‘HS2 Floods the Home Counties’ – Could this be a headline of the future?

In light of the winter floods, fears are increasing that the proposed High Speed Rail Link connecting the North of the country to London – so beloved by many of our political heavyweights – is highly likely to increase the levels of flooding that have so beset the country over the last few months.

The proposed route cuts through areas which have been very badly affected by flooding, cutting across flood plains which will significantly affect the flow of rainwater run-off and require the diversion of some 7 rivers.

According to David Lidington, who is the Europe Minister and the Tory MP for Aylesbury

“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 a 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 prevention measures.”

An HS2 spokesman said:

 “HS2 will be designed to remain operational during a one in one thousand year flood event.”  

We asked one of our Directors – an experienced Chartered Surveyor who knows the area well – to provide some insight. Bunbury commented:

“Any construction on flood plains should be avoided where possible.  We also remain sceptical about the actual benefits of HS2 which appear too insubstantial to convince most independent people that a true long-term economic benefit would be best achieved by its creation.  It is a large headline grabbing political investment.

‘So much money being spent on a fast link to Birmingham that stops outside Birmingham when there is a train that arrives a few minutes later at New Street from where you can walk to the central business district appears illogical

“Are the relatively minor travel time gains to certain places and the North really that economically advantageous? It is often quicker to fly. The Scottish question means the last two major cities eventually connected (Edinburgh and Glasgow) may not even be in the country that is paying for the infrastructure. 

‘For the same economic cost we could pay the budget deficit for a year, reduce the National Debt or build several large scale Hydro Electric Schemes to help power the country – whilst there may be some benefit to HS2, would the money not be better spent elsewhere?.”

LCB / SRJ                                                                                                      26.03.14

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