Sunday, 4 May 2014

Thoughts on the HS2 debate a few days on - in 50 Years time will we wonder what the fuss was about?

My question in the HS2 Debate focused on the problem with all large infrastructure projects.

"All the northern councils and chambers of commerce back HS2 unequivocally as a source of growth and extra capacity. Is it not the case that all major infrastructure projects are objected to at the time of their creation, and that 50 years on, the objectors fully support what took place?"

HS1, M25, West Coast Mainline, East Coast mainline etc etc were all objected to before they were built. All are a big success now and used by millions. Indeed West Coast Mainline was originally defeated in parliament. The arguments for HS2 are strong. We need to think long term.

And on the point of whether rail spending is HS2 and nothing else it is true that many people against this project ask “Why not spend the money elsewhere?” This is about spending money elsewhere as well as, not instead of, on this project.

Patrick McLoughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport addressed this point by making the point that:
"Over the next five years Network Rail will spend £38.5 billion on the existing railway network. That is separate from the money being earmarked for HS2."

The Full debate from Monday is here:

1 comment:

  1. May 2014 at 21:01

    Guy, You were entirely correct to vote for the principle of HS2. The problem is that you and your Parliamentary colleagues have not been offered any alternative. It's HS2 or nothing. You have been given no guarantee whatsoever that HS2 as proposed is the best way of achieving the Government's aim of a better-connected Britain, with greater speed and capacity, and delivering necessary step-change reductions in CO2 emissions. HS2 will do none of this; it will also have the effect of placing the North-East of England on the end of a very long siding, possibly with improved connections to London - but worsened connections to most other principal UK cities. The Journal has it absolutely right – this is what I have been predicting for a while, with HS2 implemented as proposed, as a completely segregated system. The North-East will lose out – and (despite the somewhat jealous commentary re Leeds and Manchester), so will most other regional communities, including Yorkshire and the North-West. HS2 could have been so much better if it had been designed correctly as an integrated national network, both several billion pounds cheaper to build, and far better connected. This is what we have done with High Speed UK ( Check this out and see how much the Tyne Valley, the North East and the entire country will benefit. Please contact us if you require any further details - and please watch out for the High Speed UK Challenge to HS2. We will be demanding that the Government and HS2 Ltd explain why HS2 is best for the UK, and we will be demanding start to take transport seriously, and develop properly optimised proposals. All the best, Colin Elliff BSc CEng MICE (and once of the Sele School in Hexham!!)