HS2 Myths - Leadership & Targets

Government leadership has been arrogant and poor

  • The case for HS2 appears simply to be a wish to be seen as a world leader in high speed rail.
  • There is no factual justification for HS2 that stands up to business or environmental scrutiny.
  • Many reasonable alternatives for service improvement (e.g. using existing infrastructure) have simply been ignored. Their own reports stressed the need to fully examine the range of options...this was quietly forgotten early in 2009 in order to meet self-imposed deadlines.
  • The way the issue has been announced as almost a "fait-accompli" is arrogant and dismissive of the need to engage the public at all stages
  • Spending at least £33 billion on a flawed project when government debt will be so high for years to come calls into question the judgement of those involved. Even worse, there is no guarantee that the UK can provide the technical expertise to build the railway. There is a significant risk that much of that money would have to be spent abroad.

Meeting the targets

The government's command paper sets three key objectives for HS2; Capacity, Connectivity and Sustainability. These are reasonable expectations for any transport system but the question must be asked, are they set at reasonable levels and would they be achieved by HS2? A large amount of analysis has been undertaken by transport, business and environmental experts. The results are an emphatic NO for each target. An overview of these results is shown below and the detailed evidence is given on later pages.

Capacity:

  • The target growth in demand is 267%. Very few believe this is remotely likely.
  • More realistic increases of 65% can be met by improvements to the current system, principally the rolling stock.
  • Further increases can be achieved by selective improvements to the present network.

Connectivity:

  • The aim of shifting business to the Midlands and the North of England is contradicted by a report prepared for the DfT. HS2 would simply increase the range for commuting to the SE. > Click here to view 'Consequences for economic growth P25'
  • Reasonable alternatives such as making Heathrow a rail/air hub to encourage modal shifts have been dismissed out of hand

Sustainability:

  • The very high speeds inevitably use much more energy than current 200kph trains. Even with "green electricity" this differential remains.
  • Large swaths of virgin countryside will be taken at a huge cost in damage to the environment and heritage
  • It is inconceivable that actively encouraging such radical increases in inefficient travel could in any way be described as "sustainable", in fact the opposite is true.

WHO WE ARE WHAT WE ARE DOINGMEETINGS
THE GOVERNMENTS CASE FOR HS2THE HIGH SPEED RAIL SYSTEMROUTE 3 & MAPSNEXT KEY STAGESPROPERTY BLIGHTENVIRONMENTAL BLIGHT
LEADERSHIP & TARGETSTHE MYTHS EXPOSEDWILL IT AFFECT YOU?
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