Hopefully you saw Countryfile on Sunday when our Chairman Lizzy Williams spoke with John Craven about High Speed 2. We have looked at some of the comments made in support of HS2, in particular by the independent transport consultant Julie Mills of Greenguage21.
Julie was very careful with her words and referred mainly to High Speed Rail rather than High Speed 2. STOP HS2 is not anti high speed rail (HSR) or anti train. We believe this particular proposal has been poorly thought out and is inappropriate for this country on economic, environmental and investment priority grounds. There is simply too much at stake for a mistake of this scale to be allowed to continue to fruition.
Will Journey times be cut?
From station to station the trip should be faster than on existing lines due to the increased high speed (up to 250mph/402kph) and the more direct route. However, 396,000 people a day are expected to want to use the line. How that will be dealt with logistically at either end is not clear and concerns many professionals in this area (this number of people is nearly double the number Heathrow deals with a day).
The terminal in Birmingham is several miles out of the centre which perplexes Rail groups.
STOP HS2 is concerned about transfer times and the sensitivity to disruption the line will have.
Does time really matter so much we are willing to spend £35 billion and destroy our greatest asset – our countryside – to save a few minutes? The M6 Toll was built to decrease journey times and is hardly used as people would rather take longer than pay more for speed. We also do not consider time on a train is dead time as most people can work while they travel via their phones and or laptops.
The cuts in local transport investment and lack of stations on the line will mean additional travel is most likely to be made by car to get to them and could actually increase congestion.
Will HS2 bridge the North South Divide?
Classing everyone who opposes HS2 as “NIMBYS” does nothing to breach the North South Divide it exacerbates it!
There is a lack of evidence to support this claim but there is plenty of evidence to suggest London will be the main benefactor drawing away investment and skilled workers from the regions. It will also suck away vital local transport infrastructure investment from the regions monopolising budgets.
Is HS2 an effective way to release capacity on other lines?
Yes it is but is HS2 the best way? It is certainly not the most sustainable, economic and least environmentally damaging option. It is not sustainable growth.
Is HSR sustainable?
High Speed Rail can be very sustainable but High Speed 2 is not. There are two key factors here 1) The speed intended is not carbon efficient 2) The speed dictates a route which does not follow an existing transport corridor which would be less environmentally damaging.
High Speed Rail is defined as anything over 155mph/250kmph.
Will HS2 bring economic benefits worth twice the cost?
The costs quoted of £34 billion are capital costs only. There has been no assessment of how the line will damage the economies along the line and beyond its reach i.e.; where it is not accessible. Mr Hammond has made it very clear there will be no economic benefits along the line.
Until we know the real details…..
We do know the real details. The plan on the table is the one the Government is pushing forward to consultation. There are no alternatives being made available. We need to demand other options to choose between and proof of demand.
Is the Government listening to local concerns?
Those who have spoken out have been directly accused of being NIMBYs by Mr Hammond. They are not listening.
Does it have to go through sensitive areas?
If the speed was reduced it would be possible to mitigate more effectively, include more stations which will benefit more people and avoid sensitive areas.
Does it have to be straight?
High Speed Rail does not need to be as straight as this route is to be High Speed. The carbon inefficient speed of HS2 is dictating the route.
Look in detail and have your say
Please all of us need to do this but make sure you Listen to the arguments, Look at the facts and then make your decision an informed one.