler said: “Parliament needed to be reminded of the absolute opposition of Aylesbury constituents to this ridiculous railway, and I am glad I had the opportunity to hammer home the message of the harm it is causing.
"The sheer number of people signing the petition demonstrates that HS2 is unwanted and unnecessary. I hope the government has heard the powerful arguments made in this debate and will put HS2 out of its misery.”