This is a guest post by Finmere, who often comments on the Stop HS2 website.
This country has signed up to very ambitious carbon reduction targets. Whether because of climate change or energy conservation, this issue should be paramount in all government departments when planning policy – especially transport.
Currently, the main argument put forward in favour of a new line is to increase passenger capacity, but over 40% of the claimed £44bn of benefits is dependent on journey time savings.
Higher speed means greater energy consumption which increases approximately with the square of the speed. The HS2 traction energy modelling carried out at Imperial College shows that operating at 360 km/h consumes 23% more energy than at 300 km/h. The journey time saving, between London and Birmingham, travelling at 360 km/h compared with 300 km/h, is just over 3½ minutes.
In other words, saving just over 3½ minutes consumes 23% more energy.
While energy and climate change ministers are signing international agreements on CO2 emissions and energy conservation measures, the department for transport is just ignoring it and happy to burn 23% more fuel to save 3½ minutes.
Is this another example of the need for ‘joined up government’, or could it be that without the 3½ minutes the whole business case would collapse?