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Next phase of HS2 gets go ahead: CPRE reaction

Photomontage of High Speed 2 on viaduct Photomontage of High Speed 2 on viaduct HS2 Ltd - Open Government Licence

The Government has today revealed its long awaited decision to proceed with phase 2b of HS2, which would connect Manchester and Leeds with the Midlands. The consultation document says there is currently no funding for junctions to link HS2 better with the existing rail network.

Ralph Smyth, Head of Infrastructure and Legal at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, comments:

'HS2 will simply fail to live up to its promises if it is not integrated with wider upgrades to the rail network. Communities in the North and Midlands have been crying out for better rail links in rural areas – not just the cities HS2 is proposed to connect. Parkway stations plonked in the Green Belt, like that proposed a mile away from Manchester Airport, would create gridlock rather than faster journeys.

'With the Government expecting to miss targets to cut carbon emissions from transport by 50% when the first phase of HS2 is due to open [1], much more work is needed to ensure phase two entices people out of cars and planes. Heathrow’s plans to subsidise new domestic air routes as part of plans for a third runway would seriously damage the financial and environmental case for these proposals.

'Although the route chosen for phase two would be less harmful than phase one, there needs to be at least as much ambition to make it fit in with the north’s countryside as the south’s, if landscape and tranquillity are to be safeguarded. Some high viaducts may be inevitable in hillier areas but let’s make sure they can be exemplary designs we can cherish, not soulless, standardised concrete.'


[1] The Environmental Audit Committee’s recent report Sustainability in the Department for Transport notes in its Recommendation 7 that ‘The Committee on Climate Change advice on the lowest-cost pathway to the UK’s 2050 emissions reduction target included an interim 2025 decarbonisation objective, which the transport sector is projected to miss by almost 50%. Transport is now the largest emitting sector; emissions have increased for the past two years running. We recommend the Department set out in the Government’s forthcoming carbon reduction plan how it intends to deal with this shortfall in decarbonisation. (Paragraph 32)’


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