Keith responds to government go-ahead for HS2 rail plans

9 March 2012

Following the government's decision to approve plans to build a high speed railway from London to Birmingham, Keith sent this letter to local papers in the areas of his constituency which would be affected by HS2 - Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and the Chilterns:

Dear Sir,

I am astonished, but not surprised, that the Government has taken the misguided step of approving the HS2 rail scheme. This is a short-sighted and costly scheme that will take 15 years to complete. The unproved economic and social benefits which the scheme claims to bring do not merit the irreparable environmental damage which will be caused through higher energy consumption, noise, CO2 emissions and biodiversity loss. Creating deep cuttings and tunnels through EU protected wildlife sites is not a price to pay for what is likely to be a rich man's railway which will only serve four stations.

There is a strong case for enhancing the capacity and performance of Britain's inter-city rail network, but the HS2 proposals are costly, flawed and a wasted opportunity. It would be far better, and more cost-effective, to spend some of that money on upgrading and improving the existing rail infrastructure. The money saved could be put into investment in jobs and regeneration in the north. HS2 will be a slightly faster, yet very expensive rail service, which will create a two tier rail network in this country.

Last July I was one of 54,909 people to submit a response to the government consultation on HS2 setting out why I am opposed to this scheme. You can read this on my website. In a time of constrained finances, spending over £32 billion of public money on a scheme that won't improve rail transport for the vast majority of travellers shows me that the government is entirely on the wrong track.

Yours sincerely,

Keith Taylor

Green MEP for South East England

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