High speed rail link is a missed opportunity

The Government's announcement of plans for the High Speed 2 rail link is a missed opportunity to tackle carbon emissions.

The project will cost an estimated £32 billion. Friends of the Earth believes this money could be better used to significantly improve our public transport system.

We agree that we need to increase the movement of travel away from roads and planes

But pumping this level of money into high speed travel for a wealthy few while ordinary commuters suffer is not the answer.

High speed rail has a role to play in developing greener, faster transport, but these plans don't go far enough to cut emissions overall.

Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth

Not on track

Even a fraction of this massive expenditure would rescue the 30,000 solar jobs threatened by Government cuts.

As part of the Right Lines Charter Group, we believe the Government should:

  • Test proposals rigorously to ensure they are sustainable.
  • Consult the public on all available options from the start.
  • Minimise adverse impacts during construction and operation. 

HS2 would be better for the environment if:

  • It linked to the Channel Tunnel rail link as soon as it opened.
  • More freight and passenger trains could use existing lines freed up by the extra capacity.
  • More rail passengers really meant less flights - and not new long-haul routes.  

Further information

The full briefing about our position on high speed rail is available here.