HS2 Questions

Examining the issues around the proposed High Speed 2 route

Is HS2 part of the green economy?

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Is HS2 part of the green economy?

The Government themselves say that HS2 will only be carbon neutral, but this neutrality depends upon[1]:

  • HS2 gaining passengers from domestic air flights, and domestic flights reducing for this reason, although the opportunities for this may be much more limited than DfT forecast
  • Freed-up take-off and landing slots not being re-used by longer haul flights (despite BAA saying this is exactly how they would be used)[2]
  • Failing to reduce carbon savings from air to HS2 modal shift from the White Paper levels to reflect reduced forecast inter-modal shift
  • Accounting the emissions of the electricity consumed by HS2 at the overall total generation average, rather than for the day-time and peak generation that it requires
  • Not recognising that electric or hydrogen cars can utilise renewable and baseload electricity supplies because they are storage technologies, and hence will decarbonise in advance of full generation de-carbonisation
  • Assuming excessive reductions in car emissions from modal shift, because the average (Webtag) car occupancy is used instead of the higher one for long distance journeys.

There is also nothing green about gouging a concrete scar through London’s nearest area of outstanding natural beauty or through some of England’s remaining tranquil countryside.

Speed is not green – high speed trains consume far more energy than conventional trains and 87% of passengers will either be making new journeys or coming from conventional rail.

HS2 is not part of a low carbon future.


[1] These issues are all discussed in Section 3.2 and Section 10 of HS2AA ‘Initial Review of the Consultation Business Case for HS2’, March 2011

[2] ‘High-speed rail set to boost UK emissions from aviation’, the ENDS report, 18 March 2011

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Written by hs2questions

April 6, 2011 at 7:44 am

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