Can we afford not to build HS2?

We are a selfish nation. We expect to travel where we like,when we like. We want holidays abroad. We expect our supermarket shelves to be full of what we want when we want it. We want our online shopping and post delivered to our door on time, and despite decrying cheap foreign imports we still buy them. All these things have to be transported, distributed and delivered by road and rail.

Our population is increasing, car ownership and usage is increasing and many of our roads and railways are at or approaching capacity.

Last year Britain’s railways ran 24,000 trains daily and carried in access of 1.3bn (yes billion!) passengers. All this on a basically Victorian infrastructure which, thanks to Beeching, is several thousand miles less than in Edwardian times. HS2 is not just a matter of saving 40 minutes from London to Birmingham, it will continue to Manchester and Leeds and more importantly free up valuable capacity for both passengers and freight on existing railways in all these areas.

Can we afford to build it? More to the point can we afford not to?

Yes there will be disruption during construction, but within a very short time after completion, tunnels, deep cuttings and landscaped embankments will ensure that the line will blend into the countryside as do existing railways.

HS2 will take up very little area compared to motorways. How many acres of countryside have been engulfed by the modified Longbridge Island motorway junction for example?

As for noise, modern high speed trains are considerably quieter than their predecessors, and I would much rather hear the occasional train than the constant drone of motorway traffic! As for blight, are the villages of Harbury, Bishop’s Itchington, Fenny Compton, Claydon, Cropredy etc blighted by the prescence of an existing slower, noisier railway? Are their property values adversely affected?

Unless we are all prepared to stay put in our homes for 365 days a year, be self sufficcient in food, light and heat and go everywhere by foot or bicycle, we must continue to invest in our transport infrastructure to cater for increased population and mobility. I believe most people would agree with this, but unfortunately, most people would also insist that these improvements are made away from their area.

We need new and improved roads, railways and airports. We also need less pollution and less congestion on our existing transport systems.

I know which option is greener, less polluting and quieter. I also know which option I would prefer in my back yard! - Tony Poole, Mount Pleasant, Bishop’s Itchington.