Many of the pro HS2 people appear to focus on the capital costs of the project and fail to address the social, economic and environmental costs. They are not alone. This is exactly what we believe the Government has also done. David Cameron has said he wants to see “green growth” in the UK – a combination of economic growth and a sustainable environment.
“Some of the green lobby and a lot of the media tend to look at the environment and climate change as, look you’ve got a binary choice, you can either have economic growth or you can have a sustainable environment, and the truth is we’ve got to have both.
“We’ve got to have green growth.”
STOP HS2 completely agrees with this statement, however, we want to see proof of how HS2 achieves this. To date there is none.
The definition of sustainable economic growth in the Oxford dictionary reads “conserving an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources:” However, HS2 will destroy ecological balance on a grand scale. It will deplete natural construction resources in this country and therefore require mass importing from unsustainable sources. For example; where will the steel come from? It is highly likely to be China.
No Environmental Impact Assessment has been carried out on HS2. This is required by UK and EU law. Without it, it is impossible to assess the full environmental impact. HS2 can not therefore be heralded as “Green Growth”. We simply do not have the proof but we do have plenty of evidence to prove otherwise.
STOP HS2 objects to HS2 on many Environmental Grounds. Here are some of them in very simple terms:-
- Unnecessary destruction of the environment and habitats.
- The intended speed of the trains +kph = +kw (if they make it slower which would be more carbon efficient and easier to mitigate but less competitive with existing lines)
- That the route uses more green field land than brown field.
- It will encourage new travel when we should be reducing need.
- The construction will require mass importing from unsustainable sources.
- There are significant pollution risks to the environment from the non-vegetation zones and construction phase.
- The route crosses many flood plains.
- It is not carbon efficient.
- It will increase the energy deficit in this country.
- It does not take into account the advances in communication technology
We are not alone. The Green Party has serious concerns and does not support HS2.
There’s a review of the environmental case, written by Hugh Jaegar, which you can download from the Labroke Action Group site. The report looks at the environmental cost of a new High Speed railway and compares it with other parts of the transport sector. For instance running a diesel train causes far more emissions then the equivalent electric train.
Hugh makes a number of recommendations at the end of the report.