Last night's meeting sought to re-galvanise the High Speed Rail 2 campaign ahead of the decision on whether to proceed with the project which is expected to be announced by Justine Greening MP on December 20th.
Among the issues that were discussed were:
- The fact that the carbon emissions from the trains will be higher per passenger than car travel.
- The project is a standalone one sponsored initially by Lord Adonis without any links with a strategic transport development plan.
- The lack of connectivity of HS2 (especially with HS1) and the lack of any concrete plans/station locations north of Birmingham.
- The economic case assumes time travelling on trains is 'wasted but we all know people work on trains.
- The costing of £32bn for the whole project does not include the many farm bridges that will be required, works needed as a result of the Environmental Impact Assessment, and the rolling stock.
- In places under Kensal the roof of the tunnel will be less than 10metres below some houses and there is no assessment of the noise and vibration that will be made by 250mph trains as they brake going into Old Oak Common.
- Because Euston will lack platform space we will lose the Overground link with Euston.
- Technology does not exist as yet for running 18 trains per hour in each direction at these speeds.
- The ongoing subsidy for HS2 will benefit the richest in society and no figures have been published for the eventual fare.
- The Transport Select Committee Report on HS2 raises so many issues around context, finance, environmental impact, number of trains per hour that it amounts to requesting that they go back to the drawing board.
- A Westminster Council report, although ostensibly against the project, is aggressively challenging on the route and other issues.
The meeting agreed that a bullet point update was requested that could then be used to write to MPs, including' off-route' ones, as well as London Assembly Members.
The Green Party passed this motion on HS2 at its Cardiff Conference:
The Green Party believes that long-distance service provision should not concentrate on high speeds where this will affect local service provision or take up and excessive amount of limited resources.
Current proposals for a new north-south high speed rail route are based on assumptions about continuing growth in mobility, energy use and CO2 emissions which are not compatible with green party policy.
The Green Party does not support the current (2011) high speed rail proposals known as HS2 but will review this policy if and when evidence emerges that HSR is embedded within an overall policy context that can deliver reductions in the demand for transport, energy use, land take and CO2 emissions.Further information: