Green Party: Scrap HS2 and finance a local transport revolution

The project looks like it will cost upwards of £88 billion.

The Green Party has renewed calls for High Speed Railway 2 to be scrapped in favour of “a local transport revolution.”

Talking on Sky News, Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley said that that the new rail line, which would link 21 destinations including York, Leeds, Birmingham, and London, would cause more damage than it is worth. 

“I think we should scrap it. Pull the plug, there’s no point pouring good money after bad,” Bartley said.

“It would destroy dozens of ancient woodlands and precious biodiversity. Concrete over large areas of the countryside. It wouldn’t be carbon neutral by HS2’s own admission for 120 years. You can’t do it in the face of a climate emergency.”

When HS2 was first announced, it was only intended to cost £33 billion. However, over the years, costs have continued to rise, and it’s now believed the project will cost at least £88 billion. 

To put that in perspective, that’s nearly as much as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ net worth. 

Instead of pouring billions into the project, Bartley argued that the money should be invested into the current rail system in the UK and bring it up to modern-day standards. 

“It’s not something that will help decarbonise the economy, so let’s take that money and invest it in a local transport revolution, upgrading lines all around the country, electrifying lines, decarbonising, providing that additional capacity to give people the choice to make that commute in a way that will work,” he said. 

Bartley, who is standing for Dulwich and West Norwood in the upcoming election, added that the money saved in scrapping HS2 could also help to lower the cost of public transport.

“We want to cut fares. Fares for trains and busses have gone up while fares for cars and flights have come down over the last thirty years. We’ve got to change that,” he said. 

Meka Beresford is a freelance journalist. Follow her on Twitter.

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2 Responses to “Green Party: Scrap HS2 and finance a local transport revolution”

  1. Patrick Newman

    You are looking at a £100bn estimated cost now before any real work has commenced. It is very disappointing that the Labour Party continues to support this Osborne vanity project. The review was carried out by Douglas Oakervee, a former chairman of HS2Ltd. Its deputy chair, longstanding HS2 sceptic Lord Berkeley, said last week he had been sidelined. Well of course! What is clearly hinted at is the projected costs soon to reach £100bn and not one sleeper laid. Why the Northern Powerhouse Partnership should support HS2 when there is no commitment to the Northern Cross route nor to extending lines north of Manchester and Leeds is astonishing. The Northern Power Houses have betrayed their populations by not withholding their support until they get a clear commitment and funding earmarked (it will be at least £50bn) for the cross route which arguably is more useful to the North than HS2.

  2. Gary

    The stated intention of this project was to have a high speed line between London and Glasgow reducing the travel times and encouraging both trade and tourism.

    This is patently untrue. If it WAS true then why not start at BOTH ends, it will take decades for this to get, if it ever does, to Glasgow. They certainly had no intention to improve cross country links in the north of England either. The real intention is to get better rail links coming IN to London from the surrounding areas. And for that the entire country is expected to dig deep. You won’t feel any benefit, probably will cost you business, but you’ll be paying for something that benefits London ONLY. Similar to Crossrail, benefitting only local commuters in their ddaily travels but the whole UK has to pay for it.

    Transport links in the capital are the most heavily subsidised in the country. It allows London, and the rich multinationals based there, to suck at the teat of the British taxpayer yet again!

    transport links nation wide SHOULD be improved, rail travel should be subsidised to encourage people to stop using cars so much too. This government has no interest in that. Nice contracts for their friends, better rail links for their donors too.

    How stupid do they think we are? Well, we MUST be stupid, we keep voting the Tories in!

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