High Speed Rail - Transport Committee Contents

Written evidence from Craig Todd (HSR 83)

Thank you for your Select Committee inquiry into HS2. I have submitted my personal feedback via the [DfT] Online Public Consultation site and additionally wish to supply you my alternative view to HS2 as detailed below.

While I agree with most of the reasons for people rejecting HS2, I have not heard too many radical alternative suggestions. I wish to offer one.

The main driver for HS2 seems to be the case for bridging the economic divide between London and northern cities (Birmingham, Manchester etc). While a high-speed rail network connecting these northern cities to London appears like a good idea in principle—it is unfortunately fundamentally flawed in my opinion.

Rather than investing billions of public funds (and in the process blighting the countryside and thousands of homes) surely it would make far better sense to use this money to encourage Government/Public Organisations and Private Companies to relocate their offices to northern cities? This has already been demonstrated to be a success in places like Leeds. The benefits to this simple but seemingly overlooked plan are numerous:

1.  Less commuters impacting on an already overcrowded London.

2.  No massive infrastructure costs.

3.  No damage to the countryside and wildlife.

4.  No detrimental noise/visual impact to thousands of households.

5.  No exposure to the risk of rising commodity prices (which must have already significantly inflated the projected cost of HS2).

6.  No huge energy costs or CO2 emissions.

7.  Fully sustainable.

"Local jobs for local people" is surely much more sensible than a multi-billion pound HS2 for City-to City commuters. Additionally, part of the savings of not going ahead with HS2 could be used instead to invest in the Digital Infrastructure of the UK (again encouraging local and home working).

I hope that you will agree with my views, and if yes, that they can be a constructive part of an honest appraisal of the HS2 proposal.

18 March 2011

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Prepared 8 November 2011