Sherlock Holmes and Miss Marple search for secret HS2 documents at Hastings rail summit

March 31, 2014 by combehavendefenders

Sherlock Holmes, Insp Poirot, Kojak and Miss Marple search for secret HS2 documents at rail summit in Hastings, 31 Mar 2014 (credit: Combe Haven Defenders)

Sherlock Holmes, Insp Poirot, Kojak and Miss Marple search for secret HS2 documents at rail summit in Hastings, 31 Mar 2014 (credit: Combe Haven Defenders)

Press release
Combe Haven Defenders [1]
Monday 31 March

Contact 07565 967 250
Pictures available: http://tinyurl.com/lnjt2ak, http://tinyurl.com/kgo39vl

SHERLOCK HOLMES AND MISS MARPLE SEARCH FOR SECRET HS2 DOCUMENTS AT HASTINGS RAIL SUMMIT
Famous detectives called in after Secretary of State blocks release of documents

31 March, Sussex Coast College, Hastings: Famous detectives including Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, Inspector Poirot and Kojak arrived in Hastings today to search for secret documents about the HS2 rail project [2]. Release of the suppressed Cabinet Office report has been blocked by Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, who was in town to attend a ‘rail summit’ organised by Amber Rudd MP.

The Information Commissioner has ordered the release of the 2011 Major Projects Authority report, which is believed to show that HS2 has been assessed as ‘amber-red’, meaning that its successful completion is in doubt [3]. However, McLoughlin blocked the release of the report, using rarely exercised veto powers [4], and citing the need for officials to be able to make their decisions in a ‘safe space’ (the same argument that was used to justify the redaction of the Department for Transport assessment of the case for the Bexhill Hastings Link Road [5]).

Sherlock Holmes searches for secret HS2 documents at rail summit in Hastings, watched by Miss Marple, Inspector Poirot and Kojak. 31 Mar 2014 (credit: Combe Haven Defenders)

Sherlock Holmes searches for secret HS2 documents at rail summit in Hastings, watched by Miss Marple, Inspector Poirot and Kojak. 31 Mar 2014 (credit: Combe Haven Defenders)

HS2 will cost around £50bn at 2011 prices [6]. It will destroy or put at risk over 80 ancient woodlands [7], as well as huge areas of open countryside along its 140 mile length. It will cause an overall increase in carbon emissions for at least the first sixty years of operation [8].

Emily Johns, spokesperson for Combe Haven Defenders, who co-ordinated the detectives’ search, said, “HS2 will increase carbon emissions, cause massive damage to the countryside, and cost the public £50bn. If Patrick McLoughlin truly believes that this white elephant project will be beneficial, he should put his money where his mouth is and release the report. Our crack detectives will continue to search for these vital documents which the Information Commissioner has ruled we have a right to see.”

Contact 07565 967 250

Miss Marple and Inspector Poirot (and a policeman) search for secret HS2 documents at rail summit in Hastings, 31 Mar 2014 (credit: Combe Haven Defenders)

Miss Marple and Inspector Poirot (and a policeman) search for secret HS2 documents at rail summit in Hastings, 31 Mar 2014 (credit: Combe Haven Defenders)

NOTES
[1] http://www.combehavendefenders.org.uk
[2] See photos at http://tinyurl.com/lnjt2ak, http://tinyurl.com/kgo39vl
[3] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/10518484/The-scathing-HS2-report-ministers-want-to-hide.html
[4] Patrick McLoughlin used a very rarely used ‘war veto’ to prevent release of the HS2 document. This veto has only been used a handful of times, including to block the publication of cabinet discussions on the Iraq War. The campaign group Stop HS2 says, ‘Using the veto means that MPs, who will be asked to commit to the £50bn expenditure when the HS2 Hybrid Bill comes to second reading, will not know the details of this report’.
[5] https://combehavendefenders.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/operation-disclosure-4-march-5-april/
[6] http://hs2.org.uk/about-hs2/facts-figures/route-trains-cost
[7] http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/campaigning/campaigns/hs2-rail-link/
[8] According to HS2 Ltd “Over the construction and the first 60 years of operation of HS2, it is likely that carbon savings – that come about as people switch from other transport modes with higher carbon emissions, and as released capacity on existing railways is taken up by new passenger and freight services at the expense of road vehicles – will be less than the carbon emissions.” (http://tinyurl.com/mva2yo2)

 

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