Alternatives are better than High Speed 2 says HS2AA report

June 2010 – Problems with the business case for the proposed high speed rail link between London and Birmingham mean that alternatives to HS2 should be adopted, a report by railway analysts, Bruce Weston and Hilary Wharf, for HS2 Action Alliance, says today.

The demand estimates, on which the case for High Speed 2 (HS2) rests, depend on projecting (for the next 23 years) a relationship with economic growth that has not existed since 1995. Past experience also shows that the predicted additional demand that HS2 would generate is also overestimated.

The report challenges HS2Ltd to show how the forecasted 267% increase in demand can be realistic

Some of the benefits claimed for are an illusion. On the analysis done for HS2 Ltd, HS2 will not reduce carbon emissions nor will it result in material economic regeneration.

Neither is there a convincing case for the benefits that are claimed by HS2 Ltd. “The principle benefit of HS2 is the value of the time saving to HS2 users, but the benefit is substantially overestimated as it presumes that time spent on trains is all currently wasted” the report by HS2 Action Alliance says.

The report which is being presented to Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond today, says:

 The need for additional capacity between London and Birmingham can be met without disruption or public subsidy by buying new rolling stock to use on existing lines eg WCML and Chiltern

 The Department for Transport is ignoring its own policy on risk in recommending a brand new railway like HS2

 Speed is not “green”, it leads to higher energy consumption, more noise and destroys untouched countryside

 The alternative High Speed Rail solution that is in the national interest is letting existing routes operate at higher speeds – allowing the Pendolino fleet to realise its design speed of 140mph. London to Manchester could be achievable in under two hours.


Notes to editors

1. The paper by Bruce Weston and Hilary Wharf of HS2 Action Alliance was presented at the HS2 Stakeholder Summit: The Business Case (organised by Bucks County Council), 18 June 2010

2. HS2 Action Alliance is working with over 40 Action Groups, to challenge the case for HS2 and improve government decision making in this area.

3. HS2 Action Alliance have already conducted an effective local and national campaign against the compensation arrangements that have been the subject of a DfT consultation (closing 17 June). Their alternative compensation solution (commended by Councils, conservation and community groups) was developed following evidence that the government compensation proposals did not address property blight and could be the subject of legal challenge.

4. HS2 Action Alliance is a company limited by guarantee. Registered office: The Red House, 10 Market Square, Amersham HP7 0DQ.