High Speed Rail In The UK

March 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

“Don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good.”

That was the catchphrase at Cancun at the end of last year, and I wonder whether the same principle doesn’t apply to High Speed Rail in the UK.

Bright Green has two great articles giving you the pros and the cons, and for me – it has to be something I get behind. High Speed (HS2) is perhaps one of the wedge issues between those who envisage a hunker-down/local economy/apocalypse scenario, and the (naively?) hopeful/positive globalisation/renaissance vision held by others. I can’t put myself entirely on either side – but with the information I have, I’m convinced I want to see HS2 as part of a sustainable future.

Some brief rebuttals to the cons piece;

  • Carbon emissions may not be wildly below flying – but that does not take into account where the emissions are released. Aviation emissions have up to three times the climate impacts as ground level emissions.
  • These measures assume the current electricity mix remains the same. That obviously cannot be allowed to happen. As we green Britain’s energy supply, we green HS2.

I have real concerns around the justice/planning issues, and there is a compelling case to focus first on the more urgent capacity issues. But to that challenge I would say – do both!

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