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High Speed 2 to Scotland

21 March 2016

Responding to the Government publication Broad Options for upgraded and High Speed Railways between the north of England and Scotland, Ralph Smyth, Head of Infrastructure and Legal at CPRE, said:

 

"With capacity and resilience as important as speed, we welcome this major study on the way forward for our railways between the north of England and Scotland.

Reducing travel times between Scotland and London is critical, if we are going to shift people from air to rail. Although it may be the headline, it should not however be the only consideration. Because of the priority given to intercity and freight trains on the mainline, many rural communities in areas like Cumbria have limited or no local rail services. Investment has to deliver for people in the countryside, if a national case is to be made. So it’s only right that a range of different ideas has been put forward, rather than presenting a new high speed line as a single, inevitable ‘option’.

The West and East Coast Mainlines pass by one World Heritage Site, three National Parks, four Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and five Green Belts. It will be vital for any detailed proposals to protect these cherished landscapes. The willingness to consider a range of speeds, rather than insisting on a world beating 400km/h, is a sensible start."

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