Friends of the Earth have published a review of the Government’s policies, to see how green “the greenest government ever” actually is. One of the policies they look at is the Coalition’s plans for High Speed Rail, and HS2 in particular – the Coalition wanted to pursue this as part of their plans to cut carbon emissions.
They aren’t impressed with the proposals carbon cutting credentials, and think other schemes might be better when it comes to reducing carbon.
“The Coalition Agreement pledged to continue with Labour’s plans for High Speed 2. The Coalition has recently published its consultation on proposed routes. HS2 will cost £17bn, and current plans do not see construction start until 2019. It will be completed by 2030s, and it is claimed that there will be no added overall transport emissions as a result of HS2.”
“It is premature to make a judgement about High Speed Rail. There‟s a huge amount of research still to be done. But more and more people are starting to ask if this is really the priority that the Government makes it out to be.”
“A group of NGOs has formed an alliance calling for a more detailed consultation on HS2 – along with accurate measurements of C0₂ impacts. The Right Lines Charter is backed by CPRE, RSPB, Greenpeace, Campaign for Better Transport, Chiltern Society, Civic Voice, Environmental Law Foundation, Friends of the Earth, The Wildlife Trusts and The Woodland Trust. They have set out four principles for doing HS2 well: a national transport strategy; better future-proofing of big transport proposals; effective public participation; and a more strategic approach to minimising adverse impacts.”
“Carbon emissions from UK transport must be urgently cut – but the current High Speed Rail proposals will do little, if anything, to help. The majority of journeys are relatively short, so the Government‟s top priority should be to cut emissions from these trips. This means action to encourage greener travel and measures to reduce the need to travel for work or essential services.”