Written evidence from Robert Andrew Kemp
are the main arguments either for or against HSR
The arguments for HSR are based on claims
taken from the Department of Transport document "Consultation"
dated February 2011.
We believe a national high speed rail network from
London to Birmingham, and onward to Leeds and Manchester, can
transform the way Britain works and competes as profoundly as
the coming of the original railways in the19th century.
A far cheaper and more environmentally friendly method
to transform the way Britain works would be to invest in high
speed communication lines to allow increased use of technology
such as video conferencing by businesses, thereby reducing the
need for business travel.
There can be no doubt that the coming of the railways
transformed the economy of the country primarily by the movement
of freight from one part of the country to another. This is clearly
not part of the HSR strategy as it is not planned to carry freight
HSR has the potential to help bridge the North-South
divide that has for too long limited growth outside London and
the South East.
The DFTs figures estimate that 70% of jobs "Created
by HS2" will be in London. Most of the jobs that are claimed
to be created will not be genuinely new jobs, but will have moved
from other parts of the country.
A high speed rail network has the potential to generate
a massive £44 billion of benefits. It would directly deliver
thousands of jobs constructing and operating new lines, development
of our world class engineering talent and regeneration of key
areas of our inner cities, including in West London and Birmingham's
There is little evidence that higher "performance"
trains support economic growth.
While it is true that thousands of jobs will be created
constructing the new line, these will only short term contracts
whilst the line is being built.
There are clearly more sustainable methods of investing
money to generate jobs and regenerate inner city areas.
Other infrastructure improvements are likely to provide
a better investment to support economic growth and can be achieved
High speed rail is also an important part of our
plans for a low carbon economy, helping us meet our climate change
targets by encouraging millions out of their cars and off the
planes onto the train.
It is estimated that high speed rail will use approximately
twice as much energy as a conventional train and therefore create
greater emissions of greenhouse gases.
The HSR proposal estimates that 2% or less of motorway
traffic would switch to HSR so carbon emission savings form car
journeys switching to trains will be minimal.
Domestic air travel is currently in decline. Few,
if any people fly form London to Birmingham, and rail already
has 79% of the Manchester market.
For phase 2, scheduled flights to Leeds ended in
March 2011 and HSR in 2032 only matches the current fastest train
from Newcastle to London.
Today's railways face a huge capacity challenge.
Rail passengers are familiar with overcrowding, used to long queues
and are almost certain to have found themselves standing on a
long distance journey at some point. And demand is set to rise
sharply in the years to come. On the West Coast Main Line, in
particular, new rail infrastructure will be essential.
The additional capacity requirements can be met very
easily and achieved much more quickly by investment in the existing
infrastructure and rolling stock.
It is likely that most people would prefer improvements
to their existing service.
The DFT has produced its own solution to this issue
in the Rail Proposal 2 (RP2) documents.
Our competitors already recognise the huge benefits
high speed rail can bring and are pressing ahead with ambitious
plans. Britain cannot afford to be left behind. Across the globe
we have seen how high speed rail can revive and regenerate cities.
We must ensure that the UK's principal population centres benefit
from this high speed effect.
The UK, unlike other European countries, has had
a fast national rail system for a long time. The average journey
times between the capital and five major cities in the UK are
faster than journey times in other European countries.
For example 145 minutes in the UK compares with 221
minutes in France to 244 in Germany.
The Government believes high speed rail is crucial
to Britain's future success. Our plans have the support of political
and business leaders across the United Kingdom.
There has also been opposition expressed in writing
to the HSR proposal.
The following lists a small number of those opposed:
Patrick Barbour (Former chairman, Microgen plc);
Toby Baxebdale (Founder, Direct Seafoods);
Chris Kelly (Chairman, Keltruck);
Lord Lawson of Blaby;
Sir David Naish; and
Matthew Sinclair (Director, Tax Payers' Alliance).
does HSR fit with the Government's transport policy objectives
Because of the extremely high cost of this
project, it is likely that less finance would be available for
other transport projects. It seems foolhardy to spend this amount
of money on a single project. A more even distribution of funds
to various transport schemes would seem to be a more sensible
use of limited funding.
An alternative scheme for increasing capacity of
the existing network has already been mentioned in paragraph 1.
The implications for domestic air travel have already
been mentioned in paragraph 1.
The station at Birmingham International will be located
next to Birmingham International Airport which is currently running
well below full capacity. This is very likely to mean an increase
in international flights from this airport adding further carbon
The business case assumes that rail travel will increase
by 100% over the next 35 years without HSR. The demand for long
distance train services is overestimated by some 47%.
The demand does not take account of the improvement
in telecommunications negating the need for business travel
It seems likely that leisure travelers will use HSR
"because it is there". This seems to be at odds with
the Government's travel reduction policy. Do we build transport
infrastructure to satisfy demand or to stimulate demand?
Over 40% of the estimated benefits of HSR are based
on the assumption that all time on trains is wasted. Anyone who
has travelled by train recently will see that this is not the
case. The use of laptops and mobile communication devices is already
The proposed route passes through the middle of an
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (The Chiltern Hills). This
has the same status as a National Park and there would clearly
be a severe impact on the environment.
Much of the route through this area would be above
ground. There is no indication of a tunnel under this area of
countryside used by very many people each year as an area of recreation.
The tunnelling that is proposed is of the "cut and fill"
24 areas of woodland would be affected by HSR including
nine ancient wood land sites.
The total area of woodland destroyed would be around
13,700m of hedgerow would be destroyed with obvious
implications for wildlife.
With the exception of Old Oak Common, there are no
stations proposed between London and Birmingham. For residents
living in Berks, Bucks, Herts, Middlesex etc, it will actually
take longer to reach Birmingham by HSR than travelling using an
existing rail route as the journey will involve travelling to
central London to catch the train. This clearly provides no local
benefit to any of these areas.
rebalancing and equity
As explained in paragraph 1, the impact on the North
South divide is likely to be minimal.
There is evidence that it will actually benefit the
London area to a greater extent.
It is important to provide a transport infrastructure
for the whole country. This scheme is clearly of little or no
benefit to Wales, the West country and East Anglia.
It seems likely that this scheme will only benefit
the wealthy socio-economic groups.
There is no mention of proposed fares but it not
envisaged that this will be a cheap form of transport.
On a personal note, on planning a recent trip to
Germany, the cost of travelling by HSR worked out at approximately
twice the cost of travelling by air.
The impact on UK carbon emissions is not expected
to be significant. This has already been covered in paragraph
The environmental impacts are covered in the proposals
"Appraisal of Sustainability".
This is misleading and contains incorrect information.
It is misleading on carbon emissions as stated above.
Noise contours are not provided.
Impact of noise is measured incorrectly and does
not conform to World Health recommendations. It uses average measure
of noise exposure rather than more appropriate peak emissions.
It is estimated that the rebuilding of Euston station
will take eight years to rebuild which will clearly cause disruption
to existing travelers using this station.