Latest Rail News

07.01.11

Two million trees for high-speed rail route

Millions of trees will be planted to shelter homes from the proposed HS2 line between London and Birmingham.

The Government is expected to announce today that the 2m trees will deaden the noise, keep the trains from view and boost the local ecology.

Transport secretary Philip Hammond said: “I am determined that we will do everything possible to try and reduce the impact of the line, including extensive woodland planting to screen the railway.”

He called high-speed rail “vital to our future” and promised that it would boost growth, but acknowledged the fears of people living near the proposed route.

The line has wide industry and political support nationally, but is facing vociferous opposition in many of the constituencies it passes through, from both locals and MPs. If construction goes to schedule, services will begin running on the £17bn project in 2025.

Campaigners opposing the construction of the line welcomed the tree-planting announcement, but said it nowhere near made up for the impact of the scheme, which they say is expensive, unnecessary and will blight the countryside.

Rail commentator Christian Wolmar has come out against the line, writing on his website: “Despite my residual railwayphilia, I remain unconvinced that the case for the high-speed line has been made in terms of either the economics or the environment.”

For expert comment and analysis on the economics of HS2 from leading industry consultants and independent academics, see the Dec/Jan edition of Rail Technology Magazine. Subscribe at www.railtechnologymagazine.com/Subscribe.aspx

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

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