HS2 Ltd was set up to develop the case for high speed rail in the UK.
Not to look into capacity problems on the railway, not to look into the north-south divide, not to find low carbon transport options. It had one purpose – and after looking into high speed rail, HS2 Ltd came up with a high speed rail answer.
One of the employees at the HS2 consultation roadshow in Euston on Thursday confirmed this to me. But it’s in the documents anyway.
This ties in with Alison Munro’s oral evidence at the Transport Select Committee last year. During a discussion of transport priorities, she refused to compare high speed rail with other forms of transport.
All of this shows that they found the answer, now they are looking for the question.
If we want an answer to questions about rail capacity, we should be asking for the best solutions for rail capacity problems.
If we want an answer to questions about low carbon economies (HS2 Ltd say the proposed railway is carbon neutral), we should be asking for solutions that are based around building a low carbon economy.
If we want an answer about reducing the north south divide, we should be asking for solutions about the north south divide.
Instead the Labour Transport minister, Lord Adonis, asked a question about high speed rail, got an answer about high speed rail.
And now the current government in not looking for answers to real problems, instead they are looking for excuses to build HS2.