HS2 and binary politics … could we do it better?

At the current estimated cost of £100billion, we could pave the way from London to Manchester with £10 notes end to end, and each £10 note would have another 3,999 underneath every top one. (335km and 132mm for those that like the maths).

£40,000 in piles of £10 pound notes end to end for over 200 miles. The Great Train Robbery wasn’t just in the 1960s.

And that is before we examine in any detail the environmental impact, expecially on biodiversity (our wildlife).

But HS2 has become a binary issue – people must be either wholly in favour or wholly against.

The HS2 design is already an old technology, using a continuous solid concrete ‘floor’ underneath the track. Making concrete is awful for CO2 emissions. But yes we do need additional rail capacity in and around the north of England, north-south and east-west.

Is there a more nuanced view possible on HS2 – with smarter, modern engineering which isn’t all about bulldozers and concrete – and looking at rail solutions as coming from networks rather than single lines?

But I fear at the moment politically, that anyone who tries for a non-binary position will be eaten alive as a traitor by both sides.

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