Our view of the HS2 decision

Stop HS2 are naturally disappointed that the HS2 proposal is continuing to be pushed forward by the Government.

Justine Greening promised a “rational decision”.

We’ve set out our view of the economic case and the environmental case in letters to her and other material we have produced.

However Justine Greening has consistently refused to talk to campaign groups and local politicians opposing the HS2 project, preferring instead to rely on summaries produced by vested interests.

The Coalition’s Programme for Government stated that the Coalition would progress with high speed rail “as part of our programme of measures to fulfil our joint ambitions for creating a low carbon economy“. But according to HS2 Ltd themselves, the HS2 proposal is carbon neutral.

Justine Greening, in her statement, points out that “Electrified rail is a comparatively low-carbon mode of transport…Speed increases power consumption“.

The vast majority of the passengers on HS2 are expected to have used conventional speed railway otherwise, or not travelled at all, so it’s clear that environmental claims for HS2 are simply greenwashing. (A mere 3% of HS2 passengers would have used air travel otherwise.)

The proposed tinkering with the route may bring small relief to a few, but whenever the line is moved away from one area, it is made closer to another community. Adding a few tunnels does not change the economic case against the line, nor do they improve the overall environmental case.

One thing is certain though. The fight isn’t over.

We will stop HS2.

Link to:
Justine Greening’s written statement.

The HS2 documents released yesterday on the Department for Transport’s website.

The discussion in Parliament.

42 comments to “Our view of the HS2 decision”
  1. Nameless there has been no vote yet they have just decided they will proceed .The hybrid bill will be introduced at the end of next year.Let us hope by that time enough mps of all partys are convinced that it is not the right thing to spend the money on.

    • see wordsworth’s sonnet ‘on the kendal to windermere railway’ beginning ‘is no nook of english ground secure from rash assault….’ – all his arguments here and elsewhere against thoughtless destruction of our countryside apply with much greater force today….his conviction of the nurturing and healing powers of nature is summed up in the preface to the excursion beginning ‘on man, on nature, and on human life musing in solitude/i oft perceive fair trains of imagery before me rise……by words..would i arouse the sensual from their sleep/of death,and win the vacant and the vain to noble raptures; whilst my voice proclaims /how exquisitely the individual mind/( and the progressive powers… no less of the whole species) to the external world/ is fitted: and how exquisitely too-/theme this little heard of amongst men-/the external world is fitted to the mind/and the creation.. which they with blended might accomplish…’

  2. Shame there wasn’t more coverage on Question Time last night.The audience clearly had deep concerns but were largely ignored as almost all the panel were pro HS2 – the construction industry lobbyists have clearly been very busy – lunch anyone ? As for Paddy Ashdowns comment that ‘the revenue stream is already in place from crossrail’ – does that mean it’s not real money then ?? Nonsense.

  3. In these days of Human Rights, surely those of us in danger of losing the “right” to quiet enjoyment of our home, or for many others actually losing their home, should be eligible for redress through the Court.
    I’m sure a clever lawyer could find the appropriate clause in the Human Rights Act to protect our homes, and if all us affected by HS2 put in a claim, this would cause severe congestion in the Court system and make life very difficult for the Government.

  4. I am very sorry that this project has been given the go ahead (for now). I recall how much we supposedly needed the M6 toll which has since become underused because the toll is too expensive for many. A complete waste of money and proves that the case for building it was not properly researched. I really do not understand why we have to constantly worry about how quickly business men get from A to B. Does another 30 mins on a journey really make someone think twice about embarking on the journey? Hardly a tenacious business person if so. Let’s all rush here and there and get more and more stressed and keep endlessly adding to the size of our motorways and rail networks and airports until there is nothing else left. When will it stop?

  5. If we really do have £32 billion spare to invest in the railways (which is completely at odds with the austerity message the government is currently presenting), why is it going to be spent on one line only? Actually we need an upgrade to the entire rail network so that everyone benefits. Saving half an hour off a journey time to Birmingham is a risible improvement when set against all the negatives that will undoubtedly flow from the proposed line. The so-called economic case being made in favour of the line is based on the usual catalogue of fanciful statistics and one can easily tell that the promised benefits are purely theoretical as different ‘experts’ consistently disagree. And what about the rest of the country – what will this one line do for that? I am afraid that this is a vainglorious project of the sort that politicians like to be associated with so that they can ensure their names are noted in the history books of the future. A more sensible even-handed policy to upgrade the whole network within the existing framework thereby addressing the capacity problems would be dull, attracting little political kudos, so our leaders don’t want to do it. This is a classic example of shallow short term political advantage taking precedence over long term common sense. However we should not be surprised as that well tried approach previously brought us other white elephants such as Concorde, the Millenium Dome, Trident and numerous unaccountable but expensive Quangos, not to mention the European Commission and our numerous foreign military escapades. Why don’t we try to get our basic infrastructure right rather than showing off to the rest of the world?

    • I’ve only just begun to take a more detailed interest in the UK’s headlong rush to spend £34 billion we patently don’t have in return for statistically unproven future gains. If the problem is capacity between e.g. London and Birmingham, surely the better, more economic solution, flexible solution would be to introduce double-decker carriages. From so far limited recent research on the internet into the technical specifications, I believe the existing high speed tracks would be capable of running these carriages which can increase capacity by between 45% and 57% dependent on design. Designed and manufactured in the UK would also be good for our economy and morale. Growth of concept could be linked to regional development needs.
      Back in my university days, studying for my BA in Marketing and Commerce at Strathclyde, we were taught the logic of a country owning its own infrastructure and running it for the benefit of the economy and not the shareholders.
      Perhaps we should say “enough is enough” and start to regain control of all our infrastructure by nationalising the rail network – seems to work for the Germans, the French, the Swiss etc and, as recently stated in the Press, considerably cheaper in terms of fares.
      The argument needs less pie-in-the-sky, future-based jingoism and more reasoned research and hard facts. Moving more and more people backwards and forwards between Birmingham and London to fuel the economy has got to be a really old-fashioned way of building business.When the price of fuel is probably going to increase dramatically in the next 15 years, enhanced internet communication, e.g. Skype +++++ would be a more intelligent development – move the minds and the products, not the bodies!
      I look forward with interest to following this campaign and contributing to the replacement of HS2 with a logical long-term integrated uk transport structure. Next stop – the buses?

      • Craig, you say: “…surely the better, more economic solution, flexible solution would be to introduce double-decker carriages. From so far limited recent research on the internet into the technical specifications, I believe the existing high speed tracks would be capable of running these carriages which can increase capacity by between 45% and 57% dependent on design.”

        To do this you would have to completely re-build the existing high speed tracks while presumably continuing to operate the existing service – all the tunnels, all over bridges, all station platforms, all the overhead electrification and much more besides would have to be replaced or rebuilt. Apart from at least 10 years of utter chaos for the users, it would probably cost billions more than a new railway.

        Is this what you are suggesting?
        Sorry, but looking up stuff on the internet is not necessarily research!

        • As a novice I value your greater knowledge. I am trying to establish the current maximum distance permitted on UK rail tracks between rail top and overhead power line. In other words what is the gross vertical height available to fill with passengers,equipment and running gear? I.E. one can either lay another pipeline or maximise the bore of the existing one within current design constrictions.
          Look forward to receiving your help.
          Donald of Troon(Marr College)

          • The distance between track and overhead power line isn’t the issue. That distance is governed by the height of bridges and tunnels on the entire route, so that is the factor that needs looking at. In the UK, there is not sufficient height for double deck trains which is why it’s cheaper and less disruptive to build a new line WITH the appropriate space for double deck trains as with HS2.

            • On the assumption that the track/power line distance already passes successfully under the existing system’s bridges – the question still remains – what is that height in either feet, yards, metres, ells or fathoms if you prefer? That answer will then create the next step in my hypothesis. My opinion of HS2 has not yet become polarised one way or the other!

    • I press have been saying HS2 are talking to a company from New York …. shame the Government are not supporting UK Business and all that lovely 33 billion staying in the UK !

    • Mike you obviously havent read about those that will loose their jobs and there are a good many of them.Yes for a few years there will be
      constuction jobs .they are taking long term employment away and shift jobs from somewhere else when it is built,ie shopping centres.It has been aknowledged that the majority will be in London.If you take the cost per job created minus those lost you could use the cost of Hs2 ,improve transport and set up business around the country where it is needed.

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  7. having read that Lord Aster ,Camerons father in law, is against hs2 let us hope he can pesuade him to see the error of his ways.The trouble is that the MPs say they are working for us but in reality they are working for themselves and when push comes to shove they want to keep their jobs.I dont feel that any Party deserves our votes unless they prove themselves worthy when asked to vote in the hybred bill.

    • Was there actually a free vote on this issue? I actually wrote to my MP for the first time ever about this and I dont know by what margin this motion passed.

      • Thats easy. The official response the consultation suggests nearly 40,000 are against it.
        Those that don’t care are represented by those that didn’t reply to the consultation.
        So basically, most of the UK doesn’t really care at all.
        And, less than an average Stoke City home match – are against it.

        • It wasnt a national consultation and also a lot of the responses were on behalf of large numbers of people
          It was fatally flawed in many respects as were the roadshows and the responses were ignored

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