We are a group of Green Party members and supporters who think that our opposition to HS2 should be changed, because:
- It’s inconsistent with our overall transport policy, particularly TR244 that supports a north-south high speed railway provided it doesn’t detract from local schemes or use excessive resources;
- It’s based on misunderstandings about the benefits of HS2 and the role it can play as part of a zero-CO2 future;
- It’s politically damaging: we are at odds with Green colleagues in Scotland and on mainland Europe who support high speed rail, while sitting uncomfortably in the same boat as the IEA, the TPA, UKIP and other dubious neo-liberal forces who have no interest in the public realm or sustainability;
- It’s absorbing campaigning energy which would be much better directed at the Government’s road-building programme RIS2, which is an order of magnitude more destructive to habitats, communities and well-being and which is a massive CO2 generator; and
- HS2 is being built and we aren’t going to stop it. We can, however, engage positively with it, recognising that if done right, it works towards our Green transport goals. We must campaign to ensure that:
- its route minimises degradation and erosion of natural habitats and respects nearby communities;
- it interacts in a positive way with its environment, using high-quality architecture and sensitive integration with landscape and townscape;
- anyone or any environment affected by its construction or operation impacts is fairly compensated using best-practice habitat enhancement and restoration and noise / access abatement;
- it is built and operated using the most carbon-efficient methods possible;
- its services and the public transport links to it are set up to encourage modal shift from cars and planes, rather than drive up transport demand, supporting our goal of less overall travel;
- the capacity it releases on the “classic” rail network is used primarily to improve commuter and inter-urban train services to and between hub towns in the North and the Midlands, and for freight services which would otherwise be carried by road;
- it integrates with high-capability links across the Pennines to support rebalancing of the national economy to the North;
- its fares are priced cheaply, to make it competitive with car and domestic air travel and so encourage shift away from these high-carbon modes of transport;
- local trains, buses, trams and active transport are integrated fully with HS2 stations so the car is not the default way to access them. This includes integrated end-to-end journey multimodal ticketing; and
- wider transport policy stimulates movement away from higher-CO2 transport modes, using frequent flyer levies, air fuel taxation and road charging.
We are not a formal organisation and have no constitution. We are loyal supporters of the Green Party and have no agenda other than to gauge and build support for a change to the party’s HS2 policy through the correct formal process. We are unaffiliated with any trade or corporate body and receive no consideration for our work.
Some of our supporters include:
Councillor dr rosemary sexton
Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council / Solihull Green Party
“When I stood for the leadership of the Green Party in 2020 I was often asked about my position on HS2, and I say now what I said then – if there’s a better way to enable the potential for modal shift at scale, throughout the country, then I’m happy to listen to it in detail. But no-one’s brought that to the table yet – a lot of what I hear us talking about is a wish list of half-formed ideas that haven’t seen expert input, which just undermines our claim to be a serious political force.
“Until that changes, I continue to rely on the advice of the rail industry experts I’ve spoken to, who all say that HS2 is a game-changer in terms of how we bring massive new capacity to our rail network – which is an essential part of hitting net-zero as quickly as possible.”
Trafford Green Party
“I am a member of Trafford Green Party, and the candidate for Greater Manchester Mayor.
“I was initially opposed to HS2, but read more around the subject and recognised how important this scheme is to improving transport and the environment nationally. I hate all destruction of habitats, and wish it could be achieved with none, but I have balanced this against the potential and actual loss to new roads and the ongoing impact more cars will have on the environment. (Views expressed here are my individual opinion, not endorsed by the GM parties or my campaign.)”
COUNCILLOR STEVE CAUDWELL
Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council / Solihull Green Party
“HS2 is clearly a hugely-divisive project and I can completely understand why many of our Party colleagues are opposed to it. It is – of course – undesirable to further deplete our natural capital, and whenever we do so it has to be under the most stringent scrutiny. I do that today in Solihull and we must continue to do so wherever the project affects either nature or people.
“But it remains true that additional rail infrastructure is essential to achieving modal shift – that means laying more track to move long-distance train services off of commuter lines so people get a real choice about getting out of their cars. I’m yet to see a compelling, cogent alternative proposal from either within or without the Green Party to obviate the evident need for HS2 as part of a national strategy to promote rail over road.”
TRAFFORD Green Party
“I come to Greens4HS2 as a lay person. For a long time I was sceptical of there being any need for the project, but doubts grew as I realised how little support there was from anyone actually working with railways for anything along the lines of the current GPEW policy, and that the party membership lacks sufficient understanding of the issue.
“The rail industry should be natural allies of the Green Party, as an integral part of how we can reduce carbon emissions. However, the Green Party position on HS2 doesn’t align with the realities of the industry or of the rail network we have, and I’m keen for the party’s policy on rail transport to have a full overhaul.”
Greenwich and Bexley green party
“I’m Chair of Greenwich and Bexley Green Party. I come to this from the perspective of how to identify leverage points in complex systems.
“Infrastructure is almost impossible to dislodge once in place, so it’s right that major projects get a lot of scrutiny and absolutely critical that good decisions based on sound evidence are made. Everyone understands that if we are locked into a car-centred transport future, our emissions are going to be colossal. HS2 is critical rail infrastructure that will create capacity on regular rail routes and provide the opportunity to dislodge a tremendous amount of carbon-intensive car and air journeys. It’s vital.”
northwest wales green party
“I am the elected chair of the Northwest Wales Green Party, and I sit on the policy development committee of the Wales Green Party.
“For work, I am a professionally accredited town planner, having obtained a Masters degree in Town and Regional Planning from the University of Sheffield, specialising in transport planning. I want to see public transport, cycling and walking prioritised over airport expansion and road-building.”
Manchester Green Party
“I have been a member of the Green Party for 11 years, mostly as a member of Manchester Green Party, holding various roles at local, regional and national level.
“I have a massive interest in transport policy, for two main reasons. Firstly, transport poverty is one of the biggest and most underestimated forms of poverty – lack of access to transport is arguably the biggest reason individuals are cut off from higher paid jobs. Secondly, if we are to defeat climate change we absolutely need to get people out of their cars and onto public transport or active travel – to do that we need major investment in our rail network and HS2 as well as other future high speed lines play a crucial role in achieving this.”
Brighton and Hove green party
“I am convener of the Green Party’s Tax & Fiscal Policy Working Group and was involved in helping to cost our ‘Green New Deal’ plans. These plans to reach net zero carbon include increasing rail journeys by 50%, so we can reduce car travel by 30% and air travel by 70%. That requires HS2, and the fact that no alternative has ever been produced tells us it is the only serious way forward.
“I don’t want us to be the only Green Party in Europe that opposes High Speed Rail.”
brighton and hove Green Party
“I’m a member of Brighton and Hove Green Party. I cannot drive a car, so I only use my bike and rail. I want to see a nationwide High Speed Rail network that is sustainable and cheap.”
Manchester Green Party
“I am a member of Manchester Green Party, a long-standing active travel campaigner and sustainable transport enthusiast.
“Professionally, I’m a creative technologist and software developer, and have worked on many large scale technology projects.”
Edinburgh Green Party
“I’m a member of Edinburgh Green Party, lifelong railway enthusiast, and an aspirant Town Planner.
“Over the last few years I’ve come to the conclusion that in order to come close to our climate goals, and to deliver a low-carbon transport network for the 21st century, HS2 is our only viable option.”
Guildford and Waverley Green Party
“I’m a member of the Guildford and Waverley Green Party and the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Guildford.
“HS2 is arguably one of the most important infrastructure projects in the UK in recent times. The Green Party rightly see the necessity for a large-scale modal shift to meet their climate change targets, but have found themselves arguing against one of the few projects that can deliver this. It is time The Green Party overhauled its transport policy and builds on the opportunity that HS2 provides in ending domestic air travel and freight.”
waltham forest and Redbridge Green Party
“I am an ex-FOE coordinator and housing manager, and I have been the Director of a disabled persons’ organisation.
“The GP has become credal and has lost touch with the gestalt. Humboldt knew this two hundred years ago. The HS2 fiasco to me appears to be about not understanding the whole and that change requires logical coherent steps. Rail needs a backbone, from which many other changes will cascade.”
bolton Green Party
“I am an Environmental Science student at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston. HS2 isn’t just a North-South rail link with the aim to shave 20 minutes of train times to Birmingham, it will improve the lives of millions of people allowing overall faster journey times, less delays and cheaper ticket prices.”
Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale Green Party
“I am a member and Co-Covener of Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale Green Party.
“For work I am an electrical engineer.”