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
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 railsince 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
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 seenNo 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.