Coventry & Warwickshire

BBC Coventry & Warwickshire's HS2 debate in Kenilworth

BBC Coventry & Warwickshire HS2 debate
Image caption All 40 free tickets for the debate were snapped up by interested Kenilworth residents

BBC Coventry & Warwickshire held a public debate over HS2 high-speed rail plans, chaired by presenter Shane O'Connor.

The panel at the Kenilworth Youth and Community Centre represented views for and against the London to Birmingham route and were brought together on Sunday, 12 June to discuss and hear public opinions on the plans.

The experts were Alan Marshall from Rail News, Jerry Marshall from Agahst, John Morris from Birmingham Airport, Chris White MP and Jeremy Wright MP.

HS2 Limited was asked to take part but declined.

Summarising their positions, the panel outlined the following:

Jerry Marshall, from Agahst

Image caption The panel comprised experts and MPs with conflicting views on the value of the HS2 plans

"The problem is the economic case doesn't stack up. The costs are more than the benefits."

Alan Marshall, from Rail News

"Last November Network Rail published its route utilisation strategy for the West Coast Mainline and another contemporaneous one with it for the Chiltern line in the Midlands.

"These strategies said that the West Coast Mainline is nearly full to capacity. That's not me saying that, that's Network Rail saying that."

Chris White MP

Image caption The debate was broadcast live on BBC Coventry & Warwickshire and Tweets were updated throughout

"I think it is excessive in cost, incredibly damaging to our environment and I think it will be damaging to our region."

Jeremy Wright MP

"The first problem with HS2 is the business case, there are serious flaws with the business case for HS2. The other problem with HS2 is that it simply follows the wrong route.

"If you're going to do high speed rail you should follow an existing transport corridor. That way you do less environmental damage. If you're going to do this, you should do it properly."

John Morris, from Birmingham Airport

Image caption BBC Midlands Today filmed the debate in their continuing coverage of HS2 plans in the region

"At the end of the day this is all about people, whether or not you're directly affected by the line or whether or not you're one of the people for example in the Black Country in Birmingham that's been out of work for a long time and for whom this railway might bring some hope."

Your views

You can still add to the debate via Twitter at: @bbccov_newsroom #BBCCWHS2.

The HS2 consultation road show is in Abbey Fields on 13 and 14 June before moving to Hampton in Arden on 15 June.

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