Greens oppose High Speed 2

26 February 2011

Greens' conference vote says proposed high speed rail link would be "economically and environmentally unsound"


Today's Green Party conference in Cardiff came out overwhelmingly against the HS2 proposal for a Birmingham-London 250 mph train.

The Greens, who remain committed to genuine improvements in public transport, voted overwhelmingly to campaign against the HS2 project which goes to consultation on Monday, saying proposals currently on the table would be "economically and environmentally unsound."

The Green Party remains in favour of high speed rail in principle, but any project would need to meet strict criteria.

Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MP said:

"The Green Party is opposed to the current HS2 proposals. The economic case is unsound. The claims about reducing CO2 emissions are questionable to say the least. And the huge damage which would be caused to local communities and their environment would be unsustainable."

Transport expert and Green Party spokesperson on sustainable development Professor John Whitelegg said:

"The proposed HS2 trains would burn 50% more energy mile-for-mile than the Eurostar.

"HS2 would produce more than twice the emissions of an intercity train.

"HS2 is a ‘rich person's railway' - the business case assumes that a third of passengers will be on incomes of £70,000 or more.

"Everyone knows the Greens and passionately committed to social justice and to the environment. The current HS2 proposals would serve neither."

Speaking on behalf of the Greens in the West Midlands, Karl Macnaughton, an activist in the Chelmsley Wood area of Solihull, which is situated along the proposed route said

"So far, the Green Party is the only one of the four major parties in the region to come out against the current HS2 plans, which are set to bring massive disruption and would offer no significant benefit to those who would suffer most."

"What we need really need is huge investment in the regional bus, tram and train networks and only when local travel is sufficiently affordable and convenient would it make sense to look into any possible benefits from anything like HS2."

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