Friday, April 08, 2011

Charities doubt green case for high-speed rail

High speed rail
The Government’s proposals for a high speed rail network will do little to reduce UK carbon emissions unless the plans are set out as part of a comprehensive, long term transport strategy for the UK, according to a group of a national charities.

A coalition of charities and lobby groups including Friends of the Earth and Civic Voice has published a charter setting out how the Government should proceed with plans for the HS2 rail network.

The charter claims that, at present, the Government’s HS2 proposals are "not part of any comprehensive long term transport strategy or nationally agreed priorities", while, in contrast, "all the other countries developing high speed rail are doing so within a national transport framework".

In particular, the charter says, this strategy should set out how transport schemes can help reduce rising carbon emissions. The document says: "High speed rail needs to be planned and justified as an element of a sustainable, near zero-carbon transport system."

Andy Atkins, executive director of Friends of the Earth said: "Carbon emissions from UK transport must be urgently cut – but the current HS2 proposals will do little, if anything, to help. The majority of planned HS2 journeys are relatively short, so the Government’s top priority should be to cut emissions from these trips. This means action to encourage greener travel and measures to reduce the need to travel for work or essential services."

And Doug Parr, policy director of Greenpeace UK, said: "Tackling transport emissions means an increase in rail capacity. High speed rail can only help if it’s in a proper policy framework which ensures people move from car and plane onto the train."

Read More

No comments: