Written evidence from Richard Baldwin
1. I am responding to the Transport Select Committee
(TSC) consultation on the strategic case for HSR on behalf of
my family. Your invitation to comment covers a number of areas
which I am not going to address in detail. I intend to provide
only a few general comments on some of those areas which I hope
will help you conclude that HSR is not a project that this or
any other Government should pursue. Our national resources, such
as they are, should be focussed on improving the other sorely
neglected methods of transport in the UK such as our road network
which I can say from first hand experience having travelled to
five countries in the last three months is of a Third World standard.
2. Whilst I note that your enquiry does not seem
to specifically concern the proposal for HS2, I must point out
that never have I known a Government project produce such anger
and antagonism from those all along the proposed route particularly
within the Chilterns including local residents and Local Authorities.
3. Whatever the outcome of the consultation on HS2
you should recognise that whatever route is chosen, if any, the
Electorate does not support the concept of HSR wherever it goes.
The reasons for this are principally:
(a) there is no business case for it;
(b) there is no environmental case for itit
will cause a huge adverse environmental impact; and
(c) there is no money to pay for itwith
a huge public sector deficit resulting in reductions in public
services such as healthcare, education, care for the disabled
and elderly and roads that are more like cart tracks from the
early part of the last century - how can we afford it?
4. In terms of Transport policy any available spending
for transport should firstly be on our crumbling road infra-structure
not "pie in the sky" rail schemes that have been poorly
thought through. Secondly a perfectly adequate solution to the
"rail problem", if indeed there is one, would be to
upgrade existing lines not build costly new ones for which there
is no business case.
5. I strongly object to the whole concept of HSRwe
do not need it nor can we afford it! Given the financial mis-management
of many major public sector capital projects in the past by successive
governments one wonders what the real motivation is behind those
in Government promoting HSR. In a time of financial crisis Government
should be concentrating and spending the little money we have
on more important matters.