Tag Archives: HS2

HS2: Who cares about an old pear tree standing in its way?

cubbington pearIt was announced on the BBC Countryfile programme on Sunday evening that a 250-year old pear tree in Cubbington, Warwickshire had been voted as England’s Tree of the Year 2015 in a public vote organised by the Woodland Trust. The ancient tree will have to be destroyed in order to build the HS2 line between London and Birmingham.

Who cares, supporters of HS2 may cry? Isn’t it the ultimate bit of nimbyism to raise a fuss about an old tree standing in the way of progress?

The reason why the planned destruction of the Cubbington pear tree is important is that it exemplifies everything that is wrong about the way in which HS2 has been designed and is being rolled out. The design speed of 400 kph, which is quite unnecessary for a small crowded island such as ours, has determined a route which allows minimal deviation from a straight line, either horizontally or vertically. Just like the Roman roads two millennia ago, HS2 has to go straight through things rather than round them.

Posted in Op-eds | 71 Comments

Opinion: HS2 and the Ivanhoe line

321px-Sileby_railway_station_in_2010HS2 is the high-speed link which will run from London to Birmingham and then divide, one side going to Manchester (and potentially then to Glasgow) and the other through Sheffield, Leeds (and potentially Newcastle and Edinburgh).

The economic case is overwhelming.  The latest figures I’ve seen suggest that, over the next 30 years, this will cost £32bn to build and generate £43.7bn of economic benefits and £27bn in fares. Those figures are conservative: after 30 years the income will continue, but the building costs will have been covered. On top of this, what they can’t readily include is the role of house prices. At the moment people are paying a substantial premium to live in London (which also pushes up labour costs): finding a way to spread out economic activity across more of the country offers huge additional benefits as people no longer need to live in London.

Posted in Op-eds | 29 Comments

Opinion: We need HS2 and HS3 to benefit the north

HS2 Distortion 200The government’s support for HS2, despite the critics, has shown a real commitment to providing adequate transport links to sustain the UK and give the North a fairer deal as we head into the mid 21st century. We Lib Dems can be proud to be some of the program’s most enthusiastic and enduring supporters. The announcement yesterday of the creation of Transport for the North and the government’s support for HS3 means the North may finally start to enjoy the benefits of transport investment equivalent to the £17bn Crossrail and £6bn Thameslink that benefit London.This is a project worthy of our support, but there are a few questions to be answered.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 19 Comments

Airport expansion: 73% of Lib Dem members want to see it – but opinion divided on where it should happen

Airport terminalLib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Over 830 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

37% want London airport expansion; 36% want no-London airport expansion; 21% want no airport expansion

There is currently a discussion about how to expand airport capacity in the UK to meet future demand for air travel. Which one of the following do you think is the best option?

11% – Expand Heathrow airport

16% – Expand one or more of the other existing London airports (e.g. London Gatwick, Luton or Stansted)

10% – Build a new airport in the Thames Estuary to the east of London

36% – Expand other UK airports outside of London/the South East

21% – None of these – I would not like to see any expansion of the UK’s airport capacity

6% – Don’t know

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged , , , and | 20 Comments

Opinion: Time for Lib Dems to ditch HS2 for alternative HS1 extension

P1090440With a recent COMRES poll showing 52% of the public are against the current HS2 plans and with 70 seats and 600,000 Lib Dem voters affected, I sat down one day and decided to find a better scheme. One which did unite the north of Britain to London and the South, one which didn’t cost the earth, one with a minimal human impact and one which actually linked up with HS1, Eurostar and the Channel Tunnel – none of the things HS2 can boast off, but all of which an …

Posted in News | 38 Comments

Two-thirds of Lib Dem members say yes to HS2

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 750 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

Support for HS2 gathers steam among Lib Dem members

There are plans to build a new high speed rail link (called HS2) between London and Birmingham, and then on to Manchester and Leeds. This is currently expected to cost around £42 billion. Do you support or oppose these plans?

    67% (+12%) – Support
    26% (-5%) – Oppose

Posted in LDV Members poll | 13 Comments

Opinion: The Opportunity Costs of HS2

HS2 Brick WallToday’s publication (pdf) by the Liberal think tank Centre Forum, “Build the infrastructure: bin the wish list”, ought to make every Liberal Democrat stop and think again about the wisdom of spending £50 billion on HS2.

The report concludes that “projects must be prioritised with full consideration of opportunity costs”, saying:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 23 Comments

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