"I completely share the sentiments expressed by many residents across the Aylesbury constituency calling for HS2 to be scrapped; as I stated in my election campaign, I do not believe we need HS2 and I continue to think that the scheme will do enormous damage to our area with no benefits to the people of Aylesbury.
"I have repeatedly challenged the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, and the HS2 Minister, Andrew Stephenson about the relevance, value for money and environmental impact of HS2. I have lobbied the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the business case and I have even taken my concerns to the Prime Minister.
"However, the Government continues to believe that HS2 will still be relevant in the decades ahead and has committed to the construction of the railway despite the concerns of all the MPs in Buckinghamshire. Indeed, it is worth noting that even now there is considerable cross-party support for the scheme; when the vote was taken before my time as Member of Parliament, the House of Commons voted 11-1 in favour of the project.
"My office continues to work with HS2 Ltd to ensure that proper mitigation is implemented now that construction work is beginning. I have been working with groups across the constituency from Wendover to Fairford Leys and Stoke Mandeville, attending meetings to hear their concerns and taking them up directly with HS2 Ltd and ministers. As always, I am determined to hold HS2 Ltd’s feet to the fire to ensure they live up to their pledge to be good neighbours: like you, I want to see action, not just words."
- Raising individual constituents concerns with HS2 Ltd and the DfT. Some of the enquires relating to delays in receiving compensation, lack of community engagement, and environmental and ecological damage.
- Since Rob’s election, the office has responded to over 600 individual concerns regarding HS2’s behaviour.
- The office has a regular call with HS2 Ltd once a month to discuss outstanding concerns and get information for constituents.
- Rob has raised HS2 11 times in the Chamber and has asked the Prime Minister two question on the floor of the House
Actions taken by Rob and his team:
20th December 2019 – Joined the HS2 Review Group of Conservative MPs and signed an open letter to the Prime Minister calling for HS2 to be scrapped https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/12/21/dozens-mps-including-new-northern-representatives-sign-joint/
4th January 2020 – Attended the Stop HS2 Street stall in Wendover and spoke with residents affected by the construction of the line.
7th January 2020 – Attended a briefing organised by the Taxpayer’s Alliance about alternatives to HS2
8th January 2020 – Spoke to then-Chancellor Sajid Javid about why we need to stop HS2
10th January 2020 – Meeting with Wendover HS2 Group (mined tunnel briefing)
17th January 2020 – Filmed a segment for the TPA on why HS2 should be scrapped and the money diverted to other projects in the North and Midlands.
21st January 2020 – Received answer to written Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the conclusions of the Oakervee review into HS2 were reached following a full debate and voting by all members of the review panel.
23rd January 2020 – Took part in a joint video by conservative colleagues part of the HS2 Review Group calling for HS2’s budget to be diverted to smaller projects including solving traffic congestion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=ek-8wMXPzIc
27th January 2020 – Received answer to written Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether staff employed by the Oakervee Review secretariat were seconded from (a) his Department, (a) other Government Departments and (c) executive agencies.
5th February 2020 – Attended and spoke at a meeting with the Prime Minister calling for HS2 to be scrapped along with other members of the HS2 Review Group.
9th February 2020 – Attended HS2 engagement event in Fairford Leys, following interventions by Rob to ensure it would go ahead following numerous cancellations by HS2.
18th February 2020 – Receives answer to written Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that valid compensation claims by (a) residents and (b) businesses are paid on time and in full by HS2 Ltd.
18th February 2020: Received answer to written Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the hydrological effect of the construction of the green tunnel at Wendover on the potential risk of flooding in Aylesbury.
18th February 2020 – Received answer to written Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of the proposals for a mined tunnel in Wendover; and if he will publish the results of that assessment.
27th February 2020 – Asked a parliamentary question to Paymaster General about HS2 representing good value for money for taxpayers
23rd March 2020 – Sent letter to HS2 CEO, Mark Thurston about contractors failing to comply with social distancing
25th March 2020 – Asked a PMQ about contractors following PHE social distancing advice
15th April 2020 – Bucks MPs issued a joint statement following DFT issuing Notice to Proceed with construction of Phase 1
5th May 2020 – Met Andrew Stephenson to tell him we need a better deal across the constituency
11th May 2020 – Spoke to Andrew Stephenson about individuals constituents’ concerns
27th May 2020 – Virtual meeting with Wendover Cricket Club.
19th May 2020 – Asked Grant Shapps why HS2 is still going ahead when coronavirus is costing the country billions of pounds and the way we work has changed dramatically
3rd June 2020 – Meeting with Wendover HS2 and representatives of Wendover Parish Council
18th July 2020 – ‘frank and constructive’ Zoom meeting with Mark Thurston discussing numerous topics concerning HS2’s behaviour across the constituency.
18th August 2020 –Letter containing all correspondence between Mr Butler and the Department for Transport concerning the mined tunnel. (Published 8th Sept) https://www.robbutler.org.uk/news/letter-wendover-parish-councillors-regarding-mined-tunnel-proposal
11th September 2020 – Issued a press release and letter to HS2 concerning the unacceptable delays on the A418 Oxford Road.
23rd September 2020 – Meeting with Wendover HS2 to discuss noise mitigation.
30th September 2020 – Meeting with Wendover Parish Council working group
30th September 2020 – PMQ asking for the Wendover Mined Tunnel: https://www.robbutler.org.uk/news/rob-questions-prime-minister-impact-hs2-wendover
14th October 2020 – Meeting with Andrew Stephenson (HS2 Minister) and Mark Thurston (HS2 CEO), again called for the project to be reassessed given the cost overruns and completely changed environment. Stressed to Mark Thurston the concerns regarding ecological damage, specifically the removal of species without the correct licence.
17th October 2020 - Attended the Stop HS2 protest on the A418 near Hartwell.
19th November 2020 - Letter to the HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson MP concerning the use of Transport and Works Act Orders on the phase one route, and the possible impact on Wendover: https://www.robbutler.org.uk/news/rob-butler-writes-hs2-minister
8th January 2021 - Meeting with Wendover HS2 to discuss mitigation schemes for Wendover
29th January 2021 - Meeting with Wendover Parish Council to update them on our work on HS2 issues
19th March 2021 - Meeting with Wendover HS2, Wendover Parish Council and Wendover Buckinghamshire Councillors to discuss issues affecting Wendover.