Yesterday, Chris Huhme, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, announced ambitious plans to massively reduce Britain’s carbon emissions by the mid 2020s.
He wants the UK to halve carbon emissions, compared to 1990 levels, by the period 2023-2027. The intention is to reduce them by 80% by 2050.
David Cameron backed him up, saying “The transition to a low-carbon economy is necessary, real, and global. By stepping up, showing leadership and competing with the world, the UK can prove that there need not be a tension between green and growth.”
Meanwhile Philip Hammond, Transport Secretary is continuing to push a scheme that will cost £17 billion by 2027, and will be, in his words, “broadly carbon neutral”.
HS2 clearly does not help with the country’s targets for climate change.
It will involve spending huge sums of money that could have otherwise been used for developing genuinely low-carbon forms of transport. It will cause carbon emissions during it’s construction.
And if it really is part of a longer term plan to create a countrywide network of ultra high speed railways, it will commit the governments of the future to a costly set of transport plans which hinder not help in their efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
Shouldn’t the Government rethink HS2?