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Better local transport, not HS2

Supertram at Norfolk ParkDear Editor

Paul Blomfield MP is not representing the views of his constituents when he campaigns for the new High Speed trains to be routed through the middle of Sheffield. Central constituents do not want the roar of 250mph trains on their doorsteps or their houses demolished to make way for them. Many will not be able to afford the fares on a service designed to get business people to London a bit quicker. Do we really need this in the age of superfast broadband and worldwide internet conferencing?

The Green Party wants massive investment in the railways, but our top priority would be to improve local transport. Imagine what could be done with a fraction of the £32,000,000,000 planned to be spent on this scheme. We could extend Supertram now so it links the hospitals to the city centre and the suburbs, reducing the need to drive. We could improve the currently appalling conditions on overcrowded commuter trains with more carriages and new engines.We could invest in “safe routes to school” and 20mph limits in residential areas to stop our children being killed on the road. We could re-open stations like Heeley, giving more people easy access to the rail network. We could create cycle networks, separating bikes and cars as they do in Holland, making cycling a safe, attractive choice.

Graham Wroe 20's plentyLet’s get our priorities right and invest in transport that will improve all our lives and reduce our CO2 emissions.

Yours

Graham Wroe
Sheffield Green Party

Topics: Central, Featured, Transport

There are 16 Responses to Better local transport, not HS2

31st January 2013

The whole point in HS2 is to take express trains off the existing lines, enabling them to be used for extra local, commuter and freight services. This will remove cars and lorries from the roads, and the speed gains of HS2 trains should take short haul planes out of the sky.

Rail travel is among the greenest of practical options and should be welcomed, not opposed.

1st February 2013

Considering the number of business flights currently flying from London to cities such as Edinburgh, Leeds, Newcastle and Glasgow which will all be served by HS2, I’d have thought the Green Party would be endorsing it. At the end of the day, if a few business people choose to take the train instead of flying that will have a far more beneficial effect on our CO2 emissions than reducing the number of cars in Sheffield city centre. That’s how terrible flying is, and how important it is to make rail as viable an alternative as is possible.

2nd February 2013

She is correct about re-nationalisation and affordability but does the party a disservice by failing to sound more broadly enthusiastic.

Rail is at the heart of a sustainable future and failing to welcome it makes it all the easier for the average voter to conflate voting Green with being a Luddite.

2nd February 2013

Re HS2, picked up online a bit of confusion that the Green’s are not ecstatic about the new train, but as Graham, and Natalie in her article explains, its not as straightforward as it may seem.
We do have a desperate need for better, regular, safe local public transport. I lived for a while near a tram and was able to use it a lot, really missed it when I had to move. I think we need more Tram links now, for those of us who need to use public transport and to entice people out of their cars. I may be wrong but personally think trams are more likely to do that than busse’s. I’d like to be able to rely on a bus turning up, not currently possible, and better information at bus stops. That’s before you begin to talk about safer roads for cyclists. Ive forgotten how long its going to take for this train to be in use, is it 20 years ? By then expect the possibilities of internet conferencing will be much more advanced, will people even consider traveling to meetings, in the way we do now. Difficult to predict the future. When I was young we were promised that by 2000 robots would be doing housework, we would all have too much leisure and would be wearing some advanced version of crimpoline. Mmmm. So, whilst I’m not against this train, I don’t think it meets our travel needs in the way its billed as doing.

3rd February 2013

And I would have thought Greens would have welcomed HS2 as well. More investment in Public Transport is one of the Central Planks of Green philospophy? I do think we nedd more and better local transport schemes like the proposed tram/train hybrid to Rotherham. I do like the idea of more local trains to places like Dore, but if there is now a plan for a tram link going out that way that could be even better. IF HS2 means fewer Car Journeys, fewer plane journeys and frees up railway lines for more local services isn’t that good? I speak as a daily tram user and someone who uses busses and trains as well to go walking and visit friends.

    3rd February 2013

    Hi, was going to say “as well” would be great, but we have been told, there is no money for “as well” Then I read the article posted by Graham, I didn’t know a lot about this. Its a fairly devastating report, “the scheme is being put forward in the name of progress but what kind of progress is it that goes back on the protection of the local enviroment” “transport that destroys ancient woodlands cannot be called “green”.
    As Graham says Natalie Bennett is arguing for a lower design speed which would mean the route could be slightly more flexible and have slightly less of an impact.I was fairly positive about this train, though thinking there are far better ways to spend such a huge amount of money. Now am not sure if I support it at all, clearly need to read up more on the negative aspects.

Profile photo of Graham Wroe
3rd February 2013

Simon and Henry, you are of course entitled to your opinions, and the Green Party is very broad. Some members will no doubt agree with you. However, please read tomorrow’s Independent and consider the damage this scheme will do.
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/ios-investigation-hs2–the-hidden-cost-to-britains-wildlife-8478609.html
As you can see Natalie is arguing to reduce the speed slightly so that the worst of the damage could be avoided. There is no way the Greens could support such destruction.

    3rd February 2013

    Hi Graham, thanks for posting this, its fairly shocking, I had no idea the enviromental damage could be so great. Assume there will be others like Natalie pushing for a slower design speed, wonder if this will be listened to. Does seem from the article as if even those who fully support have doubts. Please post anything else useful you see about this. I will as well.

    4th February 2013

    I’m quite sure that the wildlife threatened by HS2 is some of the most legally protected flora and fauna on the face of the Earth. Damage will be mitigated as much as possible. Perhaps a position that allows us Greens to both support the development of rail and defend environmentally sensitive areas would be to lobby hard for the like-for-like creation of newer, larger, areas of habitat?

    I am a Green party supporter because of the threat of climate change, but I do often feel alienated by the more extreme majority(?) of the party, whose alarm at seemingly *any* new development will leave us unable to embrace new technologies and avert climatic disaster.

    As no other party adequately grasps even the problem, I am not going withdraw my support on this point any time soon. The only thing I can really do is be patient and speak up for the Green-centrist position :)

      4th February 2013

      Hi, I think the point is damage won’t be “mitigated”, it may be to a degree if they accept a slower speed which means the line can be more flexible. You are quite right about campaigning to save wildlife ect. and I hope there will be people doing that, but, sadly there is so much else to campaign about such as “save our NHS” all the issues around DLA/PIPs not to mention all the other proposed cuts, so whilst I wont be campaigning against the train, I wont be campaigning for wildlife either, unless there is a quick petition online. Just not enough time or energy for everything that needs doing.
      Anyway, I don’t think people do get alarmed at new developments really, but as with the train things are never as simple as they seem. but appreciate your concern re climate change of course, now that does terrify me. Do you know about S.C.A.C (Sheffield Campaign against Climate Change) ? Might be of interest if not.

9th February 2013

This Train line is not needed. people don’t need to travel faster. Many of the old local train lines and tram routes were converted to use as roads and could easily be converted again in the future, so there is scope for local networks to be reformed.The UK road network is robust enough to convert to a multitude of different uses without the need for invasive building of new systems. we should look at changing how people work and slow down to a steadier pace of life. If the new route causes destruction of protected habitats, this is unacceptable and it must be prevented. Not only to protect all the species in those areas but to ensure our protection laws have a robust standing. other wise anyone would be able to use this example to get what they want , ‘in the name of progress’. If an area has protection for a good reason we need to believe that protection will remain as long as the reason for it remains.

Profile photo of Graham Wroe
11th February 2013
Profile photo of Graham Wroe
15th February 2013
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