Will’s HS2 report is on the PM’s desk

NEVER mind the MP, Southam teenager William Spencer took the fast track to the top with his report on the environmental consequences of HS2.

The 13-year-old has posted his project HS2 - An Ecological Disaster, about the planned high speed rail line between London and Birmingham, to Prime Minister David Cameron.

Although Number Ten has yet to reply, William, 13, is proud of the report he researched and wrote as an introductory project for his tutor Georgina Chalmers.

He said: “Not many people see the point of HS2. That’s one of the main reasons people don’t agree with it.

“My tutor and I were wondering whether to send it to the local MP or to the Prime Minister and I just wanted it to go straight to the Prime Minister.”

The teenager was initially sceptical of the scheme because the proposed line would pass through Southam but not stop nearby.

As part of his research he interviewed his grandfather Rex Sharples, a retired civil engineer whose house is around 300ft from a planned tunnel near Bascote, about the consequences of building the line.

William took photographs of countryside at Ufton Fields, did research at Southam library and surveyed Southam people - 81 per cent of whom said they opposed the project and only four per cent of whom supported it.

He considered the views of Kenilworth and Southam MP Jeremy Wright, who supports high speed rail but believes it should take another route, and spoke to one supporter of HS2, A-level economics student Callum Chalmers, who said it would benefit the economy, improve labour mobility, reduce unemployment and increase rail capacity.

Finally he wrote and laid out his work using publishing software before posting the finished 26-page document to David Cameron.

Despite hearing many views, William is still opposed to high speed rail because of the effect it will have on the countryside and doubts over whether it will make a profit, based on the performance of the first high speed rail scheme in the South East.

He said: “I was against HS2 but I wanted to get fair opinions. I had loads of resources, including my grandfather, who is quite passionate about it. I enjoyed it - asking loads of people and getting their opinions.”

Mrs Chalmers said: “The whole project was instigated by William and the letter to the Prime Minister.

“Although he had an opinion we wanted to research it in a very balanced way. Through doing that, William started to question ideas.”

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