A THIRTY billion pound high speed rail service which would link Britain to mainland Europe has been given the backing of Hillingdon's council leader.
Councillor Ray Puddifoot (Con) supports the plan - due to be unveiled by the 2M Group on Monday - as a counter to the Government's wish to expand Heathrow Airport.
He has also reacted with dismay to reported comments from the Department for Transport (DfT) suggesting it is unwilling to even discuss such a facility.
Mr Puddifoot, who recently travelled to Strasbourg to meet the European Union's Environment Commissioner in the company of other 2M colleagues, said: "We are proposing an alternative to air travel which is well worth the investment.
"The Government is spending so much time and effort working out to increase airport capacity why does it not look at other means of transport while it is at it?
"The point is to get people from A to B. If there is no need to fly then our solution will be just the thing."
The 2M Group's plan would see a line running from Scotland through cities in the north of England and the midlands then on into Heathrow Airport and finally via the Channel Tunnel to Europe.
They believe it could be completed by 2030 and provide fast connections from various cities to Europe.
However, the DfT is reported to have said it would be wrong to suggest the need for expansion at Heathrow could be removed by investing in high speed rail and added it was already investing £10bn in five years on the rail network.
Mr Puddifoot responded: "If they (the DfT) can just dismiss an idea in such an off-handed way then why can't they do the same for their plan to expand Heathrow?
"What makes one mode more special than another? All they are doing is showing they have already made their mind up and that any alternative anyone suggests is given very short shrift.
"They are charging headlong into something and seem determined to remain heedless of anything else."