STOP HS2 is aware of both UK practice and EU requirements that EIAs should refer to the differing impacts across alternative schemes.
Others have submitted comments on this relating to the necessity to compare the environmental impact for the proposed HS2 route to other routes and other ways of responding to perceived rail capacity needs. It is vital that the alternatives considered include improvements to the existing rail system and alternative ways of managing (eg by smart ticketing) or reducing demand for travel such as technological improvements in for example videoconferencing.
Stop HS2 and others have argued that the growth in digital technologies will reduce the overall demand for travel, but the Department for Transport have consistently ignored this in their development of the case for HS2, (although they are beginning to realise their assumptions that travel time is unproductive are outdated). Meanwhile other parts of the Department for Transport, along with businesses, are promoting videoconferencing etc as an environmentally sustainable alternative to travel. (One of the reasons passenger numbers on HS1 is so much lower than forecast was the unexpected rival of low cost airlines, but changes due to digital technologies are no longer unexpected.)
Therefore we think the assumptions in 14.7.1 – especially “labour productivity underpinning the labour demand curve remains constant over the life of the project” – are wrong and unjustifiable.