High Speed Rail - Transport Committee Contents

Written evidence from Jane Cave (HSR 11)

This letter concerns the proposed building of a new High Speed Railway across Britain.

I have to ask whether the people who support the building of this new railway have a clear understanding of the size of Great Britain and the extent in terms of area/kilometres acres of land to which this country has already been developed, especially in terms of transport links. Do they have a realization of what would be lost if this were to go ahead? After consideration I think they can have no appreciation of either.

Is it possible that people supporting this High Speed link actually believe the addition of another means of transport, running an additional and new service (with greater carbon emissions than standard speed rail), along a different route newly built over much previously undeveloped land will improve Britain somehow and help reduce carbon emissions?

This is madness: It will be a source of short term financial gain to a minority of those closely associated with the HS2 company, but otherwise it will be disastrous as it will increase carbon emissions, further reduce the small amount of land we can call rural or beautiful or tranquil. As someone brought up and living now in a rural part of Northamptonshire I love everything the countryside has to offer, I personally feel this country is becoming an environment less and less pleasant to live in.

I am currently unsure how much I will be directly affected in that my home is over a mile form the route, but I nevertheless feel appalled at the prospect. The M40 has already cut through the landscape in my area and this has added to noise pollution and changed the landscape for the worst but cannot be denied that the motorway was needed. I live less than eight miles from the M40 motorway and only seven miles from a major railway station at Banbury. I am also around 15 miles form the M1. Britain is already impressively linked by a rail network. Many existing rail services run off peak are not at all fully used. It is possible to develop high speed rail links by developing the existing network.

We are not "the Continent" and we are not "Asia". We are a comparatively crowded and far tinier country in terms of land area. How many alternative, unattractive, carbon emitting physical transport links do we need per 10 square miles of Britain, (on top of internet links, web conferencing, mobile phones and alternatives to travel at all).

I can only think that people supporting this high speed rail link must actually dislike Britain , including its countryside, and could not care less care about climate change, the thousand of British people who would greatly suffer or how the quality of everyones environment and lives would be terribly diminished.

To remind you of the evidence and supporting facts for calling a stop to this disastrous and tragic proposal.

In 2007, the Department for Transport commissioned a report, Estimated Carbon Impact of a New North South Line, from Booz Allen Hamilton to investigate the likely overall carbon impacts associated with the construction and operation of a new rail line to either Manchester or Scotland including any expected modal transport shifts, and the comparison with the case in which no new high-speed lines were built. The report concluded that there were no carbon benefits in building a new line from London to Manchester. The additional carbon from a new rail route would be larger than the case in which no new line was built.

The route will greatly damage the 47 kilometre-wide Chiltern Hills area of outstanding natural beauty, the Colne valley regional park on the outskirts of London, and other areas of green belt. (Does anyone who supports this scheme really appreciate what would be lost and spoilt? Do they hate this country? Do they view countryside as a waste of space and something only valuable if it is developed on?)

The High Speed Rail Command paper published in March 2010 stated that in the worse case with no shift from aviation to rail and no reduction in carbon intensity of electricity generation, the scheme would result in an increase of emissions by 440,000 tonnes per year. (~0.3% of domestics greenhouse transport emissions in 2008).

The Eddington Report cautioned against the common argument of modal shift from air to train as a carbon emissions benefit to high-speed rail—since only 1.2% of UK carbon emissions are due to domestic commercial aviation, and that rail transportation energy efficiency is reduced as speed increases.

The Government White Paper Delivering a Sustainable Railway states trains that travel at a speed of 350 km/h uses 90% more energy than at 200 km/h; which results in carbon emissions for a London to Edinburgh journey of 14 kilogram per passenger for high speed rail compared to seven kilogram per passenger for conventional rail, air travel uses 26 kilogram per passenger for the same journey. The paper questioned the value for money of high speed rail as a method of reducing carbon emissions, but noted that with a switch to carbon free or neutral energy production the case becomes much more favourable


HS2 Ltd stated that 21,300 dwellings would experience a noticeable increase in rail noise and 200 non-residential receptors (community; education; healthcare; and recreational/social facilities) within 300 metres of the preferred route have the potential to experience significant noise impacts.

The Government has announced that trees planted to create a visual barrier will also reduce noise pollution along the route. Do you really believe that this will make a meaningful difference at all, in terms of what we will loose? I certainly do not. Does anyone supporting this scheme enjoy or appreciate what the British countryside can currently offer in terms of peace and tranquility or understand the huge value of this to everyone who lives there or visits.


Research presented by Dr Haydon Bailey, geological adviser to the Chiltern Society, showed that HS2 tunnelling could cause long term damage to the chalk aquifer system responsible for water supply for the North Western Home Counties and North London .

Before concluding this letter I would like finally to mention how incredibly unimpressed by the governments public consultation website I am. It is in fact the most insulting website I have ever seen—No mention of or detail concerning environmental impacts of any sort are even mentioned plus the detailed large scale maps are completely illegible!

Please, please prevent the High Speed Railway.

May 2011

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Prepared 8 November 2011