Press Release for immediate release
Contact Joe Peacock: email@example.com 0121 6326909
With today’s announcement of the government’s support for High Speed Rail plans to proceed to the next stage of development, Birmingham Friends of the Earth raise serious questions over the impact locally.
The environmental campaigners are extremely concerned that without investment into more local rail and mass transit schemes, gridlocked roads and air pollution will remain a feature of the city.
Birmingham Friends of the Earth campaigner, Joe Peacock, asked “Is it more important to get to London quickly than to get from the suburbs into the city centre?
“It can take longer to get from some parts of Birmingham where there are no stations to Eastside where the HS2 station is planned than it will get to London by rail. If there’s extra traffic going to another 1000-space car park there, how do they expect anyone to be able to travel around the city?
“What would make Birmingham an attractive place to live and work is a proper integrated transport system to allow people to move around without getting stuck in traffic jams.
“The majority of trains will not even come in to Birmingham as they’ll just go to the Interchange station – with its 7000-space car park unconnected to existing rail lines and located by one of the most congested bits of motorway in the country. This is not a sensible way to plan low carbon transport.”
Notes For Editor:
Birmingham Friends of the Earth is an environmental campaigning organisation, who run campaigns on transport, energy & climate change, planning, waste and recycling.www.birminghamfoe.org.uk
The High Speed 2 scheme’s environmental impact assessment showed that it will be broadly neutral in carbon terms (DfT ‘High Speed Rail – Summary of Sustainability Appraisal‘). This is because although it will take some passengers away from more carbon intensive domestic flights, it will generate many new journeys and will take passengers away from existing – less carbon intensive – conventional rail services (84% of passengers on the new line will be new trips or from conventional rail,March 2010 Command Paper, p92).http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk+/http:/www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/pi/highspeedrail/commandpaper/).
Friends of the Earth is part of the Right Lines Charter group, which believes the Government’s High Speed Rail consultation and detailed High Speed 2 proposals are unsound at present the process and proposals for High Speed Rail should comply with four principles:
National strategy: High Speed Rail proposals need to be set in the context of a long-term transport strategy stating clear objectives.
Testing the options: Major infrastructure proposals, such as High Speed Rail, need to be ‘future-proofed’ by comprehensive testing against different scenarios. This will help identify the best solutions for genuinely furthering sustainable development.
Public participation: Early public involvement in the development of major infrastructure proposals, including High Speed Rail, is essential. People need to be involved when all options are open for discussion and effective participation can take place.
Minimising adverse impacts: High Speed Rail proposals need to be designed from the start to avoid significant adverse impacts on the natural environment, cultural heritage and local communities (including biodiversity, landscape, tranquility and access) during construction and operation.