The HS2 Consultation – based on Myths?

This morning’s Today program featured a debate on HS2 between David Begg from the Campaign for High Speed Rail and Jerry Marshall, a fellow anti-HS2 campaigner and chair of Agahst.

I was surprised to hear David Begg saying that his organisation was formed because of the myths being promolgated and that the Government’s “hands are tied” during the consultation period.

The answer to myths is to make sure the facts are known.

If the Government can’t tell us the facts during the Consultation, when will they?

Are they going to suddenly say, on the 30th July, after the consultation finishes “thanks for the responses, but you know what, they are all based on myths: here are the facts”.

What are they telling us now, if it isn’t the facts?

You can hear the program on iPlayer about 1:53 into the program.

23 comments to “The HS2 Consultation – based on Myths?”
  1. David Begg held up the link between Frankfurt and Cologne as a flagship for high speed rail and is a similar distance as London to Birmingham.
    Is this the one that has a maximum speed of 180 miles per hour,largely follows the route of an autobahn,takes 70 mins and cost 6 billion euros to build?—if so why is his organisation fully supporting HS2 which will run at 250mph,destroys countryside and communities and will cost at least 17bn pounds?

    • Which communities are being “destroyed”, and how so? I do wish anti-HS2 people would grasp the simple fact that it is completely pointless talking about the “myths” of HS2’s benefit whilst using this sort of ludicrous hyperbole.

      • How else would you describe rural villages and towns where houses will be demolished,businesses closed,playing fields and playgrounds dug up,large trenches dug for 250mph trains to thunder through near houses and farms,ancient woodlands felled,wildlife killed or habitat removed,hard worked for property blighted.
        I’m sure others can add to the list

        • As Rich says……which communities are being destroyed.

          Which businesses are being closed?

          Which playing fields and playgrounds are being dug up?

          Which wildlife is being killed?

          Which ancient woodlands are being felled?

            • Why should I look at maps? Why cant you just tell everyone on here exactly what is being destroyed…….shouldnt be too difficult…….

              State some facts instead of making a glib statement……

            • This is a railway line. Entire collective dwellings of people and business premises are not being wiped off the map. In other words, communities are not being destroyed.

          • Gary – The Natural Environment Team at Bucks County Council have done a Baseline Environmental Assessment of each of the 3 routes, using a 1km corridor either side of the route.

            It shows 40 different types of asset from geological sites to ancient woodland. Link attached to read about what they have done and have planned,


            scroll down to bottom to see the baseline assessment results for Route 3 (the preferred route); results for Route 2.5 (Hughendon Valley); and results for Route 4 (WCML). Each set of results has a useful comparative table of the landscape features affected by the 3 different routes. All this of course just covers Bucks. Other councils are being approached to see if they can do the same study.

    • Hi Gary (again),
      a littel search on Google produced the following points in regards of Woodlands that would be detroyed:

      “…Our immediate concern is that in threatening ancient woods, the current proposals do not achieve all that they could.

      So far our analysis shows that the route (the width of which varies between 22m and 57m) will cause direct loss to 21 ancient woods. Depending on the final route, track specifications and location of stations there could be an additional negative impact on further ancient woods…”

      This is directly from the Woodlands Trust Website. You might want to read a bit more at your leisure:

      • How many woods were destroyed by the M1 and M40 ?

        As Rich says……which communities are being destroyed.

        Which businesses are being closed?

        Which playing fields and playgrounds are being dug up?

        Which wildlife is being killed?

        • Just noticed on that Woodlands trust website that it just shows HS2 as a red line from London to Birmingham…..but what it doesnt do it actually show which part of the line is actually tunnel….

        • Gary

          I dont have the resources to put together a full list but Im sure other posters can list their local impacts

          I note that there have been no posts disagreeing with my core point about the comparison with the Frankfurt to Cologne line

            • I have stated facts but it is not for me to name peoples private houses or businesses.
              The Campden Gazette article referred to on this site gives some examples and I agree with you that there should be a full impact assesment as in my experience people not on the route have little or no understanding of the real impact on many people’s lives
              We must upgrade our infrastructure and that requires a full discussion of the alternatives

            • No understanding of the real impact ?? Hmm let me see……the documentation produced CLEARLY states there will be some impact where people actually live on , or very close by to, the proposed route. But of course that will be mitigated by a range of compensation, in much the same way as it does when a new Motorway is built. I myself recieved some years ago when the M60 was built. And to be honest… was money for nothing. If you lived in my house , you wouldnt actually know there was a motorway 1/2 mile away. The rail line is actually closer…..but same as, I dont notice it.

  2. Pingback: STOP HS2 | Opportunity Costs

  3. Rather telling comments from Prof. Begg. ‘… need to make sure arguements are put effectively for High Speed Rail’. With the army available to the DfT and HS2 Ltd. you’d have thought if there were effective arguements we’d have heard them by now. Instead all we’ve had is fudging of figures.

    I guess it was reasuring there’s a tiny fraction of the HSR routes in Europe make some money. I did notice he didn’t mention HS1.

    • why dont you prove that the figures are fudged it is easy to say that they are

      and it depends what you mean about hsr making money. most more then cover their operating costs and when you take into account other economic benefits even hs1 makes money and also is already carrying 17 million passengers a year. calculate the cost to the environment if people still flew to paris instaed of flying or the people who use hs1 now who used their cars before.

      hs2 is calculated to deliver twice as much in benefits as in costs. if you think that it wont prove that too

      • HS2’s calculations are extremely biased towards intangable benefits such as ‘felt’ value of reduction in travel time. In terms of the calculation this makes the bulk of the monetary value HS2 will deliver. On the other hand HS2 purposfully does not take into account the tangible socio-economic cost to the communities, businesses and the environment along the track. If they can calculate something so intangable as ‘felt’ time benefits why can’t they do so for the real impact on the economy in the communities.

        In my day to day life as a management accountant I would only ignore a cost for two reasons: either it is a sunk cost, meaning the money will or or is already been spend or it is not material enough to change my decision process. Both is not given in the case of HS2.

        It only leaves me with the conclusion that omitting this tangible socio-econmic cost is that it would make the case for HS2 to what it really is, economically not feasable.

  4. I think it is more to do with pre-election purdah than the consultation period, despite what David Begg said. Hammond et al cannot be seen making high profile pronouncements immediately in advance of local elections. It was an interesting and balanced exchange of views on the Today programme, and well worth a listen.

    • If he meant the purdah period, he should have said purdah. Anyway there is less then two weeks before the election, and three more months of consultation.

      Agree it was worth a listen.

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