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Sunday, 27 January 2019

Pull the Plug on HS2

There is yet another editorial in The Telegraph this morning (27th January) urging the government to abandon HS2.



Extracts:

It’s hard to imagine a more costly, unattractive combination guaranteed to infuriate British voters: HS2 plus onshore wind turbines. But, amazingly, tone-deaf officials are considering putting the two together. A strategy document seen by this newspaper proposes powering the High Speed rail line with wind farms lining the route. The document suggests prices be pre-agreed with energy firms – described by one analyst as a sweetheart deal – at rates that could lead to passengers and taxpayers paying what effectively amounts to a hidden wind farm subsidy...

HS2 is turning into a case of corporatism at its bloated worst. Its current budget is around £56 billion; it’s now feared that it could cost over £100 billion. The price tag, for example, of buying land between London and Birmingham has tripled in six years. Speaking in Parliament last week, Sir Terry Morgan, the former chair of HS2, said “everyone has their own guesstimate” of the final cost but “nobody knows, actually, the number”. HS2 is considering running fewer trains and – wait for it – at lower speeds to rein in the finances...

Full report:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2019/01/26/please-pull-plug-hs2/


A separate report in the same edition describes the new controversial wind farm plan.



Extracts:

Wind farms could be built along the route of HS2 in a major resurrection of onshore turbines in Britain, under confidential Government-commissioned plans. An official strategy document seen by The Sunday Telegraph proposes powering the controversial rail line using lucrative onshore wind farms spanning the equivalent of 19,000 football fields...

The document indicates that the move would require more land being purchased by developers along the route of the line, and could tip the scheme over its £56 billion budget.

The plan is likely to spark fury among MPs and residents who already fear the line will blight landscape...

The disclosure comes amid growing calls for the project to be scaled back or scrapped. Earlier this month The Sunday Telegraph revealed that HS2 Ltd, the Government-owned firm behind the scheme, had raised the possibility of slashing the number of trains in order to keep control over its budget...


It recognises that onshore turbines could lead to "a degree of resistance at the local level as onshore wind turbines have been considered an 'eyesore' by communities."

Full report:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/01/26/wind-farms-could-built-along-route-hs2-confidential-government/