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Tory objections seek to derail HS2

Words: Huw Morris
HS2 Old Oak Common

Two senior Conservative MPs have launched objections against plans for HS2, which could hold up parliamentary approval for the scheme.

Conservative Party vice-chairman Michael Fabricant and former Welsh secretary Cheryl Gillan have tabled amendments to the scheme's bill  claiming it will not deliver economic benefits and will damage the environment.

Fabricant said the hybrid bill should be denied a second reading in the Common because it offers no direct connection to HS1 or any major London stations or airports other than its terminus at Euston.

His amendment says the route will cause unnecessary damage to wildlife and ancient woodland, and calls for a cheaper and more environmentally sympathetic route. It also brands compensation for people who homes are blighted by the scheme as "inadequate".

Gillan, whose Chesham and Amersham constituency lies on the proposed route, described the economic case as "repeatedly unconvincing" and predicted the scheme will cause "widespread environmental disruption".

HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins has warned that any parliamentary delay for the project could cause the £50 billion cost to rise even higher.