case or cancel HS2" – Davies
PLANS to spend up to £50
billion on a high speed rail link between London and the North West
need to be thought afresh, said a North West MEP.
With costs of HS2 spiralling upwards, Chris Davies does not believe
the case has been made that the economic benefits outweigh the
His views are likely to land him in hot water with his Liberal
Democrat party which strongly supports the scheme.
The MEP previously supported the scheme, but says that his stance
has been altered by its increasing cost:- "There are many alternative ways of providing
our existing rail network with extra capaCity it needs, and they
could benefit a greater number of rail travellers. There are genuine
fears that business travel could fall due to the availability of
videoconferencing and improved technology. If that happens HS2 could
end up as a white elephant."
Davies is calling for the modernisation of the signalling system to
allow the Pendolino tilting trains to travel to London from
Liverpool, Manchester, Warrington and Preston at 140mph.
He wants new flyover junctions so that train paths are not blocked,
tracks to be widened at pinch points, longer passenger trains, the
re-opening of the former main line from Manchester through the Peak
District to the Midlands, and upgrading of other routes for freight.
Davies commented:- "Proponents of HS2 need to make a stronger
case for spending up to £50 billion on a new rail line when that
cash could be used to reduce the deficit or be spent on schemes that
will generate more jobs.
Housebuilding, research investment and the rail schemes I have
outlined could all generate more sustainable jobs in the long term
than HS2 at less cost and with less environmental damage.
I cannot support HS2 unless I see a more convincing set of figures
and another review of the alternative rail improvements that could
be achieved for the enormous sums of money involved."
The MEP is inviting people to vote on his
website for the ways in which they
would like to see the money allocated for HS2 spent. Email your
views on the High Speed 2, to our news room email address att:-
Mayor sets up
THE Mayor of Liverpool, Joe
Anderson, has set up an independent commission to look at
environmental issues facing the City.
The Environmental Sustainability commission will review how the City
is preparing for when resources will be in scarcer supply and when
quality of place will be a key determinant of economic development;
identifying how the City's environmental assets can enable the City
to compete in a changing global market.
It will be chaired by Professor Nigel Weatherill, Vice Chancellor
and Chief Executive of Liverpool John Moores University.
Mayor Anderson said:- "Climate change presents us all with a
series of tough challenges and nowhere will be immune as the world's
resources get scarcer. We need to examine the likely impact on
Liverpool and how we can best prepare for that.
However, while there are huge challenges there is also a great
potential for developing green industries in Liverpool and I have
asked the commission to look at how the City can best develop low
carbon initiatives to give us a competitive advantage in the coming
years. This commission will be completely independent. They will get
the views of a wide variety of people in both the public and private
sector before making recommendations for action."
Professor Nigel Weatherill said:- 'I am delighted to be asked
to chair the commission on what is such an important topic. I think
this initiative, established by the Mayor, demonstrates his
commitment to ensuring that Liverpool is at the forefront of the
debate on environmental sustainability and is keen to guarantee that
the City is best placed to capitalise on future opportunities'.
Among the issues to be considered by the commission is how best the
City can use its environmental assets such as the River Mersey and
the City's science and research capability to gain a competitive
It will also advise on the potential for new industries in the eco
and environmental sector and examine how low carbon initiatives can
be aligned with the Mayor's agenda for growth.