Today’s decision to ignore the Institute of Economic Affairs, various wildlife groups and plain common sense to go ahead with a vanity project of staggering proportions beggars belief. What’s worse, the IEA estimates every taxpayer will have to fork out £1000 for the privilege – before they set foot on a platform.
The Netherlands has just bailed out its existing high speed network. Some of our nation’s largest corporates already have restrictions on the number of train journeys executives can bill for and told them to use the internet and video links to do business. Yet we’re pressing on with this flawed, countryside-eating project. Why not plough £34billion into better broadband technology and benefit the whole nation instead of putting the equivalent sum into a fixed point-to-point transport system that needs to be got to before it can be got on? Why not spend the money improving an existing service and rail system, instead of chucking them to one side like an old mobile phone going into landfill?
Our country has the gall to cry foul when a growing economy in a vast country like Brazil carves roads through the rainforests, yet we have less economic need, more existing transport infrastructure and live in a nation that is tiny in world terms and still we consider an environment like the Chiltern Hills to be disposable.
The High Speed 2 system being built will be out of date by the time it is in full use and our children, already saddled with the costs of university, failed banking and a national debt that makes their eyes pop, will judge us for its environmental and financial impact.