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Proposed rail foe: 'No local benefits'

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

There are strong reasons for and against a proposed high-speed rail project between London and Birmingham.
There are strong reasons for and against a proposed high-speed rail project between London and Birmingham.

A planned high-speed rail link that runs through the English countryside will disrupt the scenery, will not benefit local communities, and the government has not exerted any effort to assuage these concerns, according to published reports citing the organized effort opposed to it.

Alice Barnard, chief executive of Countryside Alliance, advocates on the behalf of the land and the communities through which the proposed HS2 will pass. The London-to-Birmingham line also is slated to run through the National Agricultural Center in Stoneleigh.

"Despite rural people being most affected by the proposed HS2 route, communities living in the countryside will see no local benefits," Barnard told Farmers Weekly Interactive. "There are no proposed stations outside London and Birmingham. This confirms that high speed rail travel will be accessible for people living in urban areas but the impact felt by those living in the countryside."

But Philip Hammond, the country's transport secretary, stands by the enormous benefits the country stands to reap from the project. He also said the plan is a work in progress and planners are keeping in mind options and alternatives.

"We are continuing to look at additional mitigation measures to lessen the impact of the line on those communities which it passes nearest," Hammond said. "High speed rail is so important because it has the potential to transform the way Britain works and competes in the 21st century."

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