Will Wales lose out with HS2?

Today, the Welsh Select Committee published their report into road and rail links between Wales and England. This included consideration of the effects of HS2 on Wales.

As the committee say on their website:

The Committee welcomes the new investment in cross-border rail links into Wales but says current plans for the HS2 high speed rail link could cause damage to the Welsh economy. The exclusion of South Wales from the HS2 proposals means businesses and people may relocate eastwards across the border.

The report itself is more stark, saying

“The vast majority of witnesses told us that failure to include a high speed rail line between England and Wales as part of the HS2 scheme would put South Wales at a disadvantage compared to other areas of the UK.”

It also refers to the views of the Welsh Government, and to their discussions with the Department for Transport:

35. The Welsh Government has concluded that the exclusion of Wales from HS2 will put Wales at an economic disadvantage. It produced two reports which stated that areas not served by HS2 would be at danger of losing jobs and people, as businesses relocated along the HS2 line. The Welsh Government Minister told us that Wales’s exclusion from HS2 would mean more would have to be made of the existing rail network in Wales: for example, the new Wales and Borders franchise would need to be connected to areas served by HS2. When questioned on the impact of HS2 on Wales, DfT Minister, Simon Burns, said that the DfT had not conducted any assessment of the impact of HS2 on Wales

37. The overwhelming view of the evidence we took is that South Wales will lose out from its exclusion from the High Speed Two (HS2) proposals. Indeed, there is a risk that HS2 could have a serious negative impact on the South Wales economy due to its relative proximity and the potential for businesses and people to relocate eastwards across the border. We are therefore concerned that the DfT has not attempted to assess the economic impact of HS2 on Wales.

38. We recommend that the UK and Welsh Governments work together to assess the economic impact of HS2 on Wales as a matter of urgency. Should any adverse impacts be identified we expect the UK Government to consider possible mitigation measures.

How can the Department for Transport – and the rest of the Coalition Government – say that HS2 is good for Britain, if they haven’t even assessed the impact on one of the nations that make up the United Kingdom?

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7 comments to “Will Wales lose out with HS2?”
  1. so at last the pm says money is not on trees he should look at hs2 750m spent already on what?now they want more when will they learn that this project no one wants will just turn into a vast money trap and we will paying for it for the next 100yrs they must stop it now

  2. The question of Wales and the other nations of the Union lies at the heart of the moral and ethical considerations of HS2 which have not occurred.
    HS2 is both unethical and immoral. It is purely political and manipulative. and based on money (major development contracts).
    There is an agenda underlying HSW that has not been revealed likely because it is unfair, relies on covert theft of assets and far from transparent financing. Those that gain and those that lose are ruthlessly enforced “for the national good” whatever that illusory concept is.
    Pro patria that precludes morality and choice is linked with dictatorship (ancient and fascist)

    The first question raised should be ‘what is this good?” how is it shared and is it fair, sustainable and will the changes it will bring be agreeable to the Nation now and in 30 years time. Has there been informed consent?

    It is clearly evident from Parliamentary debate that none of these issues is known to many of the MPs debating the issue. The moral and ethical issues are barely raised. They simply do not have the information, so they have accepted on the basis of faith ‘a promise’ with no real factual basis. Can a promise on this basis be ethical? Morality and ethics are in part genetic, mainly acquired from parents and moderated by societal learning. It is the originator of HS2 in Parliament was the self laudatory,media seeking Lord Adonis “one of the ten most interesting members of parliament” . As he has sought the spotlight to further his political creation perhaps it should be turned back on on him. His early life is certainly interesting. He is very into authoritarian state interventions; previously saying ‘ Labour was considering plans to set up a quango to take charge of making recommendations for big infrastructure projects’. He said ‘the state needed to be more active in industrial policy’.
    In the context of this argument Lord Adonis said ‘rail travel was a moral issue’, this was viewed through the somewhat strange lens of passenger contract; ethics at best rather than a true moral aspect based on human or environmental/natural impact. Morals are concerned with right and wrong, ethics are more about behaviour based upon agreed standards. Standards of course vary and post modern morality is marred by relativism.

    Some standards vary in an interesting manner which are not relativism but deliberate wickedness.
    Adonis does not comment on the immorality of the official 2010 assessment by HS2 that the 109-mile route from London to Birmingham was estimated to cause £4.3 billion of damage to the landscape.( London green belt and Chiltern AONB £1.1 billion).
    A new 2012 assessment by the Department for Transport estimated that the impact damage for the route is £957 million, 78 per cent lower.
    The impact of the line in its London green belt and Chilterns AONB sections was said to be £114 million, a tenth of the 2010 figure.
    Now that is both unethical and immoral. Yet Parliament nods it on as “National Interest”

    If we consider the issue of Wales and other areas there are reasons why HS2 is both unethical and immoral.
    Wales will lose out as it has done ever since the coal and steel industries faltered. The same was true of Cornwall. The North lost out with the failure of the heavy industries and mining.
    The intention of Parliament is to create development zones in the North where there are votes and population mass they are interested at the expense of others . This is super-relative’ jobs and lawns’. The moral choice has been made covertly.
    HS2 was meant to occur in parallel with the creation of an elected second house and changes to the electoral boundaries.

    These developments and infra-structure will be subsidized by the East Anglia, the West Country, Scotland and Wales.
    Scotland, Devon, North Wales/Ireland and Cornwall are all at distances that would benefit from High Speed (<200mph links)
    Morally all these regions should have been considered equally and ethically before areas with relatively easy access and links.

    The plans should have started at the 'periphery' where need was greater and worked into London/European connectivity in a manner that made sense for the entire country.
    HS2 has worked out from London to specific targeted Cities, their inclusion is veiled in secrecy. One Northern City for example Manchester is given two stations whereas Liverpool gets none. This has already created rancour.
    Threats of Scottish Independence is why the sudden haste to include the Scottish extension.
    Unfortunately the whole HS project has not been envisaged nor its extensions and connectivity worked through in any manner that is logical and multi-national (UK) in scope
    There are plans in existence I am reliably informed (based on the urgent need for restoration of the Palace of Westminster) for a House (for English Parliament )near the Birmingham station. Lord Adonis also suggested moving the elected House of Lords to Manchester .

    Today (Evening Standard) the government has announced it is to set up academic institutions to support government bodies with factual evidence rather than conjecture/influence/feelings in their water to support policy.
    Well the first issue that should be considered is the High Speed Rail network.

    The present scheme should be scrapped and a truly quad-national, ethical and moral scheme derived. Part of that ethical and moral response is care of the countryside and compensation. If this were to occur it iwould likely alter the routes, plans and service specification significantly.
    Given that this is the stated final desired outcome why was the current HS2 plan ever formulated and by whom?

  3. Hs2 has now been placed firmly in the jobs and growth bucket and will only be stopped if we can convince many more MP’s that it will achieve neither

    The PM has claimed that it will bring 100,000 jobs but it will displace many others including 60,000 plus in Wales and southwest England and prejudice many thousands in Leics,Birmingham and London that we have heard about amongst many thousands impacted by the route

  4. I cannot understand why they think that not being able to get to London a bit faster would put Wales at an economic disadvantage. This flies in the face of all the academic studies into this which conclude that these railways are more likely to drain the economic life away from the region rather than contributing to it. They should be careful what they wish for. They are better off without it.

    • Because they and all other areas ie S/W will not benefit will have to contribute tax to pay for it and maintain it.
      Wales will be in competition with the new areas.
      Business may be encouraged to the HS2 hubs whereas hitherto Wales has been able to attract a proportion of it.
      HS2 is using ‘loans/debts(not capital) which could be applied in other projects more directly linked to economic growth.

      There is limited Business being created/wanting to locate. Transport per se does not create business. We may end up a well connected economic failure.
      This is one of the fallacies of the whole promise.

      This is why I advocate if one is aiming for growth spend the money developing new manufacturing and tech business .

      • I agree that the whole premise is fallacious but it seems that a lot of people fall for it.

        With all this talk about ‘connectivity’ anyone would think that these places are the back of beyond, off the beaten track, somewhere like Timbuktu, and HS2 would somehow make them accessible where they’re not now. South Wales already has good motorway and rail connections. It’s just over two hours by train from Cardiff to London. I cannot understand why people think that cutting half an hour or so off that particular journey would perform some sort of economic miracle.

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