Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Right Way for High Speed Rail (19/10/11)

Ramblers supported a reception for MPs and Peers last night to promote the 'Right Lines Charter', a charter for doing High Speed Rail well. Alongside twelve other organisations including the RSPB, the CPRE, the Campaign for Better Transport, and the Woodland Trust, we were arguing that the Government's present High Speed 2 (HS2) proposals and consultation are unsound.

There are four key principles which the organisations believe High Speed Rail should comply with: (i) it should be set within the context of a national strategy; (ii) different options should be tested; (iii) there should be early public participation; (iv) adverse impacts should be minimised.

People have different views about High Speed Rail - personally, I support it as a way of persuading people out of their cars - but the current proposals are flawed.

One example of where we think they fall short are the proposals (or lack of them) for rights of way. There is a huge discrepancy (in the order of almost 6:1) between the number of rights of way that the Ramblers knows cross the proposed line (150), and the number claimed by the HS2 company (27). Many walking routes will be severed, and it's clear that this hasn't even been identified as a serious problem, let alone acted upon. It is no good the government and the HS2 company seeing rights of way as an afterthought.

For more information on the Right Lines Charter, visit

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