Responding to High Speed Rail, the report of the inquiry into high speed rail from the Transport Select Committee, Richard Hebditch, Campaign for Better Transport’s campaigns director, said:
“We’ve always said that high speed rail could be part of the solution for improving the transport network but that it shouldn’t be at the expense of investment in the rest of the rail network.
“As the Committee points out, HS2 has to be part of a comprehensive transport strategy so that it can play a role in cutting carbon and regenerating local economies in the Midlands and the North.
“The Government must set out in such a strategy how they will reduce the cost of low carbon transport like rail and make sure new stations are in the heart of cities rather than parkway stations outside city boundaries.
“At the moment Ministers seem to be using HS2 as a proxy for a national transport strategy, rather than facing up to the tough choices that developing a comprehensive strategy would entail.
“Journey time savings have been key to the Government’s case for HS2 but MPs are right to point out the flaws in relying on this. This is even more of an issue for road projects, with tiny savings used to justify damaging and costly road schemes.
“Basing decisions on transport projects on a simplistic value from time savings is not the way to plan a transport network that supports strong local economies and helps cut carbon emissions.”