17:28 Tuesday 22 January 2013

MP opposes high-speed rail extension


AN MP has declared his opposition to HS2 – the planned high-speed rail extension to Manchester and Leeds.

Andrew Bridgen, who represents North West Leicestershire for the Tories, spoke as the Government prepared to announce the route of the scheme.

He said in reaching his judgement he had considered its cost, business case and potential impact on communities it passed through.

Mr Bridgen said the estimated £41 billion cost would force everyconstituency, including his own, to contribute more than £51 million to a scheme ‘from which I believe it will receive little benefit’.

Leicestershire as a whole would have to provide more than £400 million, he said.

“I would much prefer that money to be spent on local infrastructure,” Mr Bridgen said.

He said he was also concerned that ‘rather than rebalance the economy away from London and the South East, the scheme will simply draw more investment and money into the South East and away from the regions’.

The MP said the experience of Thanet, in Kent, was an example.

Nick Rushton, Conservative leader of Leicestershire County Council, has also voiced his opposition to the HS2 project.

“I cannot and will not support any scheme that could decimate and blight large tracts of our beautiful countryside,” he said.

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