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MPs back our calls for more environmental protection for HS2

7 April 2014

Ugly design of HS2 viaduct and fencing in Chilterns Ugly design of HS2 viaduct and fencing in Chilterns HS2 Ltd - Open Government Licence

We have been calling for environmental funding to be ring-fenced in HS2's budget plus a new approach to design and landscape protection.

Visit our interactive site to see where HS2 would be visible

Responding to the report published by the Environmental Audit Committee, Ralph Smyth, CPRE’s Senior Transport Campaigner, said:
‘CPRE has been calling for environmental funding to be ring-fenced in HS2's budget since 2011 and it’s disappointing that the Government has been unwilling to take this forward. We are pleased that MPs are supporting our call. With Parliament set to vote on HS2 later this month, the Department for Transport will need to come up with an adequate response quickly if it wants to keep the project on track.

'Many improvements to HS2's route and improvements to environmental protection, such as more tunnelling and undergrounding transmission lines to protect the landscape, and more noise barriers to protect rural tranquillity, have been refused by HS2 Ltd on the basis of their cost. But the company refused to answer CPRE's requests for information about costs, telling us it would be "manifestly unreasonable" to respond. It is heartening that MPs have come to our aid by saying it should be up to Parliament not HS2 Ltd to say what is and isn't reasonable.'

The Committee stressed that the Government should not try to constrain how much Parliament could consider further environmental protection to be required for HS2.

The Committee also supported CPRE's call to run HS2 at a lower top speed until electricity is decarbonised, so as to reduce carbon emissions. This would also allow tree planting along HS2 to mature and help screen the trains, before they are allowed to run at their top speed.

CPRE was one of only two charities called to speak at the Environmental Audit Committee's inquiry and has played a leading role in the public debate on HS2.

Find out more
CPRE's stance on High Speed 2

HS2 and the environment inquiry - Environmental Audit Committee


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