Theo Clarke MP for Stafford spoke in the House of Commons debate on HS2. She urged the Government to consult further with the people of Staffordshire regarding the impact of HS2 (amendment 3) and to help protect ancient woodland (amendment 2).
See full text of Theo Clarke MP's speech below:
"I wish to speak to Lords amendment 3, which requires the Secretary of State to consult Staffordshire residents, and Lords amendment 2, regarding the protection of ancient woodlands, in order to represent my constituents who have endured the spectre of HS2 for many years.
From speaking to residents since I have been an MP, I am very aware of the problems that HS2 has caused, and like my predecessor, I have done all I can to assist my constituents in dealing with HS2. I have already visited numerous local groups and business who are being affected, and I have worked with Staffordshire County Council to try to come up with solutions to the disruption that HS2 has caused, and continues to cause. I have also met multiple constituents whose lives have been blighted by dealings with HS2, and have tried my best to improve the situation for them. In September, I presented a petition and stood up for local residents and businesses at the House of Lords Select Committee on the High Speed Rail (West Midlands–Crewe) Bill.
The fact remains, however, that despite the best efforts of local residents and everyone I have mentioned, HS2 will be extremely disruptive for the people of Staffordshire. Lords amendments 2 and 3 go some way to addressing many of my Stafford constituents’ concerns, so I am very pleased to hear the Minister’s remarks this evening. HS2 construction will also disrupt the A34, the A518, the A51 and the M6 motorway, all of which will potentially cause more traffic for my constituents, which is why
amendment 3, requiring consultation with my local residents, is so important. I am also very concerned about the feasibility of construction of the Stone railhead and maintenance base, the increase in heavy goods vehicles and the disruption, which will certainly exacerbate the situation on Staffordshire’s roads. This is another reason why Lords amendment 3 is so vital—it will ensure that local residents are adequately consulted on scheduled works.
Lords amendment 2 reflects the importance of our ancient woodlands. At a time when Britain is leading the way on climate change and hosting COP26, we should not be seen to be cutting down trees, which is counterproductive.
Since my election, I have consistently represented my constituents with regard to HS2, and I remain extremely disappointed by the way they have been treated by HS2 itself but I am grateful to the Minister who has met with me on numerous occasions, and responding on specific constituency cases. But can I say Madam Deputy Speaker the way that HS2 has behaved is simply unacceptable, and I am pleased that the Government are supporting the amendments and will consult with my residents. It is right that my constituents are listened to."
See the full text from Andrew Stephenson MP, HS2 Minister, responding to Theo Clarke MP:
"My hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Theo Clarke) talked with passion about her constituency and the need for the consultation provided for under amendment 3. She lobbied me very hard about amendment 3, as she has about a number of land and property cases since being elected to this House. I pay tribute to her as a doughty champion for her constituents."