High Speed Rail - Transport Committee Contents

Written evidence from Jane Farley (HSR 105)

I do not believe that there is any credible argument in favour of HS2 and many reasons against it.

Rail Package 2 would provide more than the required capacity on the West coast Mainline at one sixth of the cost and in a much shorter time.

The forecast requirements for travel are based on inaccurate, unsubstantiated information and do not take into consideration the effect of faster broadband and internet connectivity.

HS2 can only replace domestic air journeys served by its route plus the forecast reduction in travel time of approximately 20 mins by 2032 is not sufficient to make an impression on potential air travel.

The scheme will not benefit the north as research has shown that HS2 will serve only the top 20% salary earners with the majority of jobs being created in the south, particularly London. In fact it could be said to exacerbate the problem rather than relieve it.

The project is incredibly expensive with a business case that is not proven. The £30 billion could be saved and a far smaller sum used to invest in existing rail networks and schemes to improve transport as well as discourage unnecessary journeys. At a time of financial restraint and government cutbacks to propose spending so much money on an unproven scheme must be wrong.

The lessons of HS1 have not been heeded and rail travel in Britain already compares favourably with high speed rail in Europe.

This scheme is hugely expensive, has an unproven business case, is not going to deliver either sufficiently better travel links or improve the north/south divide as has been argued. In addition it will be hugely destructive of the environment, cutting through Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, imposing years of upheaval, social and economic disruption to those living along the line. If approved this project could affect thousands upon thousands of peoples lives in this country as their environment is down graded, property is destroyed or significantly devalued and their daily lives are blighted by constant, repetitive noise.

No one who does not work for HS2 or is not a politician looking for a glamorous project to pin their name to could possibly think this scheme was a proper or wise use of public money. It is most likely that those who promote this scheme will not be in office to deal with the social, environmental and economic problems that will result if this scheme goes ahead. My whole family including many who are not living anywhere close to the proposed line are against this scheme and will continue to do everything we can to stop it.

May 2011

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Prepared 8 November 2011