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HS2 row refuses to go away

HS2 row refuses to go away

Ever since the decision to build a second high speed (HS2) rail link in the UK was first announced, there has been an incredible amount of debate about whether it represents a worthwhile investment of money.

The government, for its part, argues that the new link would help to ease overcrowding on other areas of the public transport network, while there is also the claim that it will provide a major boost to the country’s business community.

What’s more, there is also the fact that the large scale engineering project will lead to the creation of a huge number of jobs that will go some way towards reducing the UK’s unemployment issues.

However, criticism of the project has been overwhelming and, it would seem, refuses to die down, despite protestations from the likes of prime minster David Cameron and other senior members of the government.

This week, for instance, a number of Conservative Party figures have expressed concerns that the construction of another high speed line will increase the risk of flooding in certain parts of the country.

Principally, this is because the line passes through areas affected by the recent bad weather, running over miles of high-risk floodplains. Indeed, the route crosses more than 100 watercourses.

The Conservative minister for Europe, David Lidington, the MP for Aylesbury, is among those to have expressed his concern over the potential implications of the project.

"It is indisputable that both construction and operation will require farmland to be taken which for now soaks up surface water and which ought to act as natural flood protection for my constituents. People in this part of Aylesbury are sceptical about the assurances from HS2 that they will design in effective flood protection measures," he wrote.

However, a spokesman for HS2 has sought to diffuse the sense of unease by insisting that all the necessary steps have been taken to ensure that the project will not lead to further extreme flooding.

"During the recent wet weather we have been carrying out visual inspections where the planned line between London and Birmingham crosses watercourses. We will continue with these types of surveys where access has been made available as part of the route development," he commented.

"HS2 will be designed to remain operational during a one in 1,000-year flood event."

Meanwhile, the Woodland Trust, an environmental campaign group, has claimed that nearly 50 areas of ancient woodland will be lost or damaged due to construction of the new line. This is considerably more than was previously thought, they said.

HS2, however, has projected a figure of 19 after consultation with Natural England. And despite the claims of the Woodland Trust, the company that is ultimately in charge of the project says that it is standing by its original estimate.

Ultimately, the project will lead to the creation of a new line that runs between London and Birmingham by 2025, and to Leeds and Manchester by 2033.

However, for a clean, comfortable and hassle-free alternative to travelling on a commuter train, you may instead wish to consider getting to and from the office by coach.

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