Following on from the Sunday Telegraph report yesterday, about the Heathrow Hub alternative to HS2, here’s what we think.
The Stop HS2 view is very clear: the flaws in the HS2 proposal are so great that it should be cancelled in its entirity.
Any proposal for a high speed railway similar to the current HS2 proposal is almost certain to have the same fatal flaws.
The over-emphasis from the Department for Tranpsort and HS2 Ltd on a benefit cost ratio based on shaving every single possible minute off the railway journey time is now being criticised even by the CEO of HS2 Ltd herself, Alison Munro, who told the Financial Times ““If you’re talking about a little roundabout scheme you can get very high benefit/cost ratio … The methodology isn’t really designed for the big, transformative projects.”
This original assumption from HS2 Ltd that every minute on a train is wasted, leading to the requirement for highest possible speed, has led to a railway which has to be so straight it blasts through environmentally sensitive sites like ancient woodland and SSSIs, while being carbon neutral because of the energy requirements of such a high speed. It is also led to HS2 Ltd’s decision not to have any stations between London and Birmingham.
Stop HS2’s view is that simply changing the route will not make those flaws in HS2 go away: the campaign against HS2 would continue.
However it is not simply the railway itself that is flawed.
The attitude of HS2 Ltd, and the Department for Transport towards the individuals who are afflicted by HS2 is also flawed.
Take the community forums. Local Action Groups, and others, have gone to these forums with the expectation that their concerns will be taken seriously. But from the attitude of HS2 Ltd it is clear that these forums are simply box-ticking exercises, leading for example for campaigners and councillors in Camden deciding to reject the HS2 Ltd forum process.
This disregard for communities is echoed by the attitude from Department for Transport to missing out over 400 consultation responses, including the ones from Stop HS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin and from HS2 Action Alliance.
It showed itself again this weekend, when some of the rights of way which will be cut by HS2 were surveyed to find the usage, disregarding the impact that the last day of the Olympics would be likely to have on usage.
These are just some of the reasons why Stop HS2 is opposed to the HS2 proposal. And just some of the reasons why simply changing the HS2 route won’t change our opposition to the railway