LibDems miss the point with HS2

No votes for youThe LibDem manifesto was published last week, with an invitation to “Read and share our bold new manifesto for the future!”

So we skipped over a load of policies around Brexit, and went straight to what they had to say about HS2. It’s mentioned twice in the document, and its clear that they don’t understand the problems around HS2 and climate change.

It says on p 17

  • Significant investment in public transport, including converting the rail network to ultra-low-emission technology (electric or hydrogen) by 2035, and a continued commitment to HS2, Crossrail 2 and other major new strategic rail routes.

and on p 48, in their section on the green economy

  • Support High Speed 2, Northern Powerhouse Rail, East-West Rail and Crossrail 2, but ensure far tighter financial controls and increased accountability to ensure that these projects are value for money, and address problems with implementation to ensure that HS2 opens as early as possible to meet our decarbonisation goals while minimising the destruction of precious UK habitats and woodland.

The problem is that HS2 will not help with decarbonisation, a few years after opening, or even by 2050. HS2 Ltd’s own documents show that, in part due to the enormous carbon emissions from building it, HS2 will still be causing increased carbon after 120 years of operation. So regardless of how quickly HS2 opens, it won’t be until at least the 2140s before we see any net reduction in emissions.

Meanwhile the building of HS2 will cause massive environmental damage to hundreds of wildlife sites.

Whatever you think of the rest of their manifesto, their HS2 policy gets a big thumbs down from us.

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