Written evidence from Alison and Mick
Tyler (HSR 19)|
We are writing to state our opposition to the proposal
to build HS2 from London to Birmingham. We do not believe there
is a sound business, economic or environmental case to back this
proposal nor do we think that there is enough money to fund this
"vanity" project. Our arguments against HS2 are as follows:
The demand forecast is based on a projected growth
in demand of 267% by 2033 (from 45,000-145,000 per day) This is
an unrealistic estimate of potential passenger numbers.
Forecasts in the past have been incorrect as in the
case of Eurostar which is carrying 50% fewer passengers than forecast.
HS2 Ltd has assumed that time on a train is wasted
and that therefore to save time on the train is to save money.
This is not true. The majority of business people use the journey
time to work. They use laptops, mobile phones and have discussions
with follow business travellers. Reducing travelling time between
London and Birmingham, which at present is only 1 hour 20 minutes,
will reduce the amount of time for working.
Trains from Coventry to Euston run three times an
hour at present and take 1 hour 5 minutes. This excellent service
will be cut to one train per hour. Business people currently travelling
from Coventry station will have to travel to Birmingham to catch
a train to London thereby negating any time saved on HS2.
The development of IT over the next 15 years will
reduce the necessity for people to travel to meetings. Even now
many companies have cut the costs of travel and use IT to hold
meetings. The cost of fares on HS2 will double, according to forecast
projections, which would make it prohibitive for individuals,
small and medium business to use this service. HS2 will be for
a few large companies with executives paid well over the national
This project will cost £24 billion, increasing
to £34 billion and could cost each household in Britain more
than £1,000. In an era of spending cuts and economic downturn
it is not justifiable to spend such a massive amount of money
when the public sector is facing huge cuts to its budget. Some
of the billions of pounds could be spent on public services which
would benefit the whole country not just a small number of highly
paid business people.
There is more likely to be a decline in the economy
of cities bypassed by HS2. The train will not stop at Milton Keynes,
Northampton, Coventry or any other towns or cities between Birmingham
and London. The prospect of economic growth for these places along
the route will be damaged and businesses could relocate rather
than generate income which will lead to many areas becoming economically
The existing West Coast line has 45,000 passengers
per day and HS2 Ltd predicts that of its estimated increase of
100,000 passengers, 38,000 people per day will use HS2 'just because
it is there, which is quite ridiculous. With up to 18 trains per
hour in each direction it cannot be economically sound to expect
that so many people will travel between Birmingham and London
every day when we should be conserving energy. It makes more sense
economically to improve the existing West Coast and East Coast
lines which would significantly improve the transport network
for far more people. Extending platforms and increasing the number
of carriages these routes would prove to be economically beneficial
to the whole country and stimulate growth around cities with rail
stations. RP2 is a more sound economic proposal.
HS1 has not proved to be the overwhelming success
it was forecast to be. It is being sold at a loss.
HS2 is only going to be carbon neutral so will not
create the low carbon economy claimed.
Natural areas of beauty through Buckinghamshire,
Oxfordshire and Warwickshire will be ruined and the protected
Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty will be irreplaceably
It is believed that fewer than 2% of those using
motorways between London and Birmingham will switch to HS2.
Since there are no flights from Birmingham to London
there is no potential for HS2 to replace air travel.
Carbon emissions generated by construction of power
stations and the line will be huge.
HS2 could consume four times the energy of existing
high speed trains.
Noise levels will be unacceptably high and cause
distress to people and animals.
Areas of countryside along the route will be permanently
scarred. A rigid route will not fit with the English landscape.
Animal and bird habitat will be destroyed.
Historic woodlands will be lost and water tables
will be adversely affected.
Agricultural, leisure and recreational areas will
be destroyed which are intrinsic features of the British landscape.
Upgrade the existing train network and public transport
so that the benefits of an improved travel service will be available
to the whole population. The Coalition Agreement policy is to
create "A truly national high speed rail network for the
whole of Britain". HS2 will link only two cities in the first
phase. Rail Package 2 makes more economic and business sense because
a wider proportion of the population would benefit from upgrading
the existing rail network for much less cost than HS2.
Concentrate on stimulating growth of all towns and
cities in Britain so that efficient, effective and economic transport
services are available for individuals, families and business
Examine the alternative options of developing the
existing transport corridors such as the M1 and M40.
A high speed rail does not need to travel at 250
mph. It is without precedent. Engines, track and technology have
not been developed to cope with this excessive speed.
We think the proposal for HS2 should be subject to
a public enquiry before any final decisions are made.
We want a rail service that serves us, one that we
can use to places other than London and one that we can afford
and that the whole country can use.