28 February 2011
Prominent Greens from the North West were leading proposers of a national Green Party motion taken at last weekend’s Cardiff conference which stated that the proposed high speed rail link (‘HS2’) would be economically and environmentally unsound.
The conference vote was overwhelmingly against the HS2, the first stage of which is a new £16 billion, 250 mph train link between London and Birmingham. Future plans include an extension to Manchester, which would not be completed until around 2032.
Consultations on the first phase of the plans open today (28th Feb.).
The Green Party remain committed to genuine improvements in public transport, but say that any high speed rail project would need to meet strict criteria.
Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MP said:
"The Green Party is opposed to the current HS2 proposals. The economic case is unsound. The claims about reducing CO2 emissions are questionable to say the least. And the huge damage which would be caused to local communities and their environment would be unsustainable."
Transport expert and Lancaster councillor, Prof. John Whitelegg (pictured below proposing the motion at the conference) said:
“The proposed HS2 would burn 50% more energy mile for mile than the Eurostar and would produce more than twice the emissions of a current Intercity train.
Also HS2 will be a rich person’s railway – the business case for it assumes that a third of passengers will be on incomes of £70,000 or more. Greens are passionately committed to social justice and to the environment. The current HS2 proposals would serve neither.”
Other signatories to the motion from this region included North-West Green Party Co-ordinator Emily Heath and Chair of Manchester Green Party Brian Candeland.