The Independent – the big lies about HS2

Nicholas Faith,  writing in the Independent, says that “Opponents of this visionary high-speed rail project are guilty of a Big Lie”.

His article may not be a “Big Lie” but it shows clear misunderstandings about HS2, and why people are opposed to it.

Nicholas Faith  says “The opposition is the more curious in a country whose people are supposedly concerned by the state of the environment”, and seems to imply that HS2 will be of use in tackling carbon dioxide emissions.

It won’t.  HS2 Ltd themselves say that the best case is a reduction of less then 0.5% per year, and the worst case scenario is that operating HS2 will lead to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions.  So, in reality the opposition to HS2 from people like the Green Party people is not at all curious.

He then moves onto the Big Lie: the idea that High Speed 2 is not about high speed.  He says “speed is merely one of the advantages”.

If High Speed 2 is not about High Speed, then why is the speed the justification for so many of the major decisions in the HS2 design?

The Right Lines Charter group have more to say on the issue of speed.  They are an alliance of environmental organisations who have produced a “Charter for doing High Speed Rail well”.  They say the “detailed High Speed 2 (HS2) proposals are unsound at present and fall well short of these principles.”

On the subject of speed they refer to “inflexible objectives for HS2 to meet technical specifications – such as a theoretical top speed of 400km/h… Specifications and design speed should not be rigidly fixed in advance but be shaped by the opportunities to minimise impact and maximise benefit.”

Nicholas Faith also goes onto the “Small Lie” about HS2.

The proponents of HS2 have a “Smaller but even more Effective Lie” of their own

This is the one which says that HS1 is a good comparision to HS2.  It isn’t.  Nichlas Faith says that in Ashford “the inhabitants’ only complaint is that too few international trains now stop there.”  Ashford has a station, one of several in Kent: but there are no HS2 stations on the line through  Buckinghamshire, or Oxfordshire, or South Northamptonshire…

No related content found.

13 comments to “The Independent – the big lies about HS2”
  1. Has Maria Eagle spotted Mr Hammond’s blatant Nimby (or good local MP!) approach? He is hell bent on getting the 3rd runway in Birmingham, which will protect his constituecy. He must realise HS2 is a white ele (if not, thank goodness he didn’t get his treasury job!). He’s probably on a promise he won’t have to stay as SoS for transport.
    Has she realised the chances are the second Hybrid Bill will never get passed?
    As for the chances of the other three quarters of the UK ever getting a much needed half decent railway network…. Unlikely.
    It really is all London, London, London.

  2. I would hardly call copping what they do in Europe as “visionary”.
    Mr Hammond wants TGV style, but TGV was 40 years ago, so it’s more of a backwards vision of the future.
    I would also say that speed is one of it’s disadvantages, the faster the train goes, the straighter the track has to be, ie the more inflexible, the speed will confine HS2 into running straight through peoples homes, businesses, and many nature habitats as well.
    Carbon neutrality is no excuse, the environment consists of so many different factors that to measure it’s impact by something as loosely based as projected CO2 emissions is ludicrous.

    If only we had politicians with true vision, then perhaps they would look towards futuristic Magnetic Levitation, not look backwards to grinding steel on steel

        • Unable to get a reply in the Coventry Telegraph to ‘Gary’s’comment, but thought you might be interested in it anyway.
          It read as fgollows:-

          Those who follow Gary’s comments on the antihs2 website will know just how disingenuous he can be in trying to persuade us taxpayers how to part with our money, especially as he describes himself as a part time adult student. He is very well aware just how outdated his comment on the costings of HS2 are, indeed it doesn’t even include the Heathrow link, and the idea that £2billion pounds today will buy the same goods and services in ten years time let alone twenty is naive in the extreme.
          I don’t think many would disagree that a new High Speed rail link would be advantageous to our nation’s economy in the future, but at this point in time in our history the great majority would argue that if we are to spend money we haven’t got then it would be better to borrow it to spend on more pressing national needs like Education, the Health Service, the protection of our country and local communities and repair the nation’s transport infrastructure we have at present.
          I can only quote from the Speaker’s letter to me dated 26/09/2011 as my representative in the Parliament that is elected to look after our national interest; He states
          “I am totally opposed to this scheme on both environmental and economic grounds …..Instead of this costly (and ill-costed scheme, improved transport links would be more efficiently and cheaply achieved by upgrading existing infrastructure and rolling stock. An alternative is Rail Package 2 (R2”) which would deliver151 per cent more capacity on DfI’s own numbers, at less than a fifth of the cost of HS2. Furthermore, RP2 does not require a lengthy legislative process; the extra capacity could be delivered almost immediately”.

          It is neither wise nor sensible to advocate such massive expenditure on this project when the needs of the majority far outweigh the greed of the few.

          • John…….the project has been costed at £33 bn for 20 years of work. Its an absolute figure and allowance built in for inflation etc. You keep stating more money should be spent on health, education , military etc……but if HS2 wasnt actually on the drawing board right now, it wouldnt make a scrap of difference because the money is in the DFT budget. And just in case you didnt realise, each government department has its own budget. Now if you wanted to see an increase spend in every department ( and this is not an either or scenario ) how would you fund that?? The easiest answer would be tax increases, but no government would be elected on that mandate. The DFT has a budget of £30 plus billion per year, a good percentage of which goes on capital expenditure……in other words investing in UK plc, and judging by political reaction to Mr Camerons current investing policy, the groundswell of opinion suggests we are not doing enough, a point highlighted in yesterdays Times by the Chairman of the Treasury Select Commitee, Andrew Tyrie. What is MOST important to the electorate right now is the economy, its a worrying time for all. I would also point you in the direction of the ORR/Network Rail report published earlier this week……I m suprised it hasnt flagged up on this site, but it makes for very interesting reading , in particular the level of subsidy supporting the classic network which is expected to fall by 66% in the next 5 years. The report has also been drafted with the assumption that HS2 is going ahead.

            • So according to Gary even though the final route hasn’t been decided yet, and the Heathrow Link was thrown in as an afterthought and not budgeted for in his quoted £33,000,000,000, the money has already allocated! So Gary has at last recognised that it’s not private enterprise but public i.e. Taxpayer’s money that will fund it.
              No wonder it needs to be debated in Parliament.

            • This “its in the budget anyway” assertion is why I see an office of transport “workers” spending their entire day on smartphones.” Who cares they dont do any work, its in the budget, they may even be the ones that set it!! That brilliant logic is not helping “uk plc.” “And just in case you didnt realise”, each government department is funded from one primary source – tax. This spending because its in a budget idea is why public sector budget holders waste thousands every march. Please think your ideas through more. There is always an opportunity cost and the DFT waste MILLIONS (and I see it daily).
              What is MOST important to the electorate right now is the economy, its a worrying time for all. Agreed, now if you really believe that spending 30 billion BORROWED money is a good idea in a debt crisis then you best have a good supporting argument – I’m all ears. Not one expert has agreed with this on economic or environmental grounds so what do you know that they dont?

          • Re “I don’t think many would disagree that a new High Speed rail link would be advantageous to our nation’s economy in the future”
            Frankly people would be quite justified in disagreeing with this idea. The main reason why HS2 can is claiming an overall benefit seems to be that although they expect to raise billions of pounds of hard cash in revenue to pay off part of the cost of building and maintaining the new railway they seem to have overlooked the need to deduct this money from the users – the money that is paid out to become revenue should appear as “User Costs” to the users. No deduction appears to have been made for this so the claimed benefits would be massively increased. Perhaps this is why the tables are labelled as “Cost to the govenment” and not “Cost to the country”.
            This and a few other points would help to keep the project looking positive. A more impartial analysis may well show that the net benefits outweigh the net costs – in other words a net loss to the economy and not to be touched with a barge pole (and less worthwhile than burning ten pound notes).

            • John Williams says:
              October 2, 2011 at 7:28 pm

              So according to Gary even though the final route hasn’t been decided yet, and the Heathrow Link was thrown in as an afterthought and not budgeted for in his quoted £33,000,000,000, the money has already allocated! So Gary has at last recognised that it’s not private enterprise but public i.e. Taxpayer’s money that will fund it.
              No wonder it needs to be debated in Parliament.

              John…….what planet are you on??? Where have I ever stated ( or indeed anyone else ) that this is being funded privately? As for being debated in parliament…….in case you havent noticed , its been the subject of a transport selcet committee enquiry for some time including various ” find the facts ” meeting with the trade last year. It also the subject of a parlimentary debate, which MPs have a right to demand irrespective of what the feelings are outside Westminster. On the subject of funding, if this was being funded by the private sector , would you still object? It seems that the whole thrust of your PERSONAL argument is based on the single point of available finance……

  3. Paul,

    Maybe you should read the previously posted article on this site and you will see that the key element of your argument is incorrect. These cities will be served from Day 1

  4. From reading Nicholas Faith’s column, he rapidly demonstrates his bias: by the second sentence he is claiming that it is “designed to link most of Britain’s major cities”. Of course the first stage only links two cities (Birmingham and London) which are already connected. The second stage which is even further in the future (and not yet designed) only adds five more (Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds, plus an ill-defined location in East Midlands and another ill-defined one in South Yorkshire) which are already connected. Glasgow, and Newcastle appear on the plans but are still reliant on the existing network, whilst Edinburgh appears as a destination but is not served by any of the train routes presented in the documents. So for “most” it should read “a handful”, with the added caveat ” … that are already linked.”

Comments are closed.

2010-2019 © STOP HS2 – The national campaign against High Speed Rail 2