I've recently been to our local community meeting where we met our local MP, Andrea Leadsom (I live between Brackley and Warwick), who, together with a small number of other MPs from across the country (not just those from areas that are affected by the development) is championing the case to get the government to change their policy and to present and consider a far more detailed (and accurate) cost benefit analysis of their proposal, which appears to have many issues, discrepencies and inaccuracies as currently set out.
I was impressed by the energy and research that she has undertaken to study the business case that has been put forward for this development and what seems apparent is that there has been an awful lot of speculative and dubious data included in creating a business case to try to justify the stupendous amount of money that is going to be spent on this project (£17 Billion!).
There were far too many point for me to list here, but the key ones that jumped out at me from the meeting were that:-
1) Every household in the country will end up paying £1,500 towards the cost of this development (so affects all MP's constituents) and what is worse their local transport budgets and services will be affected/cut as the budget for this development will draw money from every regions transport budget.
2) One of the justifications for this development is the lack of space/capacity on trains currently travelling from the North and Midlands to London, so we need bigger faster trains.
The trouble is that this is a requirement NOW, not in 10-15 years time when this project is scheduled for completion!! There are a number of far lower cost proposals to increase the rail system's capacity in the next 3-5 years at a fraction of the cost and disruption. These are far more sensible and attractive than the HS2 proposed development.
3) The time business people spend on the train travelling to/from work is costed as "lost time", as if no work is ever done whilst travelling. This is clearly not the case and completely skews the financial case towards the benefit is having faster travel times. Many people use the time travelling to work constructively, so this is clearly not an approriate figure to be using in their cost benefit analysis. So an extra 10-15 minutes in the time from Birmingham to London is of relative little consequence to many travellers.
4) Many MPs just aren't bothering to study the business case, as in their view it doesn't really affect them in their regions (WRONG!). It will affect their constituents financially (£1,500 per household) and in lower funding for their local transport schemes.
5) THE NOISE!!!! We listened to a recording of the German High Speed train, travelling at much less than the proposed 250 mph of the HS2 (undoubtedly will be more noisy) and the PEAK noise was like a Jet Aircraft flying overhead at the end of the runway at Heathrow (with ground vibration in addition!). All the noise figures put forward discuss "average noise" level increases, to try to give a much lower perception of noise being an issue. This is a virtually meaningless analysis/statistic, compared with the Peak Noise that every resident within a significant distance of the line will suffer/experience. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY SHOCKING and local residents just don't perceive what they are going to have to put up with - all the way along the line!!
The current consultation period is underway (from 28th Feb to 29th July) and the government are seeking feedback from everyone who has an opinion and wants to affect the decision as to whether to spend this money on this development.
THIS IS NOT A "DONE DEAL" and we have the opportunity, just as with the selling off of the National Forests, to make the government re-think their policy and take into consideration the views of the people.
SO EVERYONE SHOULD CHECK OUT the real costs of this development and provide feedback via the Governments online questionnaire at http://highspeedrail.dft.gov.uk .
I'm no expert, and there are a number of local pressure groups (SNAG - South Northants Action Group based in Brackley is my local group) that have been set up to inform local people, to present the facts as they see them and to lobby on the behalf of local communities who object to the development, to ensure that this proposal is not just "Steam-Rollered" through parliament.
Here is a brief extract of some of the "Myths Exposed" as discussed on SNAGs web-site.
|HS2 is 'green' - it is part of the low carbon economy|
Even the DfT says it doesn't reduce CO2 emissions (and the way they do their sums gives an underestimate); 400km/h trains use over 4 times the power of 200km/h
|HS2 will deliver wider economic regional benefits and more jobs|
DfT/HS2 Ltd do say local transport improves (worth £3.6bn) but this is from freed existing capacity not high speed connections (worth just £8m say HS2Ltd); the 10,000 construction jobs are an itinerant migrant workforce (like HS1)
|HS2 is a sound investment - over £2 benefit for £1 cost (NBR*=2.7)|
Commercially it loses money (25.5bn costs, less £15bn fares) and depends on non-priced time-saving benefits (that are overestimated): all driven by huge projected increase in demand (267%). Real NBR will be lucky to reach 1
|Only a new railway solves the rail capacity problem|
|UNTRUE||We can get 65% extra capacity with just extra rolling stock on WCML** and massive potential on Chiltern. Also DfT's own alternative to HS2 (RP2) debottlenecks existing WCML, delivering capacity by running more trains (for just £2bn and a better (3.63) NBR). And everything can be done incrementally - not relying on long-term forecasts.|
PLEASE CHECK OUT this site for a detailed review of the opposition case at http://www.snag-against-hs2.org/donate.asp ) and take some time to really consider whether this development is worth the huge costs involved, at a time when we are all suffering cuts in local services.
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Member since: 9th July 2012
I'm a keen guitar player & musician who plays in our family band. Our highlight so far was playing to 10,000 people at Fairports Cropredy Convention in 2010 & featuring on Bob Harris's Sky Arts prog.