Alec recognises the benefits in jobs and growth that HS2 will bring to Leeds, Yorkshire and the North of England but has been clear that he will not support the project unless he can secure the best possible outcome for constituents in Elmet & Rothwell.
Debating the High Speed Rail (Preparation Bill) in the House of Commons, Alec laid down the markers of what needs to be done to protect the interests of residents in Woodlesford and Garforth.
Alec said: “HS2 is a very important project for the city of Leeds but [it] cannot be built on the back of hard-working people who have invested their livelihoods in their houses. It is therefore vital that, before we sign the Bill off next spring, proper compensation is in place in the form of property bonds, and that the suggestions on rerouting, which are not about “not in my back yard” but propose sensible alternatives to ensure that the route follows existing transport corridors or goes through industrial areas, are dealt with. With the best will in the world, we cannot mitigate the effects of such a development just 30 metres from the back of someone’s house.
I was a supporter of this project before I came to this House, but I cannot support it if the compensation package is not right. I urge the Secretary of State to ensure that it is right before the subject returns to the House in the spring”.
In a further intervention Alec commented “it is important that the Bill be given a Third Reading tonight, because many of my constituents would otherwise be left in limbo, it must be placed on the record that the project cannot go ahead if a property bond is not put in place to defend people not just now, but in future. Even if the project is dropped, they still need that property bond.”
Alec declared the draft HS2 route as “totally inappropriate” when a HS2 Director visited the area. Alec organised a tour of the route with officials and residents so he could highlight why he doesn’t support a HS2 line through Woodlesford, Swillington and Garforth. Alec is leading the campaign to re-route the line along the existing transport corridor into Leeds.