February 10, 2014.




Prime Minister David Cameron has been accused of “talking nonsense” on West Country rail schemes during a visit to Plymouth yesterday.


Mr Cameron defended the Government’s £50billion HS2 high speed rail scheme – but pledged that it would not swallow up transport spending.


Asked to support The Herald’s/Western Morning News’s “Forget HS2 West Wants GW2” campaign, he said: “I want to reassure people who say that all the money will go on HS2.


“The South West won’t suffer at all from the building of HS2. Indeed, HS2 will benefit every part of the country.”
Now the HS2 Action Alliance, the national campaign group opposing the Government’s HS2 plans, has accused Mr Cameron of “talking nonsense” and not knowing what his own Government is saying about HS2.

Campaign spokesman Peter Chegwyn said today that the Government’s own official business case for HS2 published last October contains over £8.3 billion worth of cuts to existing rail services across the UK to help pay for HS2.

A further 92-page report by KPMG accountants issued last September forecasts that 50 areas of the UK including Bristol and the West Country will be worse off if the HS2 scheme goes ahead.

“Far from HS2 benefitting every part of the country as Mr Cameron claims, HS2 will actually result in many existing rail services being cut in order to pay for HS2”, said Mr. Chegwyn.

“Mr Cameron says the South West won’t suffer from HS2.  The truth is that the South West won’t gain anything from HS2.

“There is nothing in the Government’s £50 billion HS2 plans that will benefit the West Country in any way at all.”

The HS2 Action Alliance is urging West Country MPs to vote against the Governments HS2 plans when they are debated in Parliament later this Spring.

Representatives of the Campaign Group met North Devon MP Sir Nick Harvey in Parliament last week and have further meetings planned with Torbay MP Adrian Sanders and others.

The MPs are also being asked to support The Herald & Western Morning News’s “Forget HS2 West Wants GW2” campaign.

“Our thousands of members across the country believe that the £50 billion earmarked for the HS2 high speed rail plan would be better spent on improving existing rail lines including those serving Devon & Cornwall”, said Mr. Chegwyn.

“Just a fraction of that sum could not only rebuild and protect the current Cornish main line from the effects of climate change and extreme weather but also provide an alternative inland route from Exeter to Plymouth.

“HS2 is forecast to cost a staggering £121 million per mile.  That is much more than it will cost to repair the Cornish main line at Dawlish and provide an alternative route as well.

“Mr Cameron should read his Government’s own reports before making sweeping statements about wanting the South West to have the best rail links for the future.

“He should put his money where his mouth is and divert some of the £50 billion earmarked for HS2 into providing the West Country with rail links that can withstand the worst of the English weather.”


Note to Editors:

In the most recent national YouGov Poll, well over 50 per cent of the UK public were opposed to HS2.


For further information please contact:


Peter Chegwyn


07931 177940


Iain Macauley


07788 978800


John Read


07774 476391