So HS2 goes ahead. I can only weep in despair at the absurdity of it. When improvements to local services are desperately needed we end up spending £100bn + on a white elephant in order to shave 20 minutes off the train times from Birmingham to London.
It’s much trumpeted environmental benefits will be cancelled out by the associated CO2 costs in construction. In addition any anticipated CO2 benefits will be further reduced due to the speed these trains will be going and the impact on aerodynamic drag from tunnels, cuttings etc. Then there is the question of connectivity issues with local transport networks, increased car use to get to HS2 stations and so on. Oh and have I mentioned that the new turbo-prop engines used on short flight routes are much more energy efficient than the jets that HS2 is compared to even now, let alone after the inevitable overruns and additional cost implications.
And then there is the more obvious, local environmental impact. HS2 will destroy or irreparably damage five internationally protected wildlife sites, 693 local wildlife sites, 108 ancient woodlands and 33 legally protected sites of special scientific interest, according to the most comprehensive survey of its impact on wildlife.
Swaths of other irreplaceable natural habitat will be lost to the new high-speed line, with endangered wildlife such as willow tit, white-clawed crayfish and dingy skipper butterfly at risk of local extinction. Source Guardian here: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jan/15/hs2-will-destroy-or-damage-hundreds-of-uk-wildlife-sites-report
Still at least we have people in charge with a good track record when it comes to public transport infrastructure projects.