“Forget HS2, West Wants GW2”

Protester in Dawlish greets David Cameron

Protester in Dawlish greets David Cameron

Everyone watching the news over the last few days has seen the devastation wrought by the recent severe weather and flooding.  Vast inland lakes where there are normally fields and trains halted on the tracks are just some of the images.

There has been discussion of what flood defences should be built and where, and what they will costs.  What has surprised many people is that although the official benefit-cost-ratio (BCR) for HS2 is between 1.4 and 2.3 (depending on whether Phase 2 or wider economic benefits are included), the Environment Agency will not build flood defences with a BCR of less than 8.

In addition, Stop HS2 has raised concerns about flood risks from HS2 on a number of occasions (for example see Prepare Your Ark and here).

There are also increasing calls from people in the South West to “forget HS2, West wants GW2”. These include from MPs such as Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw, the local papers, and individuals. A new ‘GW2’ line would cost considerably less than HS2, allowing increased spending for flood defences across the country.

There are clearly a number of issues that would have to be resolved before any new railway should go ahead, and this includes for the South West. These include decisions about which route and what stations, the details of the route and what will happen to the Dawlish line, and the properties which rely on the sea defences that currently protect both the line and the houses next to it.

In particular we do not want people and communities in the South West to be treated with the disdain that HS2 Ltd shows towards people affected by the HS2 proposal.

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7 comments on ““Forget HS2, West Wants GW2”
  1. Went to meeting this evening and our M.P. was there .He is in favour of high speed trains but not the route.He said he had only had 600+ letters against (several have been from me ).He has 64,000 constituents so doesnt feel that there are many against HS2.I feel we need to push people into writing or emailing as it really counts.

  2. Pingback: STOP HS2 | HS2 – Like putting a brick in your water tank.

  3. Dawlish has been suffering for years and sadly we have to let sentimentality go and push ahead for an alternative route. Dawlish can still be served by the railways but as more of a branch line. I agree strongly that HS2 should stop and that the money should be used more wisely elsewhere in the country, particularly here in the south west where we are often forgotten yet have much to offer.

  4. Leaving the HS2 argument aside for a moment , the South West gets a really bad deal in a whole variety of ways. It isn’t a very well known fact but Cornwall is one of the most deprived counties in the country. Large parts of Devon aren’t much better. The South West’s problems aren’t just flood defences and transport but they have featured prominently recently.

    Even before the recent Dawlish incident there was a drastic need to invest in SW infrastructure. No airport now in Plymouth and a slow diesel service that generally takes more than 3.5 hours to London. It certainly is poor compared with the perfectly decent service from Birmingham or Manchester to London.

    Unfortunately though the greedy vested interests in Birmingham including Bore and Blackett and in Manchester shout the loudest. If they think HS2 is so good for them let them pay for it. Interested in that Bore and Blackett ? No didn’t think so !

    • ‘KNC’ Are you proposing that sections,at least, of high speed track should be built to connect with, or bypass , vulnerable parts of the Great Western main lines-via Bristol and via Newbury and Castle Carey- to Taunton and beyond?
      (Presumably, such a line could be raised above the flood plain, supported on deep piling into the bedrock beneath the silt- but it would mean raised viaducts similar to those planned for HS2 and to which so many have objected.)

      If so, then I should guess that the cost would at least match that projected for HS2- especially if you propose rebuilding or duplicating the line on to Exeter -and then, by whatever route, round (or under) Dartmoor.

      Having reached Plymouth, you need to contend with the hills and rivers of Cornwall.

      The journey time between London and Birmingham or Manchester cannot really be compared with the journey to Plymouth, due to the different geography; that is unless you are going to invest in a new line and/or a motorway (three times the width) from Exeter, built in such a way as to flatten out the hills.

  5. Time for everyone to contact their MP as I have done, and suggest that the money saved by cancelling HS2 should be diverted into flood defences and rail infrastructure improvements.
    Protection of the lives and property of many should come before faster travel for a few.

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