As we’ve mentioned before, Norman Baker, the LibDem travel minister, has a remit for “non-travel”.
The aim of this remit is “to reduce travel” – that might seem obvious, but sometimes its worth checking these things.
In contrast, the business case for HS2 is based on a massive growth in demand for all types of travel. And as well as a growth in demand for travel, they also expect that a quarter of the passengers using HS2 will only have decided to travel anywhere because someone has built the railway.
HS2 Ltd’s plans are in clear conflict with a non-travel agenda.
Like other Coalition ministers, Norman Baker has visited Oldham this week. He went to a bus depot, and a train station and spoke to the local papers.
So why, with his remit for non-travel, did he say “High-speed rail is going ahead”?
The consultation on the UK’s high speed rail strategy has not even started. If ministers are going to genuinely listen to the public, how can Norman Baker be so certain of the conclusion?
PS One of the commenters points out that flights between Manchester and City Airport are no longer scheduled – another example of a domestic air route which is no longer needed.