HS2 Review ongoing

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Meerkat

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I think the Woodland Trust (of which I am a member) don’t think ancient woodland has to have ancient trees just have been woodland since ancient times. AIUI the old trees could have been replaced by conifers but they still regard it as recoverable, as the basic natural stuff is still in the soil and about on a small scale. They aren’t in a hurry to disabuse the man in the street from thinking ancient woodland means all ancient trees however.....
I reckon they are playing a bigger game - if you defend everything you raise the bar and save more.
The anti-HS2 lobby use the Woodland Trust as an attack angle and the Trust are happy with the increased publicity for their cause
 
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AlbertBeale

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I think the Woodland Trust (of which I am a member) don’t think ancient woodland has to have ancient trees just have been woodland since ancient times. AIUI the old trees could have been replaced by conifers but they still regard it as recoverable, as the basic natural stuff is still in the soil and about on a small scale. They aren’t in a hurry to disabuse the man in the street from thinking ancient woodland means all ancient trees however.....
I reckon they are playing a bigger game - if you defend everything you raise the bar and save more.
The anti-HS2 lobby use the Woodland Trust as an attack angle and the Trust are happy with the increased publicity for their cause

Are those in favour of HS2 the "pro-HS2 lobby"?
 

squizzler

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Are those in favour of HS2 the "pro-HS2 lobby"?
It seems to those of us that are broadly in favour of the HSR programme that the media establishment are waging a concerted campaign to discredit it. So a 'lobby' does not seem too far fetched.

Speculating a little here, much of the press that opposes HSR is the same as lobbying so aggressively for the UK to leave to the EU. Perhaps press owners such as Rupert Murdoch of Australia and Barclay Brothers of Brechou, Sark do not want the UK to embody it's wealth in the form of concrete and steel because fixed assets are too hard for their international elite chums to strip when they have got their puppet government in charge!
 

AlbertBeale

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It seems to those of us that are broadly in favour of the HSR programme that the media establishment are waging a concerted campaign to discredit it. So a 'lobby' does not seem too far fetched.

Speculating a little here, much of the press that opposes HSR is the same as lobbying so aggressively for the UK to leave to the EU. Perhaps press owners such as Rupert Murdoch of Australia and Barclay Brothers of Brechou, Sark do not want the UK to embody it's wealth in the form of concrete and steel because fixed assets are too hard for their international elite chums to strip when they have got their puppet government in charge!

Yes, I understand that argument, though it seems to me a bit over-conspricacist - and that's a rather sophisticated approach for the likes of the Murdoch press. (And anyway, I'm not sure that they benefit from the UK being in a worse situation.) But I also hear the argument that some mega-construction projects - like HS2 and the London "supersewer" - are motivated by international big business and major construction companies pushing for schemes that are better for the big corporations and their international money-shuffling, rather than a lot of smaller-scale schemes that would end up being more equitable economically as well as less negative environmentally. Perhaps those mega-construction companies are quite an effective pro-big-schemes lobby?

(And don't forget that there's plenty of opposition to the EU based on the way that it is itself so pro-corporate, pro-privatisation and so on.)
 

AlbertBeale

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PS - certainly the people opposing HS2 at its southern end around Euston have been the opposite of Murdoch-ite Telegraph-reading types!
 

mpthomson

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It seems to those of us that are broadly in favour of the HSR programme that the media establishment are waging a concerted campaign to discredit it. So a 'lobby' does not seem too far fetched.

Speculating a little here, much of the press that opposes HSR is the same as lobbying so aggressively for the UK to leave to the EU. Perhaps press owners such as Rupert Murdoch of Australia and Barclay Brothers of Brechou, Sark do not want the UK to embody it's wealth in the form of concrete and steel because fixed assets are too hard for their international elite chums to strip when they have got their puppet government in charge!


Meanwhile, back in the real world....

Seriously, any project that is publically funded in this way should have rigorous checks and balances, especially when the cost has risen by the amount shown before the first groundworks have been done. The financial case for it is by no means clear in terms of value for money when set against health, education, defence et al.
 

Ianno87

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Meanwhile, back in the real world....

Seriously, any project that is publically funded in this way should have rigorous checks and balances, especially when the cost has risen by the amount shown before the first groundworks have been done. The financial case for it is by no means clear in terms of value for money when set against health, education, defence et al.

I don't think anybody on this thread is suggesting that HS2 should be exempt from fair, reasonable, and proportionate scrutiny.

But some of the criticisms levelled against HS2 in this thread seem to then get conveniently forgotten about when promoting 'alternatives', where removing trees, acquiring homes, etc. are also required for 4 tracking the Chiltern Route, re-opening Skipton-Colne, or whatever.
 

DynamicSpirit

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Are those in favour of HS2 the "pro-HS2 lobby"?

Personally I would understand the "anti/pro HS2 lobby" would refer to those people and groups who are actively campaigning (or lobbying) either against or for HS2. So not simply people who hold views one way or the other. Not quite sure why you would ask that question.

Saying "lobby" instead of "campaigners" carries slight connotations of unethical behaviour, which I would say is justified when referring to most anti-HS2 groups because of the amount of dis-information that is put out by the various anti-HS2 groups.
 

158756

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This is nonsense. Ancient woodlands are nothing like as useful in carbon capture than newly planted trees. it is a scientific fact that trees absorb most of the carbon they will absorb in the first 30 or so years of life so planting younger trees along the route of HS2 will do far more good but why let facts get in the way of a good protest ?

But by destroying the old trees you have the whole lifetime worth of carbon released, so even though much will be recaptured in 30 years, the net effect will still be that less carbon is stored than today.
 

Tobbes

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I favour HS2, NPR and would be delighted if we got on with HS2 Phase 3 to the Central Belt. Hwowever, if we're going to have a review - and we are - then it is reasonable to leave the ancient woodlands (which I had always understood as woods that had not been clear felled in c 150 years, and therefore could be on their second growth of trees) intact until the review reports - it would be be obtuse in the extreme to clear the land and then cancel the project! Having said that, I expect HS2 Phases 1 and 2a to go ahead as planned, and Phase 2b to be integrated with NPR and rebadged appropriately.

From Radio 4 it suggested that Phase 1 would mean the demise of 34ha (85 acres) of ancient woodland - regrettable, but hardly the end of the world given the new planting and low carbon modal shift that a full HSR network will mean.
 

The Ham

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But by destroying the old trees you have the whole lifetime worth of carbon released, so even though much will be recaptured in 30 years, the net effect will still be that less carbon is stored than today.

Ancient Woodland doesn't equal old trees.

Ancient Woodland doesn't equal old trees.

Ancient Woodland doesn't equal old trees.

It is entirely possible to pass a road or rail line through an area of Ancient Woodland and not need to cut down any trees or only impact on trees which are a few years old.

Ancient woods are defined in the UK as areas that have been continuously wooded since 1600 Ancient woods have been used by humans for centuries, providing timber and grazing for livestock, it generally is land which is composed of native trees and shrubs, though it may have been previously managed.

As such it's to do with how long trees have been in existence on the land and not the age of the trees which are on the land currently.

Good practice is to transpose the soil to another site to try and minimise the risk of loss of biodiversity, although there's questions over how effective this practice is.

However I would argue that having a HS rail line passing through would then mean that it is a lot less likely that other development would happen on or near the remaining Ancient Woodland. I would also suggest that if HS2 focused their tree planting around the edges of the Ancient Woodland that by doing so it would provide more habitat for the biodiversity to exist in.

With HS2 providing green corridors along side it (i.e. the embankments) it is likely that it would provide a route for fauna to travel between areas of Ancient Woodland, this could allow flora to travel too.
 

Tobbes

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Ancient Woodland doesn't equal old trees.

Ancient Woodland doesn't equal old trees.

Ancient Woodland doesn't equal old trees.

It is entirely possible to pass a road or rail line through an area of Ancient Woodland and not need to cut down any trees or only impact on trees which are a few years old.

Ancient woods are defined in the UK as areas that have been continuously wooded since 1600 Ancient woods have been used by humans for centuries, providing timber and grazing for livestock, it generally is land which is composed of native trees and shrubs, though it may have been previously managed.

As such it's to do with how long trees have been in existence on the land and not the age of the trees which are on the land currently.

Good practice is to transpose the soil to another site to try and minimise the risk of loss of biodiversity, although there's questions over how effective this practice is.

However I would argue that having a HS rail line passing through would then mean that it is a lot less likely that other development would happen on or near the remaining Ancient Woodland. I would also suggest that if HS2 focused their tree planting around the edges of the Ancient Woodland that by doing so it would provide more habitat for the biodiversity to exist in.

With HS2 providing green corridors along side it (i.e. the embankments) it is likely that it would provide a route for fauna to travel between areas of Ancient Woodland, this could allow flora to travel too.
All good points.
 

swt_passenger

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Regarding areas of Woodland quoted, what exactly does “affected by” actually mean here? Is it affected by the sound of the railway passing by? Or is it’s view being spoilt? Have a corner cut off, a 10m wide strip through the middle, or laid to waste completely?

I think I’d like to see a comparison between the area taken up by the railway boundary, and this area that’s supposed to be ‘destroyed’ - according to some sources...
 

Meerkat

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However I would argue that having a HS rail line passing through would then mean that it is a lot less likely that other development would happen on or near the remaining Ancient Woodland. I would also suggest that if HS2 focused their tree planting around the edges of the Ancient Woodland that by doing so it would provide more habitat for the biodiversity to exist in.

Not necessarily so, plenty of bypasses and motorways have been used as an excuse to move the built up boundary outward, ‘filling in’.

With HS2 providing green corridors along side it (i.e. the embankments) it is likely that it would provide a route for fauna to travel between areas of Ancient Woodland, this could allow flora to travel too.

Connectivity is a massive drive for the wildlife charities. That isn’t helped by a wide, fenced, railway cutting through. Probably even worse with slab track.
 
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Andy Street - the West Midlands Mayor whose on the review board, has again stated this morning at the West Mids Rail Collaboration Conference in Birmingham (which I am at thanks to a passenger voxpop I did), that HS2 under the skyrocketed costs "isn't good enough", but states that the damage scrapping the project would do to the economic growth would be pretty large.

Clear hint things will still go ahead whenever the board will report, but something will have to give.
 

sprunt

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The financial case for it is by no means clear in terms of value for money when set against health, education, defence et al.

The budget for HS2 would be no more available for spending by other government departments than it would be available for alternative railway projects if HS2 didn't go ahead.
 

quantinghome

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Not necessarily so, plenty of bypasses and motorways have been used as an excuse to move the built up boundary outward, ‘filling in’.

But as the HS2 route generally avoids built-up areas (apart from the places it stops at obviously), so it's unlikely to be an issue.

Connectivity is a massive drive for the wildlife charities. That isn’t helped by a wide, fenced, railway cutting through. Probably even worse with slab track.

It depends. If the route is cutting right through the middle of woodland then it's an issue. If it is clipping the edge of a series of woods then extensive cuttings or embankments may actually provide a habitat corridor.
 

tbtc

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Re:
"...but how come the same stuff (about how we shouldn't be focussing on GDP and there are other unquantifiable things that are much more important things, y'know...) is never raised when other people are suggesting other rail projects?"

It's news to me that HST uniquely gets these comments - that's simply not true. It gets them more than many other infrastructure projects because it's so much larger than most other ones. I and others make much the same case about other schemes of comparable size and destructiveness. You don't see such discussion on this website for the rather obvious reason that this site relates to railways, and the HS2 plan is the one rail-related scheme of this size.

I suspect you might have noticed the controversy surrounding, eg, the third runway at Heathrow

HS2 gets criticised on here for lots of things (like the fact trees would have to be cut down, properties demolished, we'll all be using Skype in a few years time, it's not worth spending money just to save people a few minutes in journey time, we should spend it on Teachers/Nurses etc) that never seem to trouble people about proposed re-openings... have a look on the recent Skipton - Colne thread and see how many people were worrying about trees etc... there'll probably be some wibble about Matlock - Buxton soon with nobody worrying about the environmental damage that all the bulldozers would cause.

(and, as a railway forum, there's less focus on things like Heathrow, for obvious reasons)

Meanwhile, back in the real world....

Seriously, any project that is publically funded in this way should have rigorous checks and balances, especially when the cost has risen by the amount shown before the first groundworks have been done. The financial case for it is by no means clear in terms of value for money when set against health, education, defence et al.

I don't think anybody on this thread is suggesting that HS2 should be exempt from fair, reasonable, and proportionate scrutiny.

But some of the criticisms levelled against HS2 in this thread seem to then get conveniently forgotten about when promoting 'alternatives', where removing trees, acquiring homes, etc. are also required for 4 tracking the Chiltern Route, re-opening Skipton-Colne, or whatever.

I agree with Ian - the increasing costs and unquantifiable benefits are certainly not unique to HS2 - but how many people were suggesting that we abandon other projects before they were completed or arguing that the money spent on (e.g.) the Tweedbank line should have been spent on Nurses instead? Was there a point in the Chase electrification where people decided that it had got too expensive so why not spend the money on Teachers instead? Is the money for proposed TPE upgrade coming out of the budget for Social Services?

As long as you are planning on following the ancient lay-lines that our Victorian ancestors used then nobody will care about trees/ Nurses/ budgets etc - it's unquestionably good, as long as you stick to where a railway was a hundred years ago - but if you dare build any brand new lines then you are desecrating the countryside.
 

class26

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HS2 gets criticised on here for lots of things (like the fact trees would have to be cut down, properties demolished, we'll all be using Skype in a few years time, it's not worth spending money just to save people a few minutes in journey time, we should spend it on Teachers/Nurses etc) that never seem to trouble people about proposed re-openings... have a look on the recent Skipton - Colne thread and see how many people were worrying about trees etc... there'll probably be some wibble about Matlock - Buxton soon with nobody worrying about the environmental damage that all the bulldozers would cause.

(and, as a railway forum, there's less focus on things like Heathrow, for obvious reasons)

I agree with Ian - the increasing costs and unquantifiable benefits are certainly not unique to HS2 - but how many people were suggesting that we abandon other projects before they were completed or arguing that the money spent on (e.g.) the Tweedbank line should have been spent on Nurses instead? Was there a point in the Chase electrification where people decided that it had got too expensive so why not spend the money on Teachers instead? Is the money for proposed TPE upgrade coming out of the budget for Social Services?

As long as you are planning on following the ancient lay-lines that our Victorian ancestors used then nobody will care about trees/ Nurses/ budgets etc - it's unquestionably good, as long as you stick to where a railway was a hundred years ago - but if you dare build any brand new lines then you are desecrating the countryside.


The point that is lost on the public when they say we could build so many hospitals, employ so many nurses or teachers instead of HS2 is that HS2 is investment in permanent infrastructure, within reason there for all time. The money for nurses etc will run out and then what ?

Infrastructure enables the economy to be more efficient which then enables business to generate money and thus governments to tax which will pay for nurses , teachers etc

You simply must put in the infrastructure first otherwise slowly this country will not only grind to a halt but will be overtaken by many countries in productivity and efficiency so when an international business is looking where to locate it will NOT be the UK

The scheme may not be perfect but it is the one we have and it needs to be built.
 
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squizzler

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But by destroying the old trees you have the whole lifetime worth of carbon released, so even though much will be recaptured in 30 years, the net effect will still be that less carbon is stored than today.

If you look at the UK or other countries from the sky you will see a patchwork of fields with towns and motorways. Look more carefully and you might just pick out the railways. Land use is predominantly farming, and in addition to their land (in the long run it is all cleared woodland) the greenhouse emissions from livestock production is staggering. I hope all those talking about the loss of biodiversity and carbon emissions of the project have gone vegan.

Saving trees is important, and the big gain on offer to Humanity as a whole is the regeneration of the Amazon rainforest. Again, the main driver of its destruction, I gather, is for cattle ranching done by backwoods farmers. I hope everyone worrying about the loss of a few trees in the the UK knows where their Sunday roast joint comes from!
 

The Ham

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If you look at the UK or other countries from the sky you will see a patchwork of fields with towns and motorways. Look more carefully and you might just pick out the railways. Land use is predominantly farming, and in addition to their land (in the long run it is all cleared woodland) the greenhouse emissions from livestock production is staggering. I hope all those talking about the loss of biodiversity and carbon emissions of the project have gone vegan.

Saving trees is important, and the big gain on offer to Humanity as a whole is the regeneration of the Amazon rainforest. Again, the main driver of its destruction, I gather, is for cattle ranching done by backwoods farmers. I hope everyone worrying about the loss of a few trees in the the UK knows where their Sunday roast joint comes from!

Indeed, transport accounts for about 1/3 of our emissions. We need to make big changes to cut this. However those changes could make a big difference to the amount of CO2 released.

For instance if everyone reduced their travel emissions by 1/3 it would cut our overall emissions by 1/10.

What would that look like?
A lot more cycling and walking, certainly. However we'd also need to use rail a fair amount. Which means increasing the capacity of the railways.

Those who complain about HS2 emissions fail to grasp that I'd we doubled or rail usage which was part of what allowed us to reduce our car usage by 5% (that's the same as someone who does 10,000 miles a year, or 192 miles a week, reducing their car use by 10 miles a week) overall we'd have a lower transport emissions. Chances are those sorts of cuts could be achieved by a lot of people by doing a few long distance train trips a year, the very thing which HS2 careers for.
 

Mogster

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The point that is lost on the public when they say we could build so many hospitals, employ so many nurses or teachers instead of HS2 is that HS2 is investment in permanent infrastructure, within reason there for all time. The money for nurses ett will run out and then what ?

Infrastructure enables the economy to be more efficient which then enables business to generate money and thus governments to tax which will pay for nurses , teachers etc

You simply must put in the infrastructure first otherwise slowly this country will not only grind to a halt but will be overtaken by many countries in productivity and efficiency so when an international business is looking where to locate it will NOT be the UK

The scheme may not be perfect but ikt is the one we have and it needs to be built.

Yes. It seems most people don’t understand the difference between revenue and capital expenditure.

Then there’s the issues of scale and relative spending. 50bn is a massive quantity of cash but it would barely run the NHS for 4 months or the UK education system for 6 months.
 

hwl

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PS - certainly the people opposing HS2 at its southern end around Euston have been the opposite of Murdoch-ite Telegraph-reading types!
You seem to forget that BoJo's dad is one of those protesters and there is a very well connected (and funded) local anti lobby group* that prefer to work behind the scenes, *one of whom has even made it on the the review panel...
(JoJo couldn't have anything to do with HS2 while at DfT...)
 

Tetchytyke

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where removing trees, acquiring homes, etc. are also required for 4 tracking the Chiltern Route, re-opening Skipton-Colne

The difference, of course, is that Skipton-Colne exists as a trackbed.

As long as you are planning on following the ancient lay-lines that our Victorian ancestors used then nobody will care about trees/ Nurses/ budgets etc - it's unquestionably good, as long as you stick to where a railway was a hundred years ago - but if you dare build any brand new lines then you are desecrating the countryside.

Reusing an old trackbed doesn't damage the countryside because the damage was done already. Building a new line is very different.

one of whom has even made it on the the review panel...

So? A review panel should include a wide range of opinions, and not just be stuffed with pro-HS2 people in the pay of the big construction companies (who are the real drivers behind HS2 and stand to make a packet from it).
 

AM9

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... Reusing an old trackbed doesn't damage the countryside because the damage was done already. Building a new line is very different. ...
Here's a picture of a high speed line running through virgin countryside and the alternative is just next door as a comparison:


This is Hollingbourne between Maidstone East and Ashford. The road is 28 years old, - the railway 16 years, hence the different tree densities. So which one 'damages the countryside' the most?
 

GRALISTAIR

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------- is that HS2 is investment in permanent infrastructure, within reason there for all time. The money for nurses etc will run out and then what ?

Infrastructure enables the economy to be more efficient which then enables business to generate money and thus governments to tax which will pay for nurses , teachers etc .

This is exactly the point. Lets use round number. A generation is 25 years. Railways started 1825. 200 years ago plus the generations at the time have benefited from Victorian infrastructure. The same will be true for HS2. Spending on infrastructure benefits many future generations and the current ones. Spending on nurses is extremely limited. Generate the wealth and you then can employ more nurses etc.
 

MarkyT

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Reusing an old trackbed doesn't damage the countryside because the damage was done already. Building a new line is very different.
Not necessarily true if the old alignment has been abandoned for over half a century and has returned to nature, or perhaps has had some of its earthworks and structures removed with the land added to adjacent fields. In some places former alignments are barely visible in open fields. In others they are equally invisible but heavily built over.
 
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