The coalition government has published its plans for the next five years – it can be downloaded here from the Cabinet Office and also from the Directgov site here.
They intend to establish a high speed rail network to help create a low carbon economy.
High Speed Rail does not have a place in a low carbon economy. Firstly, building the railway releases CO2. Secondly, running the trains requires electricity which itself releases CO2.
Relevant text about rail travel from the plans:
The Government believes that a modern transport infrastructure is essential for a dynamic and entrepreneurial economy, as well as to improve well-being and quality of life. We need to make the transport sector greener and more sustainable, with tougher emission standards and support for new transport technologies.
• We will reform the way decisions are made on which transport projects to prioritise, so that the benefits of low carbon proposals (including light rail schemes) are fully recognised.
• We will establish a high speed rail network as part of our programme of measures to fulfil our joint ambitions for creating a low carbon economy. Our vision is of a truly national high speed rail network for the whole of Britain. Given financial constraints, we will have to achieve this in phases.
• We are committed to fair pricing for rail travel.