18 Mar 2011

Why are Greens opposing the new high speed rail link?

Opposition is growing to the high speed rail project - see The Independent here - it seems the Government, at the time of writing this, are undaunted by a backlash in Tory heartlands, over plans for the 225mph London-to-Birmingham line. But there are signs of the Government weakening on this....But some might ask why are Greens opposing this extension to our rail network?

At the recent Green Party conference, Greens voted against the High Speed Two (HS2) link arguing it would be "economically and environmentally unsound". Of course we remain committed to genuine improvements in public transport, but the economic case is unsound. Furthermore the claims about reducing CO2 emissions are not founded in fact - plus you have to factor in the huge damage which would be caused to local communities and their environment would be unsustainable.
It is estimated that the proposed HS2 trains would burn 50% more energy mile-for-mile than the Eurostar. HS2 would basically produce more than twice the emissions of an intercity train! HS2 has been described aptly as a 'rich person's railway' - the business case assumes that a third of passengers will be on incomes of £70,000 or more! See a good article by BBC columnist Roger Harrabin on this topic here.

"It has long been established that in an already mature economy, the creation of extra transport infrastructure does not generate extra wealth so much as move it around, and it doesn’t always redistribute business in the way we would prefer if our aim was to create a fairer, better balanced economy." John Whitelegg (Professor), Green Party spokesperson on sustainable development

No comments: