HS2 Questions

Examining the issues around the proposed High Speed 2 route

‘The 69 business people are mistaken’: do you agree?

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A letter to the FT. Do you agree?


The sixty-nine business people wheeled out to support HS2 are mistaken.

They claim it will give the economy a much needed boost, despite their being no robust evidence to support this.

They claim it will improve connections between airports but it fails to connect directly with either Birmingham or Heathrow, the latter because the DfT recognises there is not enough demand to justify it.

They claim it will free up space. However, ‘Rail Package 2’, prepared by Atkins but hidden by the DfT, provides more capacity than required, produces lower crowding levels than expected with HS2, and costs just £2bn.

The HS2 line to Birmingham is expected to be 11 minutes faster than the one hour Sir Richard Branson believes Virgin will manage by the time HS2 opens, at a cost of £1.5bn per minute saved. It is hard to see how this will be ‘a significant help for British business’ as they claim.

No doubt HS2 will attract additional investment as claimed, for example in malls around the station. But this will not create new jobs, merely redistribute jobs from shopping centres away from the stations.

Philip Hammond accuses those who point out that HS2 has no business case of trying to ‘nickel and dime him’. But for him to want a £33bn project regardless of value for money is staggeringly out of touch with the real world of harsh cuts and tough economic choices.

To quote Andrew Gilligan, “The burning need in public transport is not for sexy, pointy nosed high speed supertrains, whose economics (and green credentials) simply don’t stack up. It’s for boring, unglamorous improvements to the quotidian services we actually use”.

Jerry Marshall, Chair, AGAHST Federation (Action Groups Against High Speed Two), representing 75 national and local organisations opposing HS2.

County Councillor Val Letheren, Chair of Joint Project Board, representing 13 local authorities against HS2


Written by hs2questions

March 1, 2011 at 9:45 am

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