Isn’t it ‘green’?
There is no evidence that HS2 will be an environmentally friendly solution to the nation’s transport problems.
High speed trains produce around double the CO2 emissions of regular intercity trains. HS2 Ltd themselves have now admitted that the project is at best likely to be only carbon neutral.
The University of Barcelona study mentioned above says in the conclusion:
“HSR is not a very useful tool for fighting CO2 emissions.”
(Research Institute of Applied Economics, University of Barcelona).
Even the Green Party have now come out against HS2.
Don’t we need to increase capacity?
Yes, there is clearly a growing capacity problem on the West Coast Main Line. But there are alternative solutions involving improvements to existing services that are cheaper, less disruptive, and can provide all of the added capacity that forecasts say will be required.
In particular, a piece of work done by Atkins which includes the two options entitled ‘Rail Package 2’ (RP2) and ‘Rail Package 2A’ (RP2A) clearly deserves to be looked at very seriously as a potential solution to the capacity problem at a much more affordable costs to the taxpayer.
I recommend reading the report on the alternatives commissioned by the HS2 Action Alliance, which can be found here:
Whose fault is this? Which political party is to blame?
One of the problems we face in challenging the assumptions behind HS2 is that there is cross party support for it at Westminster. All three main political parties had manifesto commitments to HS2 at the last election.
The plan was originally put together by Lord Adonis, the Labour transport minister before the general election. The Coalition Government has taken in forward.
Locally, a number of councillors and MPs from all parties are working together to oppose HS2.
Isn’t the Labour Party now against HS2?
You may have heard that the Labour Party is reconsidering its support for HS2. Sadly, this appears to be game playing.
They did tell the Action Groups that they were reconsidering their support, but at the same time they were telling their North West MPs (who are all in favour of HS2) that Labour was still backing HS2.
In February 2011 any suggestion that Labour was serious about reconsidering its support was quashed when Ed Miliband said: “I don’t think anybody should be in any doubt that we were the people who brought in high speed rail and we remain supporters of it.” (Source)
Will you really vote against it in Parliament?
For an MP to vote against their own Party in Parliament is quite a big deal, but I have pledged to do so over HS2. The previous MP expressed some concern about HS2 before the General Election but wouldn’t commit himself to voting against it when it comes before Parliament.
I have committed to voting against this scheme, and I have informed both the Secretary of State for Transport and the Chief Whip of that fact.