17 January 2012
High Speed Rail - HS2 - Mistaken & flawed decision
"High Speed [Rail] 2" (HS2), a new high speed rail link from Euston to Birmingham then to Manchester and Leeds and ultimately Scotland has been approved by the UK Government.
Professor John Whitelegg, former Lancaster councillor and Green Party (England & Wales) spokesperson on sustainable development, said
"The decision to approve HS2 is a mistake and is based on deeply flawed assumptions that have not been subjected to rigorous, independent audit. On both economic and environmental factors it simply does not add up.
Passenger behaviour contradicts these theories and inspection of passenger behaviour on any inter city train will show. There have been impressive developments of sophisticated teleconferencing, videoconferences and on-the-move IT solutions. Improving IT infrastructure and teleconferencing pervasiveness will solve many "needs to travel"
Does a successful economy really need 20,000 people a day leaving Manchester to go to London and another 20,000 leaving London to go to Manchester?
Capacity problems on the West Coast Main Line can be solved by more trains, longer trains, passing loops and intelligent city regional planning.
Our cities desperately require the kind of reliable, affordable, sophisticated public transport systems we can find in Frankfurt, Zurich and Vienna. The economic, social and environmental gains from spending £3 billion in each of Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle and Birmingham far outweigh the gains claimed for HS2.
It is a disaster that we will spend so much money on a single project during the UK's current fiscial situation that for the same money we could improve most of the UK's cities.