More infrastructure

The government will want to step up the pace of providing more homes, roadspace, rail capacity, electricity generation, broadband and other essentials for economic growth and industrial recovery. They may also allow a bit more borrowing at current very low rates to speed it up. There are plenty of schemes we require and networks we need to strengthen.

Meanwhile the incoming government has to make some very tough calls on three blockbuster projects that the pervious government favoured. Do they want to build Hinkley? Should HS 2 go ahead?Will they permit a new runway at Heathrow?

The business case for HS2 is the worst of any I have  seen. Hinkley poses issues over timetable, the costs of the power and security. Heathrow arouses considerable environmental objections though the business case is much stronger than the other two. All have considerable political and other downsides  from cancellation and entail writing off considerable  outlays and upsetting co investors . In each case there would need to be other answers to general transport and energy capacity matters, and efforts to replace the lost work.

I have my own views on what should be done. I invite you to give me your thoughts on these big three decisions.


  1. Margaret
    August 20, 2016

    I cannot see the point of HS2. It will provide short term employment whilst established , but then what. Don’t we need to stop people travelling to London for everything and widen our business centres to places like the north east.

    Can we actually afford energy at double the price for less than 20 % of the output.

    Heathrow has its own problems, but like everything else add more capacity and it will be filled.

    If there are houses to be built I hope they will demolish others and only build in the existing black spots.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 20, 2016

      Perhaps one of that daftest most wasteful things about the UK planning system is the way people often have to demolish a perfectly good house in order to be permitted to build a new one. Why not keep both and get two houses (for less than the price of one, less as you do not have the demolition costs)? The UK is, after all, rather short of houses.

      At least get rid of this government inspired pointless destruction of much needed houses. Make it a condition of planning that the old house is retained, done up and then occupied instead.

      1. bigneil
        August 20, 2016

        As Margaret says ” but like everything else add more capacity and it will be filled. ” – exactly the same with housing. Build/fill/build/fill. Who – or what – are they being filled with. (Migrants ed) purely coming for a rise in living standards, which they won’t be paying for. A financial, social and cultural burden, who will be ( and already are) reproducing at a bigger rate than us. Why? – because they are paid to, due to benefits. While English couples have to choose between buying a house and having children, the human imports have their costs paid for out of the taxes of the very people who have to choose.

        1. rose
          August 20, 2016

          In our city we have indigenous people living in tents while the council has housed 10,000 people originally from an African nation who have come in on EU passports from the Northern welfare states. You would think the Danes, Swedes, Finns, and Dutch were generous enough, but apparently we are more so. The size of their families qualify them for instant help over natives who are more provident.

        2. Lifelogic
          August 21, 2016

          “add more capacity and it will be filled”! Well yes that is what what they are for, living in. There would not be much point in building houses no one wanted. People need to live somewhere more supply means cheaper housing and a more competitive economy.

          The same argument was used for roads by the green loons – “build more road and cars and trucks will just use them even more”. Indeed that is what roads for get from A to B.

      2. Hope
        August 20, 2016

        The U.K. is not short of houses, it has an in sustainable mass immigration policy that the public voted to cut by leaving the EU. What has been or is now going yo be done to fulfil the Tory manifesto pledge or leave EU pledge? Any plans to date? May presided over the worse immigration record in history, what is the plan JR? After all, infrastructure is based on population need. Any clue as to what the predicted numbers might be? The deceit and lies by the Tory party is staggering. Two months on after the vote we should have some strategy to cut the numbers to plan infrastructure and public spending. Alternatively will we get more lies from May such as our borders are secure?

      3. rose
        August 20, 2016

        And remove VAT on renovations of old houses.

        1. Lifelogic
          August 20, 2016

          Get rid of the appallingly complex EU VAT regime completely and just have a sensible, simple, low, sales tax. Yes also have level pitch between new build or renovation. Taxes should be low, simple and fiscally neutral. Pretty much the opposite of the foolish Osborne agenda.

      4. Margaret
        August 20, 2016

        Removing slums is not the most daft thing . On the contrary it allows new sewage pipes, gas mains, to be put in place and lightens the area, however houses that are fit for renovation should be renovated. There are too many houses blocked up with rats etc running around. Whilst we want more houses , we don’t want overcrowding.

        1. rose
          August 20, 2016

          Overcrowding is what we have got, thanks to decades of irresponsible mass immigration which only eased off under the Conservatives in the eighties and nineties. These islands can support a population of about 30-35 million, which is still 7 times a Nordic population. We were heading down to that nturally when we were at 55 million in the fifties – until the crarzy policy was introduced by short termist Macmillan. Now, according to Lord Green and Chris Grayling, we need to build 25 extra cities, just to accommodate the newcomers. They won’t be built in Scotland or Wales because that is not where people want to be, so England it is, as usual. The recipient of the world’s surplus populations.

        2. Lifelogic
          August 21, 2016

          I was not referring to “slums” but perfectly habitable houses that planning will allow only to be knocked down & replaced, but not to be retained and built next to.

    2. Ann Wills
      August 22, 2016

      Instead of putting all that money into HS2, why don’t they put the money into improving the transport system we already have. Some could be put into Transport for London which suffers many signal failures causing delays and causing passengers to miss appointments and be late for work. HS2 will cause road disruption, traffic jams and pollution, with heavy diesel lorries going past people’s houses.

  2. Lifelogic
    August 20, 2016

    HS2 and Hinckley C clearly make no economic sense at all. Heathrow yes and one a Gatwick too (by the time they are finished they will both be needed). Also a better HS 15 minute shuttle line between the two airports round (or perhaps above) the M25. Also cancel all the absurd tax payer grants for so called “renewables” (or rather the very expensive and unreliables). When (and if) these bird and bat killers, ever do make any economic sense they will need no grants nor laws forcing distributors to use the power they sometimes generate.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 20, 2016

      It seems Theresa has broken off from her pole walking in Switzerland, alas this is only to ensure that she gets the chance to celebrate Team GB’s medal tally (and for her to bask in reflected glory one assumes).

      A shame it is not to do all of the above and stop pissing tax payers money down the drain as soon as possible. Also to start cutting and simplifying the absurdly damaging tax system Osborne put in place.

      1. Hope
        August 20, 2016

        The U.K. Should now be setting its own energy policy, and shedding all EU competence over govt policy.. JR is getting ahead of himself, how can anyone answer his blog when we are still firmly a member of the EU and have to apply its directives, regulations and laws. If we invoked article 50 such pkanning could be made from a UK national interest perpsepective not a EU club view where the govt does what it is told.

      2. getahead
        August 20, 2016

        Not to mention Article 50 or JR’s preferred repeal of the 1972 European Communities Act, neither of which appear likely within the desired timescale.

    2. matthu
      August 20, 2016

      It seems (to me) that both HS2 and Hinkley are designed chiefly to benefit our EU partners and are therefore destined to be used as part of our exit negotiation.

    3. Bob
      August 20, 2016

      A purpose built airport obviating the need for flightpaths over Central London and areas of population would be preferable to further expansion of London’s accidental airport. This in turn would free up the land currently occupied by Heathrow for much needed housing.

      Sometimes you just have to knock it down and start again.

    4. turboterrier
      August 20, 2016


      cancel all the absurd tax payer grants for so called “renewables” (or rather the very expensive and unreliables).

      Too bleeding true but the sad fact of the matter there are not enough members in the HoC who think like our host and his supporters.

      Too many of our politicians are living where the sun don’t shine when it comes to matters like our host wants answers for today.

      If that is not a fact just think about the calibre of those sitting on the back benches.

  3. Nig l
    August 20, 2016

    Another runway has to be a priority or else Schipol I understand will become a real threat. I do not know why Manston is not looked at, various attempts to revive it have failed? Ok it is to the East and links are not that good but HS 2 money could be diverted to sort that out, both road and especially rail.

    HS 2 looks very weak, surely the money could be spent more effectively bringing the current system into the 21st century. Hinckley point looks like a dinosaur.the technology does not seem to be proven, alternative and better is available or just round the corner, the French company building is already struggling with massive overruns on another one and the guaranteed price per unit is colossal and seemingly for ‘ever’. Let us look st smaller generating schemes and invest in large scale battery storage that could capture the energy from wind farms for instance that is currently, no pun intended, wasted because it doesn’t match demand.

    One thing is certain, the people in the south are fed up with even more concreting over to build houses. Substantial grant money should be used to ‘encourage ‘ business to set up or relocate further north where they still havent replaced traditional industry.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 20, 2016

      It rarely makes sense to give grants to businesses to encourage them locate in the wrong place for the business. When the grants stop they usually move back anyway to where they should have been in the first place.

      1. getahead
        August 20, 2016

        Rolls-Royce small engines moved from Leavesden near Watford to East Kilbride in Scotland in 1991, so cheaper premises may make sense.

  4. Mark B
    August 20, 2016

    Good morning.

    Let the market decide ! Not one penny piece of taxpayers money should be spent on any of these. And I speak as someone who has a very personal interest in one of those projects. But if there is a business case, and these are indeed not White Elephants, the Private Sector can, as they use to do (eg early roads, canals, bridges, sailing and steam ships etc), raise the money themselves. If they cannot, it is because finerminds than those in Westminster have decided not to put their money into it.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 20, 2016

      Exactly. Hickley and HS2 (in particular) are so far away from making any economic sense it is absurd they were ever seriously considered for more than a few seconds. The same is true of nearly all PV roof panels wind projects.

    2. Ed Mahony
      August 20, 2016

      I think government shouldn’t play a role in investment if it is purely for consumer benefit. But if you want to encourage the growth of business, then you need to make things as easy as possible for people in business to travel, have the means to transport their goods, the energy to run their factories and so on. So government investment is needed. But not to pay for everything. Rather to kick start things, tweak things here and there etc, using sensible, well-planned investment.

    3. formula57
      August 20, 2016

      Letting the market decide was of course the refreshingly sensible approach (devised on that occasion by our own Mr Redwood himself) taken to the Channel Tunnel, at vast benefit to the UK taxpayer.

      HS2 is clearly of very doubtful merit and so I hope the government has the courage to scrap that scheme, perhaps redeploying the vast sums elsewhere in the rail network.

  5. Lifelogic
    August 20, 2016

    A typical biased BBC report today on “the large increase in housing benefit paid to private landlords”. It is paid to tenants so they can rent accommodation. Why do the BBC never refer to increases in unemployment benefits paid to British Gas, Thames Water, Primart, McDonalds and Tesco?

    1. Lifelogic
      August 20, 2016

      Or the money “paid by employers to their employees’ mortgages lenders?

      1. Bob
        August 20, 2016



        Because as we all know, private landlords are wicked, and property is theft.

        What the BBC fail to mention is that the tenants do not always pass the money on to the landord, or that local authorities encourage tenants to go into arrears and get evicted to become eligible for public housing.

    2. graham1946
      August 20, 2016

      Maybe it’s because of landlords greed – i.e. their obsession with obtaining ‘market rents’ rather than just providing value for money, according to their costs. I know of a great many houses in East London which are owned by big landlords, some of whom are from the other end of the country. These houses are at least a hundred years old and were paid for donkeys years ago, have little or no money spent on them year to year but rents increase exponentially each year way above inflation and with no regard for the tenants ability to pay, just because it’s London.
      I know of two people who queried their rent increases and were told to ‘move out if they don’t like it, there are loads of foreigners waiting for houses and are willing to pay’. These are people who have lived in their home (for that is what they are, not just profit centres for the greedy) for many years, in one case over 60 years. Rents increase, but standards do not.
      Maybe see things from the aspect of small landlords, but that is not the main picture in many areas.

      1. Lifelogic
        August 21, 2016

        It is indeed a market and they rightly charge the market rent. Often landlords have properties in areas that are declining in value that they cannot rent out easily. They are not charities they have to buy the properties with money from somewhere, and pay interest, maintenance, taxes and insurances after all.

        1. graham1946
          August 21, 2016

          The very epitome of the ‘heartless landlord’ quite happy to live the life of Riley on the backs of those not able to increase their earning/pensions by 10 percent each year for no extra effort like landlords do.
          As for your argument, did you not read what I said about the housing I personally know of, that they are paid for, not maintained and of course you forget the soaring asset values. If you have bought houses in places where you cannot let them out, that is your poor judgement. As for taxes, we all have those, but you can just shove up your rents to cover any reduction in your income. Proof positive of the need to get back to council housing in a big way to provide some competition, but that won’t happen, especially under the Tories.

          1. Bob
            August 22, 2016


            “If you have bought houses in places where you cannot let them out, that is your poor judgement.”

            and what if you are trying to rent a house in an area you can’t afford, is that poor judgement?

            The reason the rents are so high is open borders combined with housing benefits.

            If a landlord had two prospective tenants wanting to rent her property, assuming their credentials were equal, which one should she choose? would it be the one who offered the lowest rent? if so, she wouldn’t be a landlord for very long, but should consider registering as a charity.

            If the govt were obliged to provide money to people to rent cars, what do you think would be the effect on demand for cars?

    3. Lifelogic
      August 20, 2016

      In one report later these housing benefit payments were even “lining the pockets of landlords”. When oh when is someone going to sort out the wrong on every issue BBC?

      August 20, 2016

      You are comparing apples with oranges in regard to Housing Benefit paid to landlords and unemployment benefits which a person can decide on “amount” dependent on consumption and “if”.

      The benefit scam of some landlords has been supported by Parliamentarians for decades. It means a few landlords sometimes prefer the unemployed as their income and rent are guaranteed. Also the landlord can increase his fees knowing he will be paid the increase however unreasonable.

      The question is why Parliament has failed to deal with gangsterism in the buy-to-let “industry” and just pussy-foots around “foreign buyers” of property thus helping the homegrown British gangsters.

      With a squad ( handpicked and not associated with recognised security agencies…some of them are…well, not above-board exactly ) of 24/7 minders, an investigative journalist could pick up a good story about it, if a British publisher has the guts and integrity to publish it. Asking alot. The journalist would then need to emigrate, not to Spain or South America and change his name and profession and never write or contact his friends, family and associates in the UK again,nor tell them however secretly his whereabouts, ever. Yes it is that bad.

    5. getahead
      August 20, 2016

      Why is the BBC still demanding a license fee? It is totally out of keeping with (as Mr Blair calls it,) the modern world.

  6. Lifelogic
    August 20, 2016

    Interesting to see the usual gender split in A level subject choices. With Computer Science, Further Maths and Physics all heavily male and Performing Arts, English and Modern Languages all heavily female. It is rather surprising that the lefty PC brigade, most politicians (and especially the BBC who seem so desperately concerned about enforcing fake gender “equality”) are not proposing some more laws to force boys to do the latter and girls to do the former.

    Doubtless we will get more of PC usual drivel on Woman Hour on this topic.

    They are going to need a very great deal of anti-male discrimination laws to get equal numbers of male and female engineers, physicists, mathematicians & computer scientists at this rate of progress.

    Perhaps the BBC & lefty loons just need to accept the fact that, on average, the genders are rather different and make different choices.

    Then perhaps they could move on, even to accept that there is no real gender pay gap either, it is just the different choices men and woman (on average) take in life.

    1. Ed Mahony
      August 20, 2016

      Good comment.
      Women in their 20’s earn more than men of same age, study from Press Association shows. Obviously, when women have children and families, their commitment levels naturally drop and so their pay, overall, drops in their 30’s and over.
      Feminists are in denial that women love child-rearing and that it is important to their happiness and well-being. It’s natural when you consider that women have a child in their womb for 9 months. Give birth and breast-feed. And so on. The woman’s body is built emotionally and physically to nurture and be close to her children.
      We should be providing the women with the choice to work if they want, but just as important is to protect family life in this country, and key to that, allowing mothers the space and time to nurture their children.
      (And for every misogynist, there’s a misandrist)

      1. rose
        August 22, 2016

        I feel furious with the feminists: we had the best men in the world. Everyone wanted to marry them; and everyone wants to come and live here. It took a thousand years to train them up instead of just looking after themselves as the male often does in nature. Then in twenty years it was thrown away. Chivalry was abolished.

        Now everyone is exhausted: the children have to go to breakfast clubs and after school clubs; the women have to work, whether they wawnt to or not, and do everything they did before but badly; and the men don’t get looked after. The price of houses has doubled and so has the traffic. Some women, like part-time GPs, have done well out of it at everyone else’s expense, especially the men who have to cover for them. But most women have a life of drudgery.

        The feminists were too dim to understand that if you take away a man’s pride in provision and constantly make boys feel guilty, you are going to get social problems. You can’t run a country on woman power alone, with a criminal underclass of males, but you can do so by the two sexes supporting each other in the traditional way. The maternal insinct is so strong that it continues with the grandchildren, and for grannies to do the job properly they need loyal grandpapas still supporting them.

        Feminists should stop attacking our men and concentrate on the real misogynists but for some reason they don’t like to mention them or any of their evil works.

  7. Richard1
    August 20, 2016

    HS2 and Hinkley should go. Any money already spent is a sunk cost and in any event is a fraction of the potential total. HS2 has no business case at all – the justification for it kept changing and ending with consultants, absurdly, back-solving into an assumption of the value of business peoples’ time saved by getting to Birmingham 20 mins quicker. If we want to spend more to alleviate pressure on rail there are much more effective and much cheaper ways to do it by adding capacity on commuter lines as you have often pointed out.

    Hinkley is difficult as the Chinese may be upset to lose it (I think EDF and the French govt might be relieved though). Mrs May will just have to explain to the Chinese that it’s a terrible deal for UK taxpayers and consumers, and we will welcome investment partnerships in other areas, but this (LibDem arranged) immensely expensive generation capacity cannot be justified.

    Heathrow (or Gatwick) clearly need to go ahead. If we want to expand trade globally post Brexit there is no case for further delay on this. No one likes more planes overhead but planes are getting quieter. I’m in west London now at 06.30 and there’s far more noise from cars than planes.

    Meanwhile I urge all MPs to pay close attention to broadband. This is an area in which the UK is falling massively behind, especially in rural areas. It’s essential to spur and encourage new business formation. The BT / Openreach monopoly is utterly dysfunctional and should be broken up. The Government needs to institute competition in broadband infrastructure and urgently get the UK to global competitiveness. I suggest asking someone in Korea to help.

    1. Anonymous
      August 20, 2016

      Even electrification on GWR seems pointless.

      They would have been far better developing modern versions of the HST and diesel units and improving track and station capacity and turn-back points at a fraction of what it’s costing.

  8. Michael Ogden
    August 20, 2016

    We cannot deal with waste products from a new Hinckley that’s the biggest issue along with the high cost of generation. The way forward is more renewables along with developing the new battery technology.
    HS2 will allow more people to commute to London. Nobody will live in London and commute north that would be madness as you can buy a house up north for peanuts.
    Stop HS2.
    Third runway for Heathrow yes of course all the in restructure is in place

    1. Lifelogic
      August 20, 2016

      You say “The way forward is more renewables along with developing the new battery technology.”

      Not at all. The way forwards is gas, oil and coal at current prices. Also do more R&D (all over the cleaner energy production field) then when things actually work and are cost effective they will be rolled out. Rolling out white elephants using taxpayer subsidies is bonkers, more economic lunacy from Osborne and now Hammond it seems.

      Batteries are hugely expensive and wasteful and renewable energy cost a fortune even before the battery. Look at the numbers!

      1. Ed Mahony
        August 20, 2016

        I think you’re forgetting the new wind turbines they’re creating now, which are incredibly effective – see this Telegraph article
        (And, yes, to nuclear, gas, oil and coal as well – but we need to wean ourselves off these more and more if renewables, in particular, wind are becoming more effective – thanks to modern science.

        1. Lifelogic
          August 21, 2016

          Then why do they need such huge subsidies and market distortions to help them?

      2. Lifelogic
        August 20, 2016

        With gas, coal oil batteries are not required as it can be ramped up and down as needed.

        1. hefner
          August 21, 2016

          So the Luddite has said.

      3. anon
        August 20, 2016

        The way forward will be determined by cheap proven technology with minimal ongoing costs and decommission costs, including pollution &waste and not only CO2.

        You need to look at the current cost curves for renewables over time. e.g. Wind turbines upto 50mw each, are being designed- largest in production at present 8mw. These will be controlled remotely and will adjust output and shape in different conditions.

        These new industries are suited to North’s traditional strengths and the weather and geography of the North Sea . There is need for high quality steel in infrastructure, we can import some steel from strategic partners but we must prefer UK steel to maintain a strategic high quality local capacity.

        Even imported coal can not compete. Its clear where the tech is going.Watch where the funds are moving.

        We need interconnectors and storage solutions. UK/Ireland/Norway/Iceland.
        Hydro storage potential and phase transition technolgies.

        Hinckley money should be spent this project and if needed capacity payments in the short term until storage becomes decentralized.

        HS2 money should be spent on bridges and new road infrastructure to aid the move to driverless technology.

        Airports: Add extra capacity first via plane sizes at Heathrow
        Extra runways at Gatwick, Stanstead, Luton and maybe other Northern air/ rail/ motorway hubs.

        Think strategically about a Boris Island scheme including a new barrage for energy storage , flooding protection, duty free transit area, etc perhaps combined with new river crossings. Heathrow could then redeployed to other use, maybe housing.

        We should spend money on our border control, ensuring the speedy processing and return of illegal economic migrants (within 24hrs). This should ensure that those who choose to apply by the rules are not disadvantaged. Full exit and entry controls should be reinstated.

        August 20, 2016

        The idea nowadays should be not to seek energy production of any sort at all . It should be to identify those objects (AND human and technological processes for which energy is squandered. ) However little per human being…per unit.
        I immediately thought of the “electric toothbrush” but thought of something which for a moment seemed like a better headline of silliness: “The Electric Pen” > But the electrically powered internet tells me someone has gone and invented it already.
        Of course electrical stuff is labour-saving. Electrical treadwheels, bicycles in electrically lit gyms can help us burn off the excess stored energy of fat resulting.
        Aside from the Olympics generated enthusiasm for exercise: read artificially induced pleasure amongst the young, kids are being stopped from exercising ( using ) even their jaw bones by telling them to eat gunge instead of proper meals, by fashionable dieticians who speak of fried sausages as healthy, on paid advertisements.
        So, the physical elimination of spam mail coming through my letterbox including free newspapers, endless numbers of taxis whizzing around taking advantage of the “wonderful” cost-efficient but largely non-existent bus service may help, amongst other things such as a thorough investigation into the overuse and misuse of dentists’ electric drills.

        1. Edward2
          August 20, 2016

          You would need a dictatorship to bring about your ideas.
          Telling people by law if they could buy an electrical item.
          As a simple example a friend of mine who has problems with co ordination due to injury, finds an electric toothbrush a real help.
          In your world would you have him apply for a permit?

      5. Qubus
        August 21, 2016

        I don’t really see why one cannot use the electricity generated to electrolyse water, then compress and store the hydrogen, the use it at a later date to to drive generators.
        I assume that there must be a good reason why not. Can anyone tell me what is?

        1. Qubus
          August 21, 2016

          I should have said that the energy to perform the electrolysis could come from solar, wind, hydro etc. Hydrogen can be used to power vehicles already.

          Incidentally, I understand that hydrogen can now be stored in metallic alloys at a greater density than it has in the liquid state !

    2. Ian Wragg
      August 20, 2016

      There is no renewable sources that are economic or reliable except hydro which is well established.
      Battery technology is the same as carbon capture and storage. Something unlikely ever to get built except for small scale generation.
      No more subsidies should be given for stupid offshore wind which costs £140 per megawatt against conventional generation of £38.
      Hinckley Point makes no economic sense whatsoever.

      1. Lifelogic
        August 20, 2016

        The cheapest “battery” is to pump water up a hill to a reservoir and then let it down again later. Wasteful on energy (circa 15-20% is lost), land hungry and rather expensive but cheaper than the alternative “batteries”. Reservoir dams can be rather dangerous when they fail too.

        1. David Price
          August 21, 2016

          The cheapest batteries will likely be flow batteries which offer some very interesting capabilities for grid, localised and vehecle applications. However, given where most of the energy generation would come from in the brave new world we’d simply swap Scottish wind for oil and still be held to ransom by other governments so a distributed multi-technology approach is far more preferable.

      2. Lifelogic
        August 20, 2016

        Exactly and “renewables” cost far more for intermittent energy that is worth far less than on demand gas, coal or oil generated power.

    3. getahead
      August 20, 2016

      And what happened to thorium? Is it still a possibility?

  9. David Price
    August 20, 2016

    HS2 should be scrapped and the budget cancelled or spent to improve transport infrastructure across the country, to benefit a much wider group outside London than the few commuters.

    Heathrow should go ahead without further delay preferably with extensions at Gatwick and rail links between the two.

    The Hinkley C EPR plan should be scrapped in favour of better solutions such as the ANWR and AP1000 designs. I tend to favour an SMR fleet approach which would allow a more graduated deployment with the ability to more readily take on new technologies and developments as they become available, proven and at lower cost. Interim power needs should be addressed through extension maintenance and gas turbine generators

    1. Lifelogic
      August 20, 2016

      Sending 10% of the cost of HS2 on simpler & quicker ticketing and minor other improvement to all of the network would achieve far more benefit for rail users than HS2. But government always prefer grand but insane, white elephant projects.

    2. acorn
      August 20, 2016

      I take it you meant ABWR (Advanced Boiling Water Reactor).

      BTW. “AREVA NP, Inc. submitted the Standard Design Certification Application on December 11, 2007. By letter dated February 25, 2015, AREVA Inc. requested that the staff [U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission] suspend its safety review of the U.S. EPR design certification application.”

      Tell Mrs May to walk away from this Reactor. In fact she probably has already???

      1. acorn
        August 20, 2016

        More infrastructure, definitely JR. There is nothing the government can’t afford to buy, that is available and for sale in Pounds Sterling.

        The one limitation on government spending, is the quantity of resources that are available for it to buy. The government soon finds out because inflation will build quickly for a resource that is nearing exhaustion.

        Domestic housing “market” continually runs close to exhaustion of supply; continually pushing price inflation. It is a good trick if you are allowed to get away with it; as you can in the UK.

        We need a National Resource Task Group. It must assume it has just landed on planet UK and has to make an inventory of every resource that can be used, particularly asking what labour skills and knowledge are available and what are we short of. How do we enhance the capacity of all our produced and non-produced non-financial resources, to reduce the need to import.

        Remember that the UK government, as the currency issuer, has infinitely more Pounds Sterling available to it at little to no cost, than all the non-government sector currency users put together.

        The Treasury could build Hinkley C, sell MWhs at market prices, and make far more money out of it than any private sector agent, that has to borrow money to build it, and needs the government to back-stop the financial risks.

      2. David Price
        August 21, 2016

        I did mean ABWR, thanks for catching my error.

  10. MikeP
    August 20, 2016

    Hinckley’s power is set to be far too expensive and EDF do not show confidence in their ability to build the project to time and budget. Having Chinese investment in a nuclear facility is also a huge risk so overall this is not the way to go. Instead more gas and renewables.

    HS2 may have a poor business case but there has to be a broad examination of the combined economic effects of M6 congestion, increased need for freight wagon capacity somewhere on road or rail, and to provide competition against flights to Scotland and the North. HS2 answers these challenges by freeing up West Coast Mainline capacity for more freight only if there is a corresponding push to get huge trucks off the M6 onto the WCML.

    On airport runway capacity I would be much more in favour of Gatwick having a second runway as it seems crazy in this day and age to be inviting more flights to come in over London to uses third Heathrow runway.

    Finally, although you don’t invite views for other infrastructure needs this time your constituents I’m sure would place a high priority on completing the electrification of the Great Western mainline and the almost criminally overdue dualling of the A303 on our doorstep to overcome perpetual logjams near Stonehenge and other bottlenecks. Why Devon and Cornwall don’t make a bigger fuss over this is beyond me, perhaps they don’t want extra trade?

  11. stred
    August 20, 2016

    Both Gatwick and Stansted would be a more economical site for additional runways, with less environmental impact. Better rail links and motorways would be necessary.

    A normal high speed rail line to the north would be better in terms of capacity and energy use, as well as being far less expensive. Tunnelling and noise screening would be reduced. It could connect to the HS1 terminal and actually save travelling time to Birmingham.

    As regards Hinkley, so much nonesense is written. The Times had an articlelast week about a Chinese engineer who the US had arrested and held pending spying charges. This engineer had worked for Westinghouse in the States for years. Westinghouse was sold to the UK when US politicians gave up on nuclear, then we sold it for a song to the Japanese, who developed it and are now the prime exporters along with the Russians. They have given up in their homeland but very busy elsewhere, including China. China is building Westinghouse designs and others- even apparently being able to finish EPR , Hinkleys, although EDF engineers have decided to redesign them.

    What this bloke was doing would be called ‘poaching’ if the Chinese engineers were not members of the Communist Party of the PRC, or should that be PLC. As regards security at Hinkley, the Chinese as building a French design and only financing it and hoping to make money out of the incredibly generous terms bungled by DECC. In Finland, they are building a Russian design with Rolls Royce controls, which Rosatom favour.

    But Mrs May’s office has managed to offend the Chinese and missed the fact that other designs, including a Korean, are available that already are working and cost far less, which the Chinese would also be happy to build, with British controls if necessary.

  12. Anonymous
    August 20, 2016

    The Dutch Amsterdam to Breda high speed rail link proved to be an economic white elephant.

    Fracking in America turned their economy around entirely.

    Scrap HS2. Get fracking as safely as possible with HS2 money instead.

    There isn’t even a Keynsian argument for HS2. Much of it will be done with foreign contractors and equipment. It will need vast amounts of scarce electricity to run its empty trains too !

    Truly. The country is run by people who have no care of Britons whatsoever.

  13. Lifelogic
    August 20, 2016

    HS trains are only really fast if they do not stop on route. But then not stopping on route means longer door to door journeys for many passengers.

    Also you can work on trains so being 10 minutes faster achieves nothing. Why are we governed by such clowns? Get rid of the absurdly misguided sugar tax too.

  14. Ken Barrett
    August 20, 2016

    I would prefer to see a completely new airport in the Thames Estuary. Think what a statement that would make about the UK’s openess to the world. With London spreading eastwards, and with 24-hour landings, such an airport could be a dazzling display of British engineering and design.

    Heathrow could be downgraded or closed, and the land used to build a new town and industrial parks. There would be no need to demolish the airport buildings, as these could be converted into public and commercial use. The existing transport links mean that the new developments would be immediately viable.

    A high-speed railway, or maglev, could make the London-airport connection fast and easy, and a new river crossing could link the airport to the Channel Tunnel. Plus, by the time the airport was completed, driverless cars would be a reality, which would ease the parking situation.

    HS2 and Hinkley are presumably budgeted for. If these two white elephants were scrapped, surely this would free up money to invest in the airport.

    1. bigneil
      August 20, 2016

      I have a problem with driverless cars. The “driverless cars” – who would actually own them? who would insure them? who would maintain them? Who pushes them out of the way when they break down? Who gets the blame when one of them goes wrong and turns into the path of an oncoming vehicle and causes a horrific accident? unless someone has been very lucky, most people will have had a computer freeze up and need rebooting. what happens to a driverless car if this situation occurs when going down a busy motorway at 70 mph?

    2. rose
      August 20, 2016

      Hear, hear.

  15. Anthony Makara
    August 20, 2016

    As we have become too dependent on foreign sources for energy we must develop a new strategy that will make us independent and self sufficient. That should include considering all options. The interests of Environmentalists and supporters of the Green Belt must be secondary as we secure the energy needs for future generations. As I see it too many Conservatives are squeamish about exploiting natural resources here at home and prefer to import expensive energy from overseas rather that use up aesthetically pleasing but economically dormant green belt land. Such attitudes stand in the way of Energy Security.

  16. The Prangwizard
    August 20, 2016

    Hinckley should not go ahead, but HS2 and Heathrow should, and Gatwick too.

    And can we have some decisions, and quickly. the examinations and debates have surely been done to death. The rest of the world goes forward, we hang back, frightened of the future and of what others may think.

    1. ian wragg
      August 20, 2016

      I have been gleaning all the information available on Hinckley Point. It seems the contract was written by a …… or by EDF and the Chinese government.
      There is no penalty clauses, there is a tacit acknowledgment that there may be an 8 year over run and we the consumer appear to start paying the inflation proof £92 per megawatt hour from 2025 whether or not it is in production.
      There is absolutely no risk for EDF (French government) or China Power (Chinese government) with all costs on the UK consumer/taxpayer.
      The technology is unproven and may never work satisfactorily and we are stuck with a guaranteed 30 year or more payment plan. Even if we have to de-commission it.
      It makes PFI look sensible which is difficult to do.
      No wonder the Chinese are so keen to get in on it.

    2. Lifelogic
      August 20, 2016

      HS2 should go ahead? For what possible reason, it is the worst of the lot.

  17. Edward2
    August 20, 2016

    Kill off HS2 and Hinksey
    Spend some of the money saved on general rail track improvements and build some more excellent gas powered power stations.
    Heathrow yes, Gatwick yes and any other airport and shipping port expansion.

    1. The Prangwizard
      August 21, 2016

      I read that Australia has stopped a Chinese takeover of an energy company there. Let us hope this will give encouragement and some more backbone to our government to cancel Hinkley. We must restore our self respect and stop imagining that our future depends on foreign investment and ownership of our sssets.

  18. alan jutson
    August 20, 2016

    HS2 is simply a very expensive Vanity Project that offers little benefit and should be scrapped immediately before more money is wasted.

    Hinkley seems to be very, very expensive, with an unproven design, and why are the Chinese even involved at all ?
    Build more conventional power generation plants that will come on stream far sooner, whilst we look at safe proven nuclear designs.

    We certainly need more aircraft capacity.
    I question expanding Heathrow given its already huge size and five terminals, but certainly Gatwick should be expanded to double its present capacity.
    Have always thought an airport on, in, near the Thames Estuary and Kent a good location you would then have 4 hubs surrounding London, with Heathrow to the West, Gatwick to the South, Stanstead to the North, and a new set up to the East.

    Would have thought other airports in other areas of the Country also need to be upgraded and expanded, it should not all be about London.

    1. sm
      August 20, 2016

      I completely agree with this comment.

    2. Lifelogic
      August 20, 2016

      You need a five runway hub of Heathwick with a HS shuttle link.

    3. Alan Baker
      August 22, 2016

      HS2 is merely a vanity project and will wreak havoc on the West London area and the Chilterns while being constructed. The existing local road network which is already at gridlock during rush hours will be overcome by heavy lorries moving along unsuitable local roads and for what? so that a few fat cats can get to the north of England a few minutes earlier. Any savings will be negated by their need to get from the new out of city stations to the city centres

  19. alan jutson
    August 20, 2016

    Agree absolutely that we need to improve our infrastructure links, and new roads will need to be planned.

    In the meantime if we could speed up present modifications, improvements, and repairs with 24/7 working, we may get the present system working rather more efficiently.

    The French seem to be able to plan and construct new roads far quicker than we do, why is that ?

    1. ian wragg
      August 20, 2016

      And a damn site cheaper as with nuclear power.

    2. Lifelogic
      August 20, 2016

      The French seem to be able to plan and construct new roads far more quickly than we do, why is that ?

      Because they have far more free land, far fewer lawyers and rather more engineers.

    3. The Prangwizard
      August 20, 2016

      We must counter the backward thinkers. After a fatal crash on the A34 the other week local TV news invited the views of one who said there must be a 50mph speed limit, average speed check cameras and a ban on HGV’s overtaking. The problem is lack of capacity – two lanes lanes is inadequate. We must build for the future with three and four lanes. Double crawler lanes could be built now to get a start.

      1. alan jutson
        August 21, 2016

        Prang wizard

        Agree absolutely, this road should be 3 lanes and crawler lanes.

        I have used this road many times, it is heavily used by lorries, and with two lanes they cause bottlenecks and tailbacks when overtaking (crawling past each other)

        Why is it the first cry every time is to reduce the speed limits, instead of sorting out the real problem which is capacity (probably because it is cheaper and will bring in revenue)

    4. Bob
      August 20, 2016


      “and new roads will need to be planned.”

      hopefully with proper hard shoulders and fewer bottlenecks where the left hand lane is sacrified to provide a on/off ramps.

    1. petermartin2001
      August 20, 2016

      Yes of course there is no reason why the UK should be reliant on Chinese money to develop nuclear power. There’s no advantage to handing control of energy generation to a foreign country just to save 1% that it costs in interest payments on borrowed money.

      That’s not to say we shouldn’t co-operate with other countries, including the Chinese, in nuclear technology. But there’s a big difference between co-operation and handing over total control to someone else.

  20. Leslie Singleton
    August 20, 2016

    HS2 continues ridiculous without joining HS1–the hoped-for demise of the EU does not mean that there are not massive advantages, not least in the North- South divide, and, whisper it softly, maybe even making the Scots happy, in easier direct trade with Europe from ‘up North’–after all they were happy building the Empire. Hinkley is simply unbelievable for about ten reasons. As to Heathrow there is no choice so compensation needs to be say doubled to get people on board .

  21. Ed Mahony
    August 20, 2016

    Interesting article, and agree with gist of.
    I think Heathrow airport can’t go ahead. An important reason why companies like London is because its employees and their families love living in the city (and their families and friends, visiting). If London becomes a bit of a hell-hole with increased noise pollution, then it will become a less desirable place for companies to move to (a Canadian friend of mine moved out of west London as she said the noise pollution from planes was too bad for her). London is such a great asset in general to this country in general. Why ruin it when there are other options to Heathrow.
    Instead develop Gatwick, i think, with high-speed interconnecting rail links. And the Referendum sent us a clear signal that we need to help the north more. Therefore, more needs to be spent on improving airports and transport in the north as well.

    1. M Browne
      August 20, 2016

      Most of the talk here is about London.
      I read something recently about a Trans-Pennine road tunnel link, which seems like a good idea. The government could get someone from Switzerland or Norway to show them how it could be done.

      1. Ed Mahony
        August 20, 2016

        Don’t know much about northern the tunnel but something like that, yes.

      2. stred
        August 22, 2016

        The Glossop tunnel was proposed by Osborne. 20 miles long- 2x longer than Gotthard- with pictureson the walls to stop drivers panicking. 9bn quid to link Sheffield to Manchester when the M62 needs widening and a motorway link could do the same. Manchester and Sheffield have little in common. In the words of a transport think tank- madness.

  22. Mark Hodgson
    August 20, 2016

    As a resident of the far north of England I do not feel qualified to comment on Heathrow.

    However, the idea of HS2 strikes me as nothing short of madness and economic illiteracy. Providing a slightly faster link between London and Birmingham (ultimately Manchester/Leeds) will do nothing to improve transport in the real north. Where I live our roads are a potholed nightmare, bus services are almost non-existent, and the rail line was dug up 45 years or more ago (post-Beeching) and we have a 30 mile drive to a main line. Many road links are still closed because almost 9 months after last winters’s floods, bridges are still closed. Last night’s local TV news said that some won’t open until next Easter. For goodness’ sake, it’s like living in a 3rd world country. HS2 is already budgeted to cost an absurd amount of money, and I think I can guarantee that it will produce huge cost over-runs, as such Government-funded projects almost always do. Scrap it, save a fortune, and use some of the money saved to invest in our basic infrastructure – goodness knows it’s falling apart as it is.

    We need a sane energy policy. We don’t have one. I endorse many of the comments above. We’ve just installed a log burner in our house to guard against the likelihood of the lights going out and the heating going off. Scrap Hinckley Point, scrap subsidies for useless, expensive, inefficient and unreliable renewables, and stop shutting down essential generating capacity just because it emits some CO2. China is still commissioning a new coal-fired power station every other day, and our hugely expensive and damaging efforts are a drop in the ocean compared to that.

    The Cameron-led Government was a nightmare in its incompetence in these areas (not that Labour, Lib Dems, Greens et al would be any better). Please, please may Theresa May’s Government see the return of some common sense.

  23. Iain Moore
    August 20, 2016

    I am not opposed to nuclear power, but I am opposed to Hinkely and the way the deal has been structured. It looks like a very expensive disaster, the fixed price part of the deal is insane, and can anybody from the establishment explain to me why we are going cap in hand to the Chinese for $6 billion like cash strapped paupers, with all the security risks it entails by allowing them into our core infrastructure, when we liberally chuck away £10 billion in Aid every year? I just don’t understand it.

    (PS Why do we have to give guarantees to the Chinese, when there are many millions of people and pension billions desperately looking for a home in which to invest that would be attracted to investing in some infrastructure bonds? )

    HS2 is also another very expensive disaster , that will wreck the rapidly diminishing area of England that is still a green and pleasant land. I sometimes wonder if a significant attraction to the project is because it will vandalise a chunk of England. What will be the benefit for this vandalism? So well heeled travellers can shave 20 minutes off their travel time. HS2 won’t even revitalise the Midlands and North, for it will most likely suck the well paid jobs to London. Better to invest the money into the transport corridors we already have which will benefit millions more people.

    Finally Heathrow, again I am opposed to the third runway. It cannot be built and also conform to pollution limits. Political failure has played into Heathrow’s hands, where politicians, rather than planning for the future, have allowed Heathrow to develop piece meal. Every Government that gets into power has its arm twisted by Heathrow management for just a little bit more development, that reneges on promises previously given the local population. We should have developed a 24/7 hub airport away from densely populated areas a long time ago.

    As the third runway will destroy many people’s living environment in West London, and as Heathrow has been privatised, so not national infrastructure, and so no reason for local people to give up their living environment for the common good for it will be for the good of Ferrovial share holders. As such I would suggest they are given the go ahead for the third runway. Yes the go ahead, but only if they can come to financial terms with all the people their business activity will inconvenience . I have a feeling that when they can’t get the state to confiscate peoples living environment for them to exploit, and have to financially compensate people for their loss, the economics of the third runway will not be there, and it will not be built. This approach would have some political logic, for it would be similar to the fracking deal the Government is proposing.

  24. Nigel
    August 20, 2016

    Hinckley should be scrapped. Ambrose Evans Pritchard’s recent article gives a good alternative strategy:
    HS2 likewise. It was always a vanity project. Replacement jobs can be created by developing rail links between northern cities, and improving commuter links to various large conurbations.
    A further runway is needed. Either Heathrow or Gatwick, but get on and make a decision.

    Positive decisions along these lines will benefit us all, and improve the Government’s standing.

  25. Caterpillar
    August 20, 2016

    If arguments are to be made purely on a business case then one has to question Government’s role, but …

    HS2 should go ahead, business case at least satisfices and political/social case for uniting UK is high. There is of course an argument about simultaneity of Man-Brum, with Brum-Lon or even ordering. But decision and action need to get done so that real option values can start to be taken in local areas.

    Stansted should have been expanded to Heathrow size and improved capacity into Liverpool St added, but when this was stopped and Stansted sold due to supposed monopoly issues then the Heathrow problem surfaced. This is a big own goal because presumably the owners of Stansted will be Manchester focused and looking at paying for stationing for HS2. Solution is not obvious without allocation of blame.

    Hinckley should go ahead if learning and knowledge capture is high, and the supposed security issues can be managed and learned from. Even if GCHQ people have to check out all the computer systems. Guaranteeing the energy price may be a strategic price worth paying as UK lost its skills and leadership.

    Expenditure should also go on (i) moving central government from London, (ii) moving museums and galleries from London, (iii) researching how to institute a new monetary system that is not debt based into a sovereign state, (iv) working out detailed plans for employer of last resort and basic guaranteed income, (v) a national program for supporting libraries, lifelong learning that is not just baby-STEM but hard STEM and humanities …. The current simplistic socialist and capitalist thinking is not going to go far in future decades … (vi) I know little about electrical car and smart car infrastructure, but presumably some considerations will be made in that area.

  26. Gary C
    August 20, 2016

    My views, simply put:

    Hinkley & Energy…………..We should be doing everything possible to be self sufficient in our energy needs.

    HS2……………………………..Scrap it.

    Heathrow/Gatwick expansion…………….Stop faffing and get on with it, it’s long overdue.

  27. James Winfield
    August 20, 2016

    Why do we need infrastructure investment? Doesn’t leaving the EU fix everything?

    I also cannot see the point of HS2 – I’d far rather the money be spent on local transport improvements, fixing bottlenecks – the case for HS3 is far more sensible, for example.

    Hinckley Point seems far too expensive given the plummeting costs of renewables and more importantly, the associated improvements in energy storage technology.

    Heathrow expansion should have been agreed decades ago – I’d argue for 2 new runways there, plus a new runway at Gatwick. Noise and pollution from aircraft will decrease in time from technological advancement and we should not let those aspects get in the way of economic advancement – after all, with the Brexit disaster looming, we are going to need all the help we can get.

  28. MickN
    August 20, 2016

    I did read somewhere that the main point of HS2 is to cut the journey time from London to Birmingham by 15 minutes. The author observed that it would be cheaper to knock Birmingham down and rebuild it 15 minutes closer to London.

  29. Antisthenes
    August 20, 2016

    I believe the future is not rail. It will continue for a few decades yet but it will decline. Driver less motor vehicles is going to have an explosive impact on how we own and use vehicles. Many more vehicles will be able to use the roads without causing congestion and by simply allowing the private sector to take over the building and running of many of UK roads replacing vehicle excise duties with tolls they can become a very efficient and a cheaper way compared to rail to travel and transport goods. Gradually converting the rail network to a road network would enhance the process. So no HS2.

    Get on with building a third runway where ever that may be.

    Hinkley point no get on with fracking a much cheaper means of producing our electricity much lower capital, running and decommissioning costs. It’s a no brainer. Maybe nuclear at some point as their are better alternatives.

  30. alastair harris
    August 20, 2016

    The uk needs a hub airport. Heathrow is not the only answer. Presumably the sticking point is planning. Paris has a world class hub. Not particularly close to Paris!
    Judging by the passenger demand, it is existing rail routes that need investment. Track and rolling stock.
    We need generating capacity, but at what cost? Coal and gas looks like a better bet. Both in cost and timing.

  31. oldtimer
    August 20, 2016

    HS2 should be scrapped on economic grounds. It is a political vanity project – and has been from the time the Conservative party was in opposition.

    Hinckley should be scrapped on economic and technical grounds. The past resignations of EDFs finance director and IIRC a CEO are significant; they demonstrate that this is now a political project for which UK taxpayers will pay for through the nose. The technical risks are huge; delays seem to be assured.

    More airport capacity is needed. I like the idea of increasing Heathrow capacity by extending one of the existing runways. The case for also adding a runway to Gatwick seems strong.

    Equally important as the government sponsored infrastructure projects is the creation of a business and investment environment that will encourage and promote the growth of SMEs. That should, I believe, be at the heart of the industrial strategy that the new government has said it wants to launch. Tax and regulatory policy are central to such a strategy. It will take ten or twenty years to build a UK equivalent to Germany’s s Mittelstand companies that are central to its post war business success. Many of these remain family owned or controlled and are world leaders, often in world markets that they have created and dominated through constant innovation. Replicating that model would be a worthy objective and help undo the destruction of that sector in post war Britain.

  32. Peter Plaice
    August 20, 2016

    It’s total gridlock in the SE, the traffic report goes on forever now, it’s like listening to War & Peace.

    The housing crisis is super acute. About the only thing I have applauded the SNP for is abolition of Right To Buy, we must do the same. HS2 is a vanity project. Put the money into more houses & roads.

    We also need to get a handle on inward migration. It’s a national emergency, with migrants flocking to the rich, overcrowded South East. Proper Visa controls asap so we can get the people we need.

    Let’s use the double win from fracking and the low rate of interest to get these things moving.

    Let’s be bold like we used to be!

  33. English Pensioner
    August 20, 2016

    I cannot see any case for HS2. It will be very expensive to use and demand will be limited. One of the major problems deterring people from rail travel is the need to get into central London. For more than one person, car will be far cheaper and will provide transport at each end of the journey. If they want to build, at least do a study of alternatives such as the ‘railway in a tube’.
    Hinckley has problems of both time scale and the Chinese involvement. I read that South Korea is building two nuclear power stations foe one of the Gulf States in two years or so. Do we really have a good deal?
    Heathrow should not be expanded. We should expand (or build) a northern airport until it is the size of Heathrow. Air Traffic will become too crowded in the south and there are already major problems if there are delays for any reason. Splitting the traffic between the two would improve things

  34. Bert Young
    August 20, 2016

    The case for support for HS2 vanished some time ago as far as I am concerned ; improving the route to the North can and ought only to be done via the existing rail network .

    I cannot see the wisdom of outside organisations building and financing Hinkley ; the wealth of experience in this country is , surely , at least the equal or superior to EDF . If we can make near 0% interest rates available to the market , it does not make sense to pay over the nose for Chinese capital . We must now repair the atmosphere with China and help them find other uses for the surplus money they have in this country .

    Further expansion at Heathrow is a mistake . Gatwick and other locations are a better solution from enviroment and economic points of view . Increasing and improving the economy through air transport is undeniable and important , however , Heathrow is over saturated making the use of other locations vital .

  35. Liz
    August 20, 2016

    HS2 and Heathrow – yes
    Hinkley – No
    More houses – yes – rapidly rising population means more housing – fact of life. We need to treat our younger generation better.

  36. Mick
    August 20, 2016

    Use China as leverage against the USA.
    Hopefully Chinese made reactors with Chinese made parts was never a serious proposition. Even third world south American countries turned the offer down.

  37. woodsy42
    August 20, 2016

    HS2, in particular, demonstrates a problem that infuses all UK transport planning.
    Just because the West Coast line is overbusy – and use can be measured – the reaction is to enlarge and marginally improve (at ludicrous cost) the capacity of an existing travel line.
    In reality few people want to travel from Central Birmingham to the edge of London. People on the existing line are travelling from all over the midlands and north to all over the south and even into Europe. The way to improve people’s travelling ability is therefore to build new lines in different places to allow more journey flexibility and choice. For example the old Central line route which vastly increases access to, and enlarges the scope of, the main railway network would reduce demand on the other north-south routes.
    The great stupidity is that because nobody uses a (non-existant) route now it is assumed nobody needs it, so we end up spending on duplication rather than enlargement.

  38. DaveM
    August 20, 2016

    1. Hinkley; as with other establishments and businesses/industries, I feel very uncomfortable with foreign investment/control in such important areas. Not least the LSE.

    2. Heathrow; I’ve been through Heathrow a dozen times this year and a third runway is essential to keep that place at the forefront.

    3. HS2; I’m not being argumentative or ignorant but I fail to understand the business case for this. Is it part of a plan to finance the country through people in London playing with pretend money while the rest of the country turns into a museum with locals serving coffee to tourists? Can someone please explain the reasoning for it, because I don’t get it.

    Surely the money would be far better spent on improving existing railways (something you are quite passionate about Mr R) and on reviving industry in the north? The area along – and north of – the M62 corridor traditionally supplied the country’s energy and raw materials, so why build “Hinckley” in Somerset (a traditionally rural farming/fishing area which could do with investment in the fishing industry rather than a power plant)? Why not invest some of the HS2 money in the north so we can actually Take Back Control of our own energy and manufacturing industries in areas which have always been industrial?

    Hopefully you will have some real input when Mrs May’s industrial strategy is drafted.

  39. David Hewitson
    August 20, 2016

    Gatwick should not be expanded under any circumstances. It is in the wrong location and the infrastructure cannot be improved sufficiently to support expansion. In fact the supporting infrastructure ar Gatwick is not coping now. Better and cheaper to add a runway at Heathrow and improve connectivity to Stansted.

  40. Ray Rampton
    August 20, 2016

    Manston and the Thames estuary are options for extra runway capacity, the infrastructure can be developed to make them into world class airports with possibly multiple runways, all that’s required is political foresight, there are plenty of overseas investors who will invest in such a venture. We cant pollute London and its environs any more, Heathrow is a bad neighbour, its ruined the lives of all those who live under its flight path, the changes they have made in recent times has made the lives of many residents a misery, what good is it if our health suffers from Heathrow expansion…IT MUST NOT HAPPEN !. All this cobblers about Schiphol becoming the prime hub for international air/freight travel is hogwash, anyway, who says we need more capacity, who stands to gain ?, the benefits to our economy is marginal…we are being sucked into believing that we need more runway capacity, do we destroy our Green and Pleasant land to give way to more pollution….its out of control now, the environmental costs are to high, so lets not get sucked into this grandiose scheme and the idea that the UK PLC will sink out of sight if we don’t build more runway capacity in the South, common sense must prevail….the tipping point has been reached.

  41. agricola
    August 20, 2016

    I think the greatest priority is abundant cheap energy, and we need it fast. If commercial companies wish to invest in windmills at sea then let them. Government should not. Hinkley would seem to rule itself out on grounds of Capital Cost, Energy Cost, Foreign Dependency, Security, and Uncertainty of Technology. I would ask what has happened to our own design capability in the field of nuclear power stations. Did we just give up. Second question is , how far down the road is fusion energy. Even if nuclear is to be considered long term it cannot answer the immediate need. We need a decisive political end to “Nimbyism” re fracking and a drive to get it on line fast.

    HS2 is a politicians vanity project, providing it does not run through their constituency. Money better spent on modernising the current network to increase it’s capacity.

    My instinct with airport runways is to develop one each at Heathrow and Gatwick. One on a just enough basis will quickly prove inadequate. I want to see an air-bus service between our major cities at the low cost level of budget airlines around Europe , but without the current airport delays. We need more technology for security and targeted rather than blanket security. I would advocate a national security card for entry to any airport with many categories of the population excluded such as Muslims with a criminal record for which they have served a jail sentence that opens them to ISIS recruitment, returning Jihadis, and illegal immigrants. The law abiding might then be able to enjoy hassle free travel. Ask the professionals how they would deal with security. not the Guardianista, BBC, politically correct who have infiltrated our thought processes where it matters.

    I hope some serious analysis is underway on all the above as it is just as important as a swift Brexit.

  42. Stuart Saint
    August 20, 2016

    HS2 is clearly nonsense and should be cancelled PDQ. Hinckley is becoming irrelevant, wrong technology at a very wrong price and energy storage tech development is astonishing (see AEP Telegraph:

    1. hefner
      August 21, 2016

      Thanks for the link.
      A lot of interesting information from the ARPA-E website and included links.
      Also interesting to note that the US governments have been paying for university and public research on storage for more than 20 years.

  43. Ian Phillips
    August 20, 2016

    HS2 should clearly be scrapped as there has never been ac economic case for it. Hinkley C as it currently stands should also be scrapped, however, perhaps a better approach here would be to say that HPC can go ahead, but that there will be zero subsidy and no agreements on pricing, if the French and Chinese think that they can make it work while charging standard market rates then more power to them (sorry!).

    A similar approach should be taken to expansion at all of the London airports: the government should provide assistance with planning and land appropriation, but should not put up any money. If the various operators still think that expansion is a good idea then they should be allowed to do it

  44. agricola
    August 20, 2016

    For parliamentarians to fully comprehend the folly of vanity projects such as HS2 I would suggest that Parliament is reconvened in the Dome while repairs are conducted at the present site. They could learn lessons in inconvenience and stupidity to the full.

  45. Ian Hancock
    August 20, 2016

    I think the most sensible decision would be for the Heathrow hub option which involves extending an existing runway rather than building another runway. The hub avoids demolishing other ‘public’ infrastructure which will have to be rebuilt elsewhere – more planning delays and cost elsewhere. It limits disruption to those using the M25 and only the village of Poyle will be lost. Look at Google maps and visualise what these two schemes mean. As to linking high speed connects between airports – would that have all the same advantages as the current Gatwick Express.

    As regards nuclear power the prime objective for France is to save its own nuclear industry. They were trying to be the European leaders but with Germany deciding nuclear is not for them and other countries dubious the only way forward was a UK build. The fact that EDF Directors have resigned over this shows how risky this whole project is as well as being over priced. As an alternative Rolls Royce build smaller scale nuclear reactors and I think I saw an article which suggested they and Sheffield Forgemaster could scale up and build reactors. We may have to have 2 or 3 smaller reactors but I see no real problems with this. Also we spend our money (be it tax or a levy on bills) with UK companies boosting experience and jobs here rather than in France.

    HS2. If time is the issue then most people fly. If cost is the issue most people fly as short haul is the same as or cheaper than rail. Rail fares are painfully high. If there is extra capacity at Heathrow then surely the business case, such as it is, for HS2 takes a further dent especially as the completion timetables are broadly the same. Best bet would be to spend the money on building east west links e.g. the transPennine tunnel or Bristol/Oxford/Cambridge.

  46. gpmgroup
    August 20, 2016

    If you want to benefit people who travel or are likely to travel on the railways it may be better to spend the HS2 money on improving the existing infrastructure and services.

    If you truly want to benefit the most people, it may be better to spend some of the money on very fast Internet infrastructure that way millions of people don’t have to make so many journeys.

    August 20, 2016

    We are building/maintaining infrastructure eg for the next 50 years:-

    1. What level of population ongoing from now can we expect?
    2. What technological advances are in the pipeline?
    3. Physically/economically can the Law of Diminishing Returns be relevant?
    4. Is a 3D birdnest of infrastructure/housing/ fenced-farmed no-go countryside an apt abode for British bulldogs ( and their pets: millions, requiring proper walks away from human parks ) ?

    1. Unknown, unpredictable under present body-politic
    2. Unknown, but likely to be rapid, way beyond an intelligent 10-year forecast.
    3. Yes. There can be no major economic advancement even given Q1 is known as our island land-area is finite.
    4. Public parks/ swings/games and sunbathers are not ideal for our millions of pets who need proper fields in which to run, play, and go to the bathroom. Fenced farmers fields up to no good need opening to the public…with reasonable compensation where necessary.

  48. fedupsoutherner
    August 20, 2016

    Please, please, please can we have more money for faster broadband particularly in the rural areas where so many of us are self employed. In a small hamlet where I live with a total of 14 houses, 5 of them have people living in them that are self employed and rely on the internet to do business. My husband spends a lifetime on his computer trying to sources materials but it takes so long because our broadband speed is under 1MB. It is simply unacceptable. We cannot stream videos or get anything on our TV.

    Gatwick and Heathrow airport runways are a must if we want to keep up with the rest of the world. ALL SUBSIDIES OF ANY KIND MUST STOP FOR SOLAR, WIND, BIOMASS AND TIDAL ETC. NOW!! We have wasted billions on the upgrade to the grid for this totally unnecessary blight on our lives. We have lost enough industries because of it, enough jobs, make enough people’s lives a misery and killed more than enough wildlife not only in this country but abroad in the form of bio fuels. It is an utter disgrace what has been allowed to continue. I would urge Mrs May to look at what is going on in Scotland right now which the rest of the UK is having to fund. It is serious and mustn’t be allowed to continue.

    I would cancel Hinckly and think about smaller nuclear facilities which could be built more quickly and cheaply and start fracking big time. We need to get serious about what is a serious subject. Renewables are for dummies.

    Stop the HS2 project which is only a vanity project and does nothing for the vast majority of rail users. Invest in the railways over a larger area and perhaps bring back old routes that were closed many years ago. With ever larger populations these routes are needed once again. Lastly, but not least, get on with the road works on our motorways. I am sick of seeing mile after mile of motorway shut off with speed limits and nobody doing any work. Just make it happen and get it got. Oh, almost forgot. Make Brexit happen quickly. This will be the icing on the cake.

    August 20, 2016

    Hinkley could be used as a bargaining ploy with France by Mrs May/ Brexit Team. One could always blame security concerns with China for any extremely costly next-election losing delay.

  50. Bryan Harris
    August 20, 2016

    HS2 I have doubts about, given that we don’t have the same rail issues on the main lines going north. Southern train journeys are a disgrace and should be tackled.
    What always amazes me is the lack of decent mainline services across country – same with roads – It’s no wonder places like Kings Lynn and North Wales feel cut off – We should make these sort of places connected.

    I would favour Gatwick over Heathrow, but still would like to see something really innovative like a new airport in the Thames.

    Hinkley – If we don’t go ahead we will lose EU bargaining power with France and hack off the French and Chinese, but thre’s nothing to say we couldn’t get a better deal.

    With all 3, we should be looking outside the box and not be tied down by EU thinking – Innovation should be the keyword.

  51. petermartin2001
    August 20, 2016

    My suggestion would be to invest in a better wireless and a better broadband network. The better the network, the more viable it is to have video conferencing etc and the less need there is to travel. It is understandable in a large country like Australia that there are problems getting BB internet to the rural areas but less so in the UK. However, as I am sure we all know, it is difficult sometimes to get a good enough connection for even a phone call.

    When deciding on the amount of money to spend, Government also needs to think about the implications of where money is spent. Money spent in London, for example, is much more likely to generate inflationary pressure than if it spent in Londonderry or Middlesbrough and at the same time slow the migratory drift of population towards the SE of England.

    Government can, of course, create and spend whatever amount it likes. But, it shouldn’t overdo it because of the inflationary consequences. Hence the need to consider the relative inflationary consequences of the same spending in different parts of the country.

  52. NickC
    August 20, 2016

    The projects to stop:
    1. Scrap HS2
    2. Scrap Hinckley Nuclear deal
    3. Scrap Solar and Wind subsidies
    4. CO2 is not a pollutant so don’t tax it
    5. Don’t expand Heathrow
    6. Stop PFI particularly in the NHS
    7. Don’t destroy existing drainage schemes

    The projects to help/encourage (often direct private industry/money but not PFI):
    1. Expand Gatwick/Stanstead
    2. Motorway connection between M6 and M67 under north Peaks (Gov.)
    3. An economic form of HS3
    4. (Modest) Undergrounds in major cities (Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds etc)
    5. CCGT (private sector after “Unreliables” subsidies stop)
    6. Shale gas extraction (much more benign than fracking for oil)
    7. Space research (inc satellites, hybrid engines, launchers)
    8. Local road and rail improvements, as requested by locals
    9. Civil Nuclear, provided the regulatory over-kill is sorted
    10. Brown field build
    11. Drainage work, active flood prevention, and land reclamation to resume

    1. Paul
      August 21, 2016

      All very sensibly put

    2. NickC
      August 22, 2016

      My mistake:

      2. Motorway connection between M1 (not M6) and M67 under north Peaks (Gov.)

  53. Dung (Colin Brooks)
    August 20, 2016

    Nobody has yet suggested the most important move this government needs to make ^.^
    Hinckley Point is the answer to a problem that should not really exist, repeal the Climate Change Act and all things are possible. Right now we can not use combined cycle gas turbine power plants because the CCA insists that renewables should be used before fossil fuels and CCGT plants should be switched off if there is renewable energy available. CCGT plants only run profitably if they run full blast all the time, so right now nobody wants to build them or use them.
    Get rid of the CCA and we can have the cheapest energy which is fossil fuels, doing this means we can save our steel industry, regain our chemical industry and aluminium smelting industry. Repealing the CCA also makes fracking worthwhile because at the moment it can not be used for power generation.
    There is so much more gas available from fracking than the so called experts are telling us and actually we are not in a position to export it world wide because we do not have
    a liquification plant in the UK and they take 5 years to build, put your hands together for David Cameron folks.
    We must build a new runway at Heathrow and we do not ‘need’ HS2 half as much as we need to upgrade our defences plus the NHS.
    Government spending is all about priorities but I see no sign that our government understands that.

  54. Tom William
    August 20, 2016

    By the time HS2 is operational, in twelve or more years, it will be obsolete. A ludicrous waste of money.

    Rather than build a third runway at Heathrow consideration should be given to linking Northolt (slightly expanded) by fast train to Heathrow and using it for short range (ie European) flights. I think noise and pollution will continue to decrease.

  55. mike fowle
    August 20, 2016

    Your previous comments on HS2 have shown us your views, which ought to be respected by any sensible person. Just a couple of thoughts: don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist but is or was there some grand European project to build this? It does receive a lot of unfavourable publicity along the lines of the only point is to enable well heeled businessmen to knock 20 minutes off their travel to Birmingham. But it is a new route and would open up travel opportunities to the north. Otherwise I can see more roads being built eventually. But the projected costs seem absurdly high (and we all know they will increase).
    Similarly Hinkley seems ridiculously expensive, but then government energy policy is a joke because of the green blob. If Mrs May has the courage to abandon it she will deserve applause.

  56. Jumeirah
    August 20, 2016

    Completely Off Point but a challenge more important than anything else at this present time:
    Have I missed something here? Are people like Clarke and Uncle Tam et al and those (deadwood) in the Lords not in the slightest concerned that our Sovereignty has been and continues to be ERODED by the EU or is it simply that THEY DONT SEE IT or are not unduly concerned that this has been happening over the years. Today things are VERY DIFFERENT from the days when KC had a brain and used it to encourage our participation in the EEC because at that time it seemed a good idea and yes we did benefit from it albeit that there was talk even then that the ultimate aim was Federalism but nobody believed it would ever happen and “Laffed it Orf”‘. That was then! Why are these people so vehemently opposed to us regaining our Sovereignty by taking back control of our Country ?- Are these people prepared to see our Country remain “”voiceless and an Appendage”” of a failing and failed experiment? How confident can we be that they and the (alleged) 100 or so MPs together with the Lords between them will not be able to delay indefinitely triggering of Article 50 when the PM acts to trigger it? The EU can only get worse for Britain and we will go into negotiations with the EU with confidence and fearlessly but what we don’t need is to fight our own malcontents to regain Sovereignty over our own Country. How sure are we that when the PM triggers Article 50 that it will trigger instantly and without delay in accordance with the majority vote of the people in the Referendum?

  57. David Cockburn
    August 20, 2016

    Three big decisions:
    1. Forget Hinkley and hire Rolls Royce to build several mini nuclear reactors instead
    2. Forget HS2 and spend a good chunk of money on replacing slow old trains in the north of England and on the connection to Scotland.
    3. Forget Heathrow and build Boris Island instead, but get a move on with it.

    1. turboterrier
      August 20, 2016

      @ David Cockburn

      Really supported the first two but Heathrow and Gatwick has just got to go ahead like starting tomorrow. A super fast link between the two and enhanced infrastructure to get the visitor traffic out and away quickly.

      Might even do the South East area a favour in that it might get people to move away to live. If Scotland can destroy swathes of it’s countryside with useless wind turbines then what the hell it’s only a small area in reality to the whole of the South East of England. Sadly for all those south and around these two airports London is the key, always has and always will be.

      In business you have to be where the perceived secure money is.

  58. rose
    August 20, 2016

    Don’t do Hinkley or Hs2. Do little nuclear power stations instead. And build a modern airport in the Thames estuary to see off the Dutch threat. No civilized advanced country has aircraft flying over houses now.

  59. ian
    August 20, 2016

    Before anything happens the hospitals need bailing out from PFI contracts, the people because of parliament, chancellors, and the treasury owe 80 billion pounds up till 2014 on PFI deals for hospitals, the cost of building the hospitals was 12 billion pounds, the only things you get extra for your money is maintenance of the building and grounds and worthless guarantees that might cost them well under 6 billion pounds which half the cost of building the hospitals over the life time of the contract of 30, It come out at a profit of 62 billion billion pounds to private companies, bankers with most of the money finding it way offshore with no tax payed on it.
    Bart hospital in london cost to build 1.1 billion the contract is worth 7 billion pounds.

    Now the three new projects about 80 billion pounds, hinkley point, they say the cost is 18 billion, we all know that it will come in at 25 billion with over runs and the price of 92p a kw will 123 instead of 92 and with elec price coming down which will be over three time not two the cost as in the news.

    Then you have HS2 36 billion for 100 miles of track to do 230 MPH, just a bad joke.

    Then you have heathrow 19 billion pounds, i think i could renew most airports in the country with that money.
    These three deals with overseas country and companies coming in to do them with about the same costs and profits as the hospitals above that about 60 billion pounds going to bankers and now oversea country and companies and they will pay no tax hear apart from employment taxes with lots of contractors workers coming in from overseas to do the work.

    Now i ask you, looking at this should not the finance of hospitals be sorted out first and be relieved of the debt parliament and chancellors and the treasury with bankers have put on to care at your local hospital, if you were in parliament would of let this happen, would you try to stop it if you were PM.

    Now that what happens when you have bad parliament with hopeless PMs and tax system with a treasury working with bankers and private companies and now oversea country and companies, you pay 80 billion pounds for something that is only worth 18 billion pounds cash and this is now happening all over the country with council now joining in with MPs, bankers and lobbyists talking council into taking out LBO loans for all their needs, case in point newham council, over 70% of all it money goes to repay debt.

    This is how they gain from the parliament and treasury for having no money because you have to go to them if you want to build something, for the money, and they earn four time their money just to lend it, that nearly 400% on their money, imagine what you could do if you had the cash.

    I do not mind myself, i can afford the property rates double from what i pay now and i know they can not afford to put much more on other taxes, as they go round the country hollowing everything out for the bankers and there mates, how will it all end.

  60. David Jeffery
    August 20, 2016

    Yes to Heathrow, no to Hinkley and HS2.

    I live in Liverpool – 2h10 mins to get to London on the Virgin West Coast service is quick enough. In fact, when I want to save money I opt to use other companies, where I can change at Crewe, Stafford, or Birmingham and usually save about 50% of the ticket price. Yes, it takes twice as long but in those cases I’m willing to spend time to save money. If customers were more aware of ticket splitting (e.g. via TakeTheTrain or RailEasy) non-time-urgent journeys could be taken on underused parts of the rail network – to an extent.

    Part of the money ‘saved’ on HS2 should go towards HS3 – it takes me 1h40 to get to Leeds. 77% of the time it takes to get to London, despite being just 35% of the distance away. There are clear bottlenecks on key Northern lines too, which could be sorted with the money freed up by jettisoning HS2.

    Hinkley is just a gargantuan waste of money, especially in light of the advances in storage technology and efficiency gains of solar and wind.

  61. Rosie
    August 20, 2016

    Why not use the old grand central railway line, much of which is still in place, to provide more capacity in and out of London? Don’t waste money on HS2.

    Surely all the money would be much better spent on alternative energy, especially tidal and wave power rather than Hinkkey.

  62. ian
    August 20, 2016

    PFI is one of the big swindle bought in by parliaments chancellors and PMs and the treasury, with all of the money going to bankers and private companies only paying mostly employment taxes on the money before it is shipped offshore.

    They are paying bankers to build hospitals under PFI 80 billion which if the parliament gave out the work themselves without maintenance costs the cost would be 12.2 billion pounds, that is the mark up parliament is giving to bankers and now councils are taking on the LBO which are about the same mark up but with these ones, you pay all the costs of the project up front with the interest coming after, the treasury could do it on 12.2 billion debt for hospitals for under 24 billion all in or if you had a good chancellor and treasury you pay half if not all in cash at a costs of 18 billion for half, which is a big saving on 80 billion.

    How much are your MPs worth to you now.

  63. Charles Davies
    August 20, 2016

    HS2 should be cancelled and The Great Central rebuilt at an estimated cost of £12billion. The money saved should go towards HS3.

    Hinkley has too many risks associated with it. There still isn’t a working example and the two being built are both years behind programme and massively over budget. Both have their own technical risks as well. Speaking as a senior engineer involved with the building of Sizewell ‘B’, I wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole!

    Heathrow should be cancelled and Boris Island built instead. Everyone is aware that we are an island and the South is desperately short of space for building houses and the Government is planning to demolish a village and replace it with a runway!!

    1. Lifelogic
      August 21, 2016

      Can Borris island be sufficiently well protected to deal with annother East Coast flood like that of 1953 and at reasonable cost? It seems to me that a five runway Heathwick hub is far better value, better located for the population and far quicker too or should be if we got on with it.

  64. PaulDirac
    August 20, 2016

    No to all three.
    HS2 is just a vanity project, if you consider that 10% of cost will be needed for operation and cost of money, this will result in one way ticket prices in the range of 500 pound.
    70 billion or so to shave 20 minutes, out of a total journey time of ~2-3 hours, total nonsense.
    BTW 35% of the cost goes to either Simmens or Japan for the rolling stock.
    Also, in view of the chaos due to the rail unions – HS2 will be a god sent gift for them.

    Hinkley point and the others – There are better solutions, the EWR is a dinosaur, there are new technologies, we can buy technologies, but execution must be British.

    Heathrow runway – A third runway now and a fourth in 10 years time? They promised to lower emissions (road and air) and the resultant traffic, but if they fail, will we close the runway?

  65. Iain Gill
    August 20, 2016

    Views on these 3:
    1 HST2 no stop the funding. Extra capacity between London and brum can be added by adding extra carriages, reducing 1st class and increasing 2nd class carriages. Improve Marleyborne to Snow Hill line too, not just Euston to New St. And encourage with tax breaks people to work other than 9 to 5 to lessen the peak time problem.
    2 Hinckley, no stop the funding. I would go for more smaller power stations. We could implement some new nuclear generation just be lifting the design of the nuclear propulsion unit from our current nuclear subs and connecting to steam turbines. We shouldn’t be reinventing the wheel. We shouldn’t be putting so many eggs in one basket.
    3 Heathrow additional runway? Don’t know. Not convinced by any of the arguments for any side of this debate.

  66. ian
    August 20, 2016

    Hospitals are already 60% private with PFI in money terms, the hospital ministration is all but private as trusts, the building and maintenance and apart from some nurses some doctor and other the rest is private, GPs are private, the only thing you can get out privatising hospitals changing the staff working there already into private staff apart from that the job done.

    What PMs talk about, is that only 6% of care is private that means done by private doctors and nurses.

  67. ferinand
    August 20, 2016

    The environmental problems are the same at Heathrow and Gatwick. Heathrow is the obvious choice -or no new runway capacity at all. That, I think, would be a disaster.

  68. Iain Gill
    August 20, 2016

    Infrastructure we do need investment in:
    1 A1 from Leeds up to Edinburgh to be turned into motorway.
    2 Some large places to have improved rail links, for instance the East Coast mainline should have parallel route through Sunderland.
    3 Overnight spare capacity of rail network to be better utilised by a new generation of sleeper trains, based on smaller numbers of carriage DMU (diesel multiple unit) approach. So that flexible number of carriages can be laid on, and it then becomes financially viable to visit smaller places. Start with the obvious routes, London-Newcastle, London-Liverpool, London-Manchester, London-Chester, etc. Significant increase in capacity to move people around the country for minimal extra investment. Indeed you could start such services with seated coaches only and I think there would be a demand, so easy to obtain rolling stock.
    4 Remove tolls from Dartford crossing. Just like the Skye road toll was removed, so should the Dartford crossing fee.
    5 All new build premises to be have fibre telco cables laid rather than copper. Marginal cost change as most of the cost is in digging up the road and not in the cable itself. Also any cable to premises needing to be replaced for whatever reason to be replaced with fibre not copper. Stop wasting money laying new copper, if we are digging the road up anyways we may as well lay fibre.
    6 Shift public investments, both direct and at arm’s length, in housing from places where people don’t want to live, to parts of the country where people do want to live. Stop funding jobless wastelands where there is no longer a reasonable jobs market within travelling distance. Do this primarily by allowing people to take any housing subsidy they are getting absolutely anywhere they want. Charge market rents for social housing, and balance this by increasing monies given to tenants to compensate. Allow the social housing rents in areas with few jobs to collapse.
    7 Major public investments to get single homeless men off the streets. Experiment with different ways of doing this.
    8 Major increases in border security. If I can get in without showing my passport I am sure others can.
    9 Stop funding schools which have been “requires improvement” according to Ofsted for more than 5 years and just give the parents a cheque to take anywhere they want.
    10 Stop funding clinical commissioning groups in the bottom quartile of those funding insulin pumps, with the longest waits, with the largest numbers of patient’s complaints, with the largest numbers of patients dying from easily treatable conditions, and give the money instead to the patients to take anywhere they want.
    11 Campaign to get international businessmen wanting to setup business units in the UK to fly into airports other than Heathrow. Perks and tax breaks for doing so.
    12 Reinstate some of the rail lines axed by Beeching where it is still reasonably easy to do so, i.e. the old line has not been blocked by buildings or similar. Do this in priority order.
    13 Stop funding GP practises which have been in the bottom quartile according to “NHS Choices” for more than 5 years. Ban the leaders of such practises from being leaders of any subsequent practise. Give the patients cheques to take anywhere they want to get replacement services.
    14 Invest in new Eurostar services to other European capitals.
    15 London needs a new sleeper train terminus, Euston and Paddington are not a long term solution. Maybe use the old Waterloo Eurostar station for this? Capacity needed to link to Waterloo if it is selected for this.

    1. rose
      August 21, 2016

      “Major public investments to get single homeless men off the streets. Experiment with different ways of doing this.”

      Just stop paying foreigners to have children and these men would be housed.

  69. Chris S
    August 20, 2016

    HS2 : Absolutely NO
    Spend some of the money on new roads instead which, unlike HS2, will not just be used by under 5% of the population, 100% of whom would have to pay for it !

    We desperately need a West Country Motorway from Southampton to Exeter and on to Plymouth or ideally one from Dover to Plymouth. And many others !

    Hinkley Point : Cancel in favour of several new Nuclear stations using far less expensive and proven technology. Hitachi have a very good proposal and already have a company established in the UK. No Chinese involvement.

    Heathrow : Cancel and go for another runway at Gatwick while planning a new four runway airport on the Goodwin Sands. Much cheaper than Boris Island and no hazard to navigation. Could be built in only five years.

  70. Anonymous
    August 20, 2016

    Are we still accepting EU directives and immigration at the moment ?

    If so…

    Why ???

    August 20, 2016

    When and where is the end of the line for railways? Will we go adding rails like a nine year old with his trainset ( you can tell how old I am ) until we get a bike for Christmas? “End of the road” is another pun…but I’ll not go there…sorry, couldn’t resist it

  72. Raymond Greenwood
    August 20, 2016

    A new runway should be built at Stanstead rather than Heathrow because it is (post EU) closer to the UK economy & Population centre of gravity, has less detrimental environmental and social impact, and is more economical. Following 48 years of dithering since The Roskill commission of 68 implies nobody is very sure of the merit of a 3rd Heathrow runway.
    There are more economic options of power generation than Hinkley from coal to wind power; if the UK must have nuclear energy then how can nuclear power station have been built 50+ years ago but we don’t have the wit to build them now .
    HS2 has been subject to questionable cost benefit analysis where, I understand, some heroic assumptions have been made. To maximize social cost benefit returns I suggest investing in many discrete public transport investments throughout the UK.

    August 20, 2016

    By the time of the end of the next Olympics:-

    ~ we shall have beaten the USA and be at the top of the medal table
    ~ brexited and be doubly full of ourselves
    ~ got JR as PM
    ~ the Labour Party will have got stuffed and in be a museum
    ~ be as bored as bloodhounds

  74. fedupsoutherner
    August 20, 2016

    They were comparing train times with flights this morning saying how much quicker flying is but there is not much difference really. By the time I get a bus to the station, change trains twice, get another bus to the airport, check in at the airport after going through security (nightmare) then finding out the plane is late taking off, flying and then getting to where I need to be, the time difference isn’t much. It’s the price that’s different. Trains are much too expensive for me to consider especially with the other transport needed.

    1. rose
      August 21, 2016

      VAT on trains and none on flights?

  75. Original Richard
    August 20, 2016

    It is not sensible to expand Gatwick because it is located to the south of London and the M25/M23 will not cope with the increased traffic.

    The additional capacity needs to be north of London and I cannot understand why Stansted is not considered.

    HS2 is a complete white elephant.
    There is no point in gaining 20 minutes to Birmingham especially when the Birmingham station will not even be in the centre of Birmingham.
    The money would be far better spent improving existing lines and providing more reliable and more comfortable travel.
    Just as the jumbo jet has proved in the long run to be more useful than Concord.

    Hinkley C doesn’t make either technical or financial sense.
    No reactors to this design have been completed and those in work are years behind schedule and massively over budget. It also makes no sense to involve the Chinese finaancially let alone for security reasons, unlesss there is something we have not beeen told.

    We should be building smaller nuclear power stations to existing proven design and technology in the short term and investing heavily in the research of the much safer thorium nuclear power technology.

  76. Martin Conboy
    August 20, 2016

    Scrap all three.
    1. The new runway belongs at Gatwick, with more space to build it, less residential pressure on the land it would use and around it, and Gatwick’s superior fast rail connections into London.
    2. Hinkley point is ridiculously expensive, and this cost was justified by two wholly spurious future scenarios, ‘Peak Oil’ and ‘Global Carbon Tax’, both of which postulate really expensive fossil fuels in a couple of decades hence, and both of which are utter balony.
    3. HS2 is ridiculous, there is absolutely no shortage of capacity by rail to the north. And the regional air services from London to Manchester and Leeds are undersubscribed.

  77. ian
    August 20, 2016

    Yes 67.8 billion apart from maintenance contracts going to the bankers for lending to PFI hospitals, the money they loan out 12.2 billion, all this has to come out of care for GPs budget, new equipment and staffs wages.

    So why do they do it because they need GDP to stay at number 5 in the world with a few seats on international organization so they can have their say.
    It the same with house prices, only thing is it not real growth it just paper money growth or for us it debt growth with more money going to bankers, that the price of being 5 th in the world, it comes at a high price, to get to number two the olympic games cost over 265 million a year up from 20 million a year with lotto and parliament.

    August 20, 2016

    Off Topic:
    The Mayor of London Mr Khan in a complete change of emphasis and day-to-day London affairs, has turned away briefly from condemning Mr Trump and now in this Sunday’s Observer is championing getting rid of Mr Corbyn. It appears there is much Mr Khan dislikes in the United Kingdom and America. No doubt he will grow accustomed to it in time.
    It seems “pressure ” has been put on him by the PLP Labour MPs to come out about on who he intends voting for, before election email ballot slips start spamming out of Labour HQ on Monday 22nd August quickly followed by snailmail real letters/ballots to those members most likely to vote against Mr Corbyn,- in line with Labour’s traditional form of democracy.
    Mr Khan obviously was put up for it by Labour’s dissident MPs. etc ed

  79. Ian williams
    August 20, 2016

    HS2 reportedly would cost about £30bn, that is only about 3 times the cost of the London Olympics, which had no intrinsic value. But HS2 would infinitely greater long term value.

    1. KevinCognito
      August 21, 2016

      “CANCEL HS2! You know that makes sense”. Hs2’s latest estimated cost at current prices is £56 Billion – that’s £56,000 million pounds – many times the cost of what France pays for high speed rail. In fact, during the Commons Select Committee hearing on HS2, a well-supported figure of £120 Billion, yes, £120,000 million pounds was put forward and was never challenged by HS2 Ltd. IF they ever start building it, the costs will escalate wildly. Worse still there is NO capacity problem on long distance rail, whereas there is a massive capacity problem for commuters everywhere, so don’t believe what Osborne and his pal said – and yes, Hs2 was Osborne’s vanity project; additionally the North is crying out for improved East-West links.
      Hs2 was designed on the back of a fag-packet, (i.e. very badly – hence no link to HS1 and the Continent, no link to Heathrow or any airport [no other country has shown this stupidity]) and launched for purely political reasons in the dying days of the last Labour Government to gain votes. All the key players: Mandelson, Darling etc have all since said it’s ridiculous. When launched they said it was vital to have speed; when that didn’t work they scratched around for a reason to justify it. The business case still pretends that businessmen don’t work on trains so they can then use an average businessman’s salary of around £60- 80K to calculate massive savings, based on highly questionable forecasts of very large numbers of people who are forecast to use it. See HS1 for the value of forecasts. To add insult to injury many stations well north of London will have their existing train services cut very substantially to produce £9 Billions of savings – yes, not a lot of people know that but it is a fact. if you don’t believe me, ask your MP or see HS2 Action Alliance. Finally, forget Freight benefit where HS2 is concerned: freight simply does not travel on high speed lines and there are far cheaper ways of building improved or dedicated freight lines, as has already been happening.
      All in all, HS2 is an absolutely classic case of MPs acting with the herd instinct (“it doesn’t affect me, so why don’t I just keep my head down”) and voting for it without ever examining the facts. If HS2 did not have powerful Ministers and a powerful business lobby behind it (see Greengauge 21) it would have died a death.
      Let us hope that Mrs Theresa May has the wisdom to do a Hinkley on HS2. She was the one who said that some people call the conservatives the “nasty party” back in 2002 and look where they are now. She could do a lot worse than calling HS2 the “nasty project” and pulling it in for a full review. She’d win a lot of respect for that.

  80. Miami.mode
    August 20, 2016

    Have come in late on this, but it’s painfully obvious that HS2 and Hinkley are liabilities and could even cost the Conservatives dear at an election.

    Airport capacity is a problem and not much thought seems to have been given to the airlines, who have to make a profit.

    Many years ago American Airlines started direct flights from Stansted to New York, but nobody wanted to use it. Stansted currently hosts a lot of Ryanair flights to eastern Europe, but these may fall drastically with Brexit.

    A major airport hub is necessary and if Heathrow expansion is difficult, then extra capacity at Gatwick with a high speed rail link roughly along the M3/M25 is the logical answer, particularly if the journey time could be less than 20 minutes. At many US airports it can often take more than 30 minutes to change terminals.

    Major airlines currently have no interest in flying direct to say China or Africa from Manchester or Birmingham, so a hub is essential.

  81. Beryl
    August 21, 2016

    HS2 – The annual report from the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) reveals that the confidence assessment for the HS2 project is amber/red, meaning that successful delivery of the project is in doubt. The IPA’s predecessor, the Major Projects Authority, also rated the project amber/red in the years 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15.

    The flagging of a project as amber/red implies that urgent action is required to address the situation.

    Four successive years, and counting, at amber/red and there’s not a sign of the problems with HS2 being addressed with urgency, or better still the project being scrapped and the money spent on schemes which will improve train travel across the whole of the country.

    1. Kate
      August 21, 2016

      You’re right Beryl. It’s time HS2 was cancelled and the money spent on transport improvements in the north.

  82. Andrew Bodman
    August 21, 2016

    Where is the logic in proceeding with HS2?
    The Major Projects Authority reported four years ago that HS2 was unaffordable when the official costs were just over £30bn. The official costs are now £56bn. However the official HS2 costs omit a number of elements. Including these and off balance sheet items is likely to bring the total cost to at least £140bn.
    The project faces technical issues with travelling at 360 kph, unresolved electrical engineering issues and the possible impact of Rayleigh waves.
    The phase two route (as published in 2013) has been planned to cross salt mines and coal mines both of which are subject to subsidence.
    HS2 is designed to relieve pressure on Virgin West Coast trains. They happen to be the only trains into London which do NOT have standing passengers during the morning three hour peak according to the latest Department for Transport data.
    There are numerous issues at Euston which HS2 Ltd will cause, including the reduction in approach tracks for classic trains which will affect the ability of this station to accommodate ever growing numbers of commuters at peak times.
    The most pressing issue to be addressed on the rail network is the growing number (173,000) of rail passengers who have to stand on trains every day during the morning three hour peak. The majority of these are on trains travelling into London from the south and east of the capital. Crossrail and the improved Thameskink will only help a small proportion of them. There are also thousands of rail passengers who have to stand on trains into other major cities such as Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Cardiff, etc.
    HS2 will be a railway used by the more well-off passengers but paid for by everyone.
    While the decision on Hinkley Point C is being reconsidered, it would be even more appropriate to reconsider the decision for HS2.

  83. David Tebbutt
    August 21, 2016

    It would be better to write off the HS2 spend to date and cancel the project. The commercial reasons have been explained elsewhere. The ‘consultation’ process has been a joke. It seems to have been designed to ignore all bar supportive comments.
    Impacts on homes and environment have been resolved by a combination of bribery and indifference.
    I live in Ickenham, where the track emerges from the tunnel. To do this in a commuter belt village is little short of criminal vandalism. Its impact on local roads, including the nearby A40 will be horrendous, not only through congestion but also through pollution. The dumping of spoil on local meadows and the siting of various ‘works’ will turn green fields into brown fields for many years, some probably forever, especially if the proposed tunnel lining factories go ahead.
    Many residents of Ickenham have worked hard to be able to afford to live here. Many others have known no other home. And now we’re all living in dread of what this Government seems determined to inflict on us.
    If HS2 really must go ahead, it would make so much sense to extend the tunnel below the nearby Colne Valley. But we’re not even allowed to mention this to the Lords Select Committee.

  84. Stuart Heather
    August 21, 2016

    I totally agree that HS2 is a waste of money and will not solve any of the UKs transport problems – investing now in upgrading the very comprehensive rail net work we already have will bring benefits to the whole country much quickly than this London centric white elephant
    Hinkley is using technology that does not work, is dangerous and will delivery power – if it e ver can be made to work- at over 3 times the current cost of energy how can anyone think its a good idea.
    Gatwick is a much better solution than Heathrow – if Heathrow – as suggested delivers 70,000 new jibs – where will people live and how will they commute to work – the surrounding is saturated in evry way – and pollution levels are already off the scale!

  85. Ewen Simpson
    August 21, 2016

    There never was a Business Case for HS2. It was one man’s obsessive dream that was taken up by Adonis then Osborne. Long Distance Rail never was the problem but Commuting was & still is, HS2 will exacerbate Commuting not solve it in any way. Network Rail have a proposal for Digital Signalling, which will mean 40% more traffic on existing routes, obviating the need for Any new Track such as the White Elephant that is HS2.

    Rail Infrastructure does need improvements such as the restored line in the border regions of Scotland & England- the restored line is an economic success for this area.
    Likewise we need for more of the Beeching Cuts to be assessed & restored where the need can be properly demonstrated. These will benefit more local communities than ever HS2 could hope to.

    The only possible major Rail Project, besides Cross Rail 2, that will benefit Major Communities is the so called HS3.

    Connectivity is the key. The Promoters & Engineers who created our System knew full well that connecting communities was the key to success, something that the Promoters of HS2 have failed to realise. HS2 will crucify existing connectivity.

    Part of the original Business Case predicted that up to 70% of the passenger traffic would be tourist generated. That would mean that each 1000 seat train travelling 4 and a half minutes apart, could have 700 tourists on each train, that means that 93333 tourists per hour could descend on Manchester, Leeds. Can you imagine the chaos on each concourse? That’s the problem with idealists, practicality zooms out of the window. Oh and by the way, what are the Tourist attractions that will excite these vast numbers of Tourists to travel to the North West or the North East?, thus being the financial foundation for HS2’s Business Case..

  86. John Killip
    August 21, 2016

    HS2 costing £1 Million a day now and £2 Million if it gets Royal Assent before Christmas is a Waste of Money Business would support and finance MAGLEV connections between Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool which would require far less taxpayer Money it would be faster than HS3 easier to construct and far less environmentally damaging. Failing that HS3 is far better than HS2 from a business case point of view as if it is designed to normal standards it will be able to take goods and not require special passenger trains and platforms to suit.

  87. DM
    August 21, 2016

    Cancel HS2 now. The case for this project has completely failed all reasonable economic and capacity tests. Spend that money fixing the overcrowding on the London commuter routes ( it is just a matter of time before there is a major incident ) and better rail links within the north to join the up. Increase number of train carriages on west coast main line etc.
    Cancel Hinckley C and replace with several of our own funded smaller nuclear generators spread around the country so we are not dependant on other countries.

    Make the A34 a motorway as it is the link from the southern ports to the north.

    Give both Gatwick and Heathrow additional runways.

    Time to subsidise the building of low cost housing throughout the land by making funds available to councils and associations. It is also time to use up some of the green belt land as you cannot stop people wanting to live in/near the capital.

    All of these projects will generate masses of local employment and tax receipts not to mention demand and therefore keep the economy going.

    Funding for all this from minimal cost loans and raised taxes all around, especially on those that can actually afford more. We need to invest at high levels while the costs as really low. This can be done within our means, it is just a matter of raising more from within.

  88. Murray Barter
    August 21, 2016

    Wasting up to £20 billion of taxpayers money on a foreign-owned, predominantly untaxed airport that heaps misery onto millions of law-abiding, taxpaying citizens is the worst of all.
    The UK is suffering from the aviation industry leading government policy, even its’ own regulator the CAA being funded by it. Add into this the ownership structures of the airports, airlines, air traffic control & lobbyist government influence, it is a conflicted, conflated mess of endemic proportion.
    Add in the government gullibility/acquiescence towards ‘predict & provide’ v. ‘managed demand’, it is an economic model vastly exaggerated & hyperboled to infer unlimited expansion is the only way the UK economy can thrive. This deliberately ignores the inconvenient truths of imports vastly outstripping exports on all runway expansion, the environmental damage (noise & pollution) & further congestion to the most densely populated area in the UK, if not Europe. It also ignores the negligible net GDP per passenger to the UK, given that the industry pays no VAT, no fuel duty, and negligible corporation tax. And its’ carbon footprint is truly shocking, avoiding worldwide capping through heavy and partisan lobbying. So yet again, this time at COP21, aviation (and shipping) were exempted from emissions control on seeking to control global warming, on the presumed assumptive logic that the planet itself will forgive those two sectors particular exemption.
    Heathrow is insatiable. It has demonstrated this by de facto porky-pie’ing to the T4 & T5 enquiries, which they themselves ruled out a 3rd runway “forever”. We already know they want a 4th runway, the plans for which were submitted to the Airports Commission. Schiphol has 6. It will NEVER take no as an answer, which is why the premise of Heathrow being located where it currently is must be questioned. It is the most noisy, most polluting, most complained about, most wrongly-located business in UK corporate history, which is why we as a country must bite the bullet now. Accept that it was a war-time planning mistake, and relocate it so if it is to be a truly UK-serving national asset, it ought to be located where the majority of the UK can get to it in under 2 hours – in the centre of the UK, coupled with HS rail linking the NE/NW/SE/SW of the country to it. This would give HS rail a true purpose, rather than a tumbleweed vanity project it currently is.
    UK taxpayer money would be better served in de-bottle-necking its’ current creaking transport infrastructure – on domestic train services, removing all road/rail crossings (especially on A-roads), though also circumnavigating road traffic lights & roundabouts by a vast expansion of underpasses, flyovers & link roads to get the country truly moving again. The uncalculated cost to the UK economy on lost time/money (and stress, wear & tear) of sitting at a junction, especially during peak hours, not to mention the carbon footprint of doing so, is mindblowing.

  89. David
    August 21, 2016

    HS2 is a project that will not help the North or even London for that matter. It will not run at the speeds first suggested. It will not run directly into London or the centre of Birmingham. It by-passes most important northern cities, and won’t link with HS1 or Heathrow. There will be no saving in time. People work on trains! So now capacity is the rationale behind it! Not so as capacity is fine on lines outside peak commuter hours. It will not help these commuters. Much better to relocate the line, as originally planned, alongside the M1 then branch off to all cities and forget the need for such speeds in our tiny island. Better still, for the North, create an east west line across the Pennines to connect with important cities and a good, fast line west to Cornwall that connects with existing infrastructure.

    The current scheme, from Old Oak Common west through Ruislip, Ickenham, Harefield and across the Colne Valley is recklessly devoid of any consideration for these densely populated, heavily trafficked areas through the London Borough of Hillingdon. Better still, should the project still go ahead, and possibly cheaper and less damaging for these towns, their very large populations and the beautiful Colne Valley countryside, would be to continue the Northolt tunnel under the entire Colne Valley. It would obviate the need for vast, and expensive, overground works.

    The DfT puts down rising costs to inflation and not a change in the original budget. Since 2013 there has been almost no inflation, indeed we have seen some deflation.

    The cost of HS2 fares will be prohibitive leaving most passengers unlikely to use it.

    Various Select Committees, experts and commentators have derided the plan. There is no place in an independent Britain for this project. Goodness knows there are more important infrastructure projects needed that will bring us greater long term benefits.

  90. Ronnie Howard
    August 21, 2016

    We just don’t need HS2, end of. Save the homes, businesses and wildlife that would be destroyed, irreversibly in the case of wildlife. With Brexit we have a great opportunity to sort out our own finances for the good of Great Britain and the money that would be wasted on HS2 could be put to much greater and good use for everyone in the UK e.g., armed forces, border controls, NHS, education. The list of better ways to use this money is endless.

  91. Idol
    August 21, 2016

    HS2 has to be the biggest White Elephant any UK government has ever proposed. I was hopefully that a change in PM and Chancellor might finally see the rug pulled but I am becoming less confident as there is yet to be a formal review announced. There are so many better ways to use the money so why can’t the government see this?

  92. Barbara Spence
    August 21, 2016

    HS2 will cause far too much environmental damage and is way too expensive.

  93. Philip Moore
    August 21, 2016

    HS2 will scare the landscape, not connect with city centres, not connect with Heathrow, not connect with Channel Tunnel, have problems integrating with existing railway, cost between £60 and £100 bn, will not solve capacity problems, does not good pay back on investment, may be obsolete before built.

  94. Kate
    August 21, 2016

    HS2 is unnecessary and a waste of money, not to mention having a devastating impact on people’s lives during and after construction, but also a detrimental impact on the environment.

    Given the state of Southern rail, and east/west transport links, this is where money should be spent.

    London is already busy enough !

  95. Ian Harvey
    August 21, 2016

    HS2 should be scrapped. It is pointless and the money freed up could be spent on both the existing infrastructure of the country and the NHS. We do not need a 20 minute shorter time between London and Birmingham. The environmental and community cost is not reflected in the budget. This is a vanity project that has had its day.

  96. Paul Monk
    August 21, 2016

    HS2 has to go down as the biggest Waste of Public Money ever.
    The Business Case is a total farce with No actual founding.
    What is the cost benefit if this tragedy?
    I tell you destruction to property and land so that a few Construction companies can make Millions of Poinds in profit !
    Is it really a benefit to arrive in Birmingham 20 Minutes earlier?
    Then there is the Noise pollution and dirt and dust for years whilst any construction works go on!
    In the name of sense stop this madness.
    I live in Ickenham and will be affected by this destruction.
    I believe that you are an intelligent Politician.
    Finally what is the actual Cost going to be ?
    Would it not make more sense to spend that money on our NHS or Education or Policing?

  97. Susan Casey
    August 21, 2016

    HS2 needs to be scrapped as there is no financial reason for it

  98. Jennifer Gray
    August 21, 2016

    Please cancel HS2 It will cost more than we can afford and ruin the lives of many people.

  99. Christine
    August 21, 2016

    Look to expand the regional airports and reduce their tax burden to make them viable rather than putting all the investment into the city airports.

  100. ian
    August 22, 2016

    HS2 is only project for bankers and oversea companies.

  101. rk
    August 22, 2016

    Definitely increase airport capacity. I don’t really mind where- I can accept that political opposition makes it impossible in Heathrow- but I can’t accept continuing to duck the decision.

    Hinkley Point seems a poor deal on economics and also national security. Instead of this complex subsidy- it should just be funded by the British taxpayer. If it all goes wrong- it will be the taxpayer that picks up the pieces anyway. There doesn’t seem to be all that much transparency either around issues like what will happen to the waste etc… this is the most worrying one of the three.

    HS2 – somehow the business case focus seems to have shifted from ‘is this a good idea?’ to… ‘can we possibly justify this as break-even?’. It doesn’t seem like a top priority for investment in railways- I’d prefer to see investment in joining up Northern and Midlands cities.

  102. Mrs stanley
    August 22, 2016

    We cerntainly do not want the runway Heathrow needs to change its way of business encouraging more long haul and less trips to Scotland. The noise and pollution and additional impact on people’s home and schools should not be a decision made by other people than those who live there. Our rail infrastructure is improving with the cross rail coming we do not need to be dictated by Heathrow on another runway for profit alone

  103. Philip Taylor
    August 22, 2016

    One of the proposed benefits for HS2 is that it will help spread business away from London to the rest of the country. However evidence from around the world (France, Spain and China) is that if you build a high speed rail line to the capital more businesses move to the capital, exactly the reverse effect to the one wanted. It would be much better to cancel or postpone HS2 and invest in railways in the rest of the country that desperately need it, like the line from Liverpool inland across the northern heartland.

  104. JayKay
    August 22, 2016

    HS2 has an unbelievably bad business plan, a private company would never have considered going ahead with it. The BCR was bad when it was first announced and gets worse with every upward cost adjustment. HS2 Ltd have tried to work the figures in their favour by using out of date data and reinforcing misconceptions that have been promoted to bolster it`s viability. Now its all about `capacity`, but the capacity problems on the WCML, if indeed they do exist, are all `short haul` and HS2 is a long haul train. From Birmingham to London no in-between stops. From Birmingham to Manchester, only one, Crewe, which is so close to Manchester it is easier to take a local service.
    The up-grades announced for the East coast service demonstrate that investment now can make a considerable difference without waiting ten years for a new line.
    Now is the time for a new Government to look at this project, it`s cost, it`s environmental impact and the effect it is having on all of the thousands of people along its proposed route, they have been in a living hell for between 6 and 4 years.
    HS2 is far too costly and is being pushed forward by construction firms who stand to make a lot of money from it. Our new PM said she wanted to work for all the people and take the ordinary persons views on board. HS2 is a prime example of where she can do this. Poll after Poll shows that people want the HS2 money allocated elsewhere and want this `white elephant` to be scrapped. Time for Government to face up to the real facts on HS2 and just say NO

  105. Barry and Rita Barne
    August 22, 2016

    HS2. We haven’t read all the comments above and we may say similar things. If you need a three page letter it can be sent. This project is definitely a waste of money and will not be affordable to use for all but some few business travellers. Travel on any UK rail transport and you will immediately see that what is needed is MASS transport = Longer Trains or Double deck trains. Or both. There is no valid excuse not to do this. Raising bridges and gantries and longer platforms will provide plenty of work. Also it would not blight and destroy a lot of peoples lives. Why is it that those in Government cannot see this. Maybe we need people with real vision.

  106. Prakash Patel
    August 22, 2016

    HS2 is a non cost effective egoistic political plan that will not benefit anyone- 20 minutes off the journey to and from Birmingham is definitely not a benefit at this cost. The upheaval and misery it will cause to thousands of residents along the track during the construction and for ever more after is unjustifiable.

  107. Michael
    August 22, 2016

    New airport capacity is needed. The decision as to where is long overdue. Heathrow seems to be the choice of businesses and travelers but is politically a hot potato. Gatwick is an alternative but, if chosen, MUST have fast and efficient links with Heathrow for passengers, baggage and freight.

    I support nuclear as an essential part of the energy mix but Hinkley Point is not the correct way to go about it. It’s too expensive and too risky technically. We definitely need new capacity that is low carbon. Wind/solar/tidal will never provide an adequately reliable source (at least until someone invents a low-cost, reliable and safe way to store energy to smooth out the peaks and troughs in supply and demand). Distributed mini-nuclear plants using factory built modules would provide flexibility, security and economy. However, for some reason, politicians seem hell bent on the grandiose mega-project approach.

    HS2 is another mega-project but this time with a completely fabricated justification. It will cause untold misery for many (over 1 million people live within 1km of the route), will benefit only a very few, will cost tax-payers a mind-boggling sum of money and will never live up to expectations. It should be scrapped immediately and the money saved invested in properly thought out rail transport improvements that will genuinely help the wider travelling public and stimulate economic growth. A good start would be to look at the ideas of High Speed UK ( At the very least HS2 should be “paused” while alternatives are properly examined.

  108. Sue
    August 22, 2016

    I agree, totally, with the overwhelming majority of posts suggesting that HS2 should be scrapped. It is a complete wate of money which should be spent on improving the existing rail network. Commuting is the urgent problem not (relatively) long distance travel. The business case was never strong, and it’s now non existent with budget cuts planning to end the line at Old Oak Common rather than Euston, and scrap stations in the Midlands and North. Farcical! As Beryl pointed out, The IPA has flagged the project amber/red for FOUR successive years. Why is the government choosing to ignore this?

    Gatwick is a better option than Heathrow for airport expansion. Stuart Heather put it perfectly “The surrounding area (Heathrow) is saturated in every way” – M25, M4, nearby M3 and local roads. How will additional passengers ever reach the airport in time for their flights, and where will the additional airport workers live? There is an existing housing shortage. Equally importantly, pollution levels are already dangerous.

  109. JamesG
    August 22, 2016

    On Hinkley even fervently pro-nuclear campaigners think its a bad deal. I was hoping the EU would scrap it for us based on illegal subsidies. If the other 2 reactors had been on time, on budget then it might have been marginally ok. Alas EDF unions would probably thank us for stopping it.

    On HS2 there is no point. You can achieve almost exactly the same by having non-stop services on the existing lines. What I’d like to see is a ring-rail to avoid London entirely. Secondly I’d like to see some system that avoids us having to stand for 40 minutes: If you buy a ticket you deserve a seat.

    On Heathrow. I’d say that smaller airports are much better options. If it wasn’t for the unexploded bombs in the Thames estuary then Boris’s plans seemed best to me.

    On housing I hanker after the French system where individuals can buy a plot from an architect with a choice of house styles and proceed to obtain their house in a year with no planning, no fuss. Currently in the UK we are beholder to a cartel of large developers who have no interest in increasing supply because that reduces prices.

  110. Tom B
    August 22, 2016

    Out of the three blockbuster projects HS2 seems to be a really wasteful project given its massive cost and the extremely weak business case. It swallows an obscene large amount of tax payers money. It would be more sensible to look at cheaper and faster alternatives as suggested by . Unlike HS2 this would also provide better and cleaner connectivity.
    Various corporations such as Google, Tesla, Uber and all large car manufacturers are developing autonomous (driverless) cars which further undermine the business case for HS2. Britain’s road infrastructure must not be neglegted at the expense of HS2.

    Additional airport capacity in the South East should be a key priority for the government and should be implemented as a matter of urgency to boost Britain’s connectivity with the rest of the world and future trade. If Heathrow expansion is too difficult then Gatwick should go ahead asap.

  111. Richard Howard
    August 22, 2016

    Neither HS2 nor Hinckley Point have anything remotely approaching a justifiable business case. At a time of strained public finances there are better uses to which further borrowed money could be put, such as upgrading the existing under-used west coast mainline and building smaller nuclear power stations of proven design without any exorbitant electricity price guarantee. Regarding Heathrow, environmental considerations make expanding the north runway the only viable option. But a second runway at Gatwick together with improved transport links would be a far better option.

  112. Eric Gustavson
    August 22, 2016

    Anyone who has looked into the HS2 project in the slightest detail cannot think how it was ever allowed to get this far.
    It is hugely expensive ( and rising )

    It does not run into Central London and it does not go into Central Birmingham.

    Birmingham is not in the middle of a desert ,it already has good road ,rail and air connections.

    HS2 is very destructive to beautiful countryside ,communities peoples lives and the capital values of their homes.

    At first it was all about speed and time saving .When that was proved to be false it changed to be all about capacity. This has also been shown to be incorrect with much cheaper options available, and far less destructive

    On the governments own figures HS2 will require half the total output of the proposed Hinkley Point nuclear power station to run it !

    The solution is therefor obvious– Cancel both projects and spend the money where it is needed— namely on good East/West rail connectivity

    Finally HS2 has shown repeatedly that it is not the organisation to run this vanity project.

    Eric Gustavson.

  113. Katie Barradell
    August 22, 2016

    The third runway at Heathrow is madness environmentally, socially and morally, it needs to be put to bed once and for all so local residents and indeed Heathrow itself can finally emerge from the ongoing limbo. The local area already has disproportionate and dangerous levels of air pollution, noise and congestion. A third runway would effectively make the area an environmental ghetto. Some things are beyond economic argument.

  114. Alan
    August 22, 2016

    HS2 has no economic justification, would cause chaos to townships such as Ickenham in Middlesex, is currently sheduled to follow an illogical route, will result in dstruction of popular leisure facilities such as Hillingdon Outdoor Activities Centre as well as ancient woodlands, currently neither starts at Euston in London nor arrives in Birmingham and the actual cost of the total project will be far above the 50 billion pounds claimed. There are also significant doubts about the stability of the rail stricture currently proposed.

    Hinkley is doomed to fail if any government decides to proceed. The technology has never been proved and the sponsers (France and China) have no credence as far as what is currently proposed is concerned.

    The country needs urgently needs Heathrow to be entended by adding a third runway and should be proceeded with without further delay.

  115. Lindsay McDougall
    August 22, 2016

    More infrastructure should not be at the expense of fiscal consolidation.

    HS2 should not be built. There is a much better value for money mix of smaller transport projects.

    Hinkley Point should be postponed until a reactor design of that type has been successfully installed somewhere else. More cheap gas fired power stations are needed in the interim.

    Energy from off shore wind farms is 50% than energy from on shore wind farms because of distribution costs. More expensive than nuclear energy.

    Regarding London’s extra runway, don’t say Heathrow, say Gatwick. It’s politically buildable, checks out environmentally and doesn’t burden taxpayers.

  116. John Robertson
    August 22, 2016

    I’m thinking a fishing boat manufacturing yard facility investment in England or Wales.

    We will be bringing fallow fields back into production so what are the storage and processing implications of that and facility help needs?

    We need a department that is a free help centre for information on trade with non EU countries.

    we will have the ability to place a tariff on cheap Asian steel to re generate our steel industry so investment into the plants in anticipation.

    Instead of importing fish etc we will be catching and distributing it to towns and cities in the UK. Any facilities to aid that?

    Eastern European countries are calling for their skilled tradespeople to return home following that brain drain. We need to replace them so apprentiship programs and investment.

    We are likely now to get tariff free agreements with US and Asian car makers. If the EU impose tariffs on EU car exports to us then we need to facilitate the way for them to set up factories here to avoid them along with their supply chains.

    Heathrow? What are our likely new busy travel routes to be?? We need to look at that again.

    No doubt with the CAP and cheap labour we have fallen decades behind in firm technology such as picking and extraction etc. We need to see what is out there now, for instance hydroponics and think is there any way we can aid their development in tax incentives etc.

    Lots ore but we don’t need to be spending money now on HS2 etc.

    No end of things hey, that was my 10 mins of thought but we could go on for hours I recon.

    1. John Robertson
      August 22, 2016

      For instance on hydroponics (another technology area we fell behind on) the food plant grows from a specific designated pod on a tower negating the need for a eastern european labourer to slave in a field picking. Just need a UK subject/citizen to operate the picking system that pays a reasonable amount.

  117. Mrs Dale M Mills
    August 22, 2016

    Thank You for yr forthright views. Shared by many, I feel. The case for HS2 is not even legitimate, in my view. Huge waste of Public Funds when London Trains Gates are Closed to workers trying to get home! Standing Room Only, even from Uxbridge. Total Disruption to countryside, and, Manchester, quite rightly, dont want it either! The trouble is, it boils down to Big Money v People (?). Can we win? I do hope Sanity prevails
    Heathrow cannot be supported by infrastructure, Gatwick can.

  118. wiseowl
    August 23, 2016

    I agree with all the comments calling for HS2 to be cancelled. With 21st century technology eg video conferencing this project will be out of date before it’s finished. It is enormously expensive and environmentally devastating; future generations will be aghast at the vandalism carried out in the very dubious name of progress. The current proposed route became obsolete when the link to Heathrow was cancelled.Anyone who has looked into it at all can see that the arguments in favour don’t stand up to scrutiny. We need quicker, less expensive solutions to our rail network problems, so cancel this white elephant now before any more taxpayers’ money is wasted on it.

  119. Jeff L
    August 23, 2016

    I confidently predict that if the first phase of HS2 (London to Birmingham) goes ahead, it will end up so over budget and discredited that subsequent phases will be abandoned.
    Hence no economic benefit for the north of Great Britain after spending £100 billion.
    For tangible benefit, the money would be better spent on directly improving transport links between cities in the North and commuter services into London from the South rather than on this grandiose vanity project. Abandon HS2 now!

    1. REPay
      August 25, 2016

      Spot on – HS3 is the answer and also will help address those in the North who feel ignored ! The change of govt is a perfect opportunity to drop the HS2 white elephant.

  120. Jean Gustavson
    August 23, 2016

    Hs2 is the single most destructive folly since the 2nd world war in this country.

    It charges ahead through anything that stands in it’s way. People ‘s lives are as nothing & the stress of 6 years for those affected discounted as long as they can show that they have counted bats.
    We are told that 400 yr old oaks will be replaced!!
    On & on it goes .
    Please use everything in your power to stop this TERRIBLE waste
    Jean Gustavson

  121. Matt Semple
    August 23, 2016

    More infrastructure – YES; HS2 – NO. Our infrastructure is woefully inadequate for the population size now, let alone the burgeoning taking place. Grandiose, vanity projects costing £90bn and upwards are not the answer, and scarce resources should be prioritised elsewhere. MPs and peers are prime beneficiaries of high speed rail as long as they have a need to be in London – so scarcely surprising there is overwhelming support – which is not echoed in the general population. The cost/benefit exercises for HS2 beggared belief ( I have not met a single business person who agrees with the finding that time spent on a train journey is of no benefit whatsoever). It is not inconceivable that online communication, video-conferencing, etc, will eventually permeate even Westminster and reduce the occasions on which MPs and peers need to congregate in one place. Meanwhile even the House of Lords Economic Committee found that the case for HS2 had not been made. We are already hearing the mewling that so much has been spent we can’t stop now – whose fault is that? Bite the bullet – STOP HS2.

  122. Christine Martin
    August 23, 2016

    HS2 represents a colossal waste of money benefiting very few of the country’s population. The proposed rail link will swathe through the countryside, destroying homes and disrupting the lives of many people at outrageous costs when our country requires money for so many other purposes. Having lived within the London area for many years, I am now fortunate to live in Cornwall. However, the west country along with other parts of the U.K. have woefully inadequate train services and indeed public transport systems. I can see no point in so much money being spent on HS2 when it could be spent more effectively elsewhere. It is time to “cut the losses” and cut out HS2

  123. Richard Dyott
    August 24, 2016

    If there is a lack of capacity on the railways then this will not be solved by HS2 only serving Birmingham/Manchester with no intermediate stops. What is required is upgrading of the existing system which is available to all with stations along the entire track. Phillip Hammond, when Secretary of State for Transport, said that HS2 was a “rich man’s toy” and the Prime Minister says that she wishes to govern for all. HS2 should be scrapped in favour of more all embracing improvements. There are too many other reasons as to why HS2 should not be built to set out here.

    At least Hinckley would have fed electricity into the national grid for the benefit of all but it seems there are other cheaper ways of generating nuclear power.

    Air transport poses a problem but if a hub is essential then “Boris Island” seems the best answer.

  124. Simon Shaw
    August 25, 2016

    HS2 will bring the outer west London area to a traffic stand still for years and breed discontent and misery among a large number of people. The benefits of getting to Birmingham a few minutes faster were dubious anyway. If a few minutes really matter that much then a change in working practice is called for, or a skype account…

    In an internet-connected world we should be encouraging sparing use of travel fuel not encouraging it.

    If the Government is looking for ways of employing people then let’s have more doctors, nurses, and teachers. Let’s also have a more attractive apprentiship route to get more plumbers, electricians, etc.

  125. Gary Lote
    August 25, 2016

    HS2 – we are currently in uncharted territory, Brexit, the pound under pressure, the uncertain future of where we are going, all these expensive infrastructure projects, can we afford them or are we to burden future generations with even more debt, Hs2 is being built for the South East and London, it has been suggested it is to convey BBC staff to and from their studios in Salford to their homes in London. This is the absurd but this is what has been suggested. In order for me personally to catch this train I will have to travel to Birmingham, adding 40 minutes to my journey to get to London 10 minutes earlier in effect adding to my travelling time. The current government needs to concentrate on important infrastructure projects to keep the lights on, and ensuring the security of the nation because if we carry out some of these projects when they overspend something has to give. And that will involve cuts to defence, the NHS, and Social Services in respect of the vunerable in the country. If we want one nation we have to work at it and not just for the previleged.

  126. Roy
    August 25, 2016

    HS2 is being built to save time traveling from city to city.Most of the UK residents
    live several miles from HS2 stations but very close to the existing local stations.
    To get to HS2 stations will take a long journey and time negating any benefit gained by traveling on a 250 mph train.Use the money to improve roads and save drivers waiting long times in traffic queues.This will be far more benefit to many more people than HS2 will ever be.
    Stop this utter waste of money now.

  127. Bryn Bird
    August 25, 2016

    As an engineer I offer an engineering perspective. Clearly housing, HS2, Hinckley and Heathrow all boost my sector so wearing my commercial engineering hat they are all to be applauded. The engineering fundamentals are however heavily flawed with the exception of housing. New, or newly converted housing, gives the opportunity for us all to live more sustainably so let’s get on with that but we spend so little of our time in our houses and most of this time we are asleep. Much of the rest of our time we are away from home moving about using energy inefficiently. Let’s rethink our lifestyles fundamentally.
    Rail was always flawed as an engineering concept. It uses the engineering principle that steel rolling on steel is low friction and therefore low energy. It is however low traction which means that trains have to be kept a long way apart and the occupation density of a railway is always going to be low and the faster the lower. Commercially rail users have never been willing to pay the true running cost of railways and have always been subsidised either by the original shareholders losing their shirts or subsequently by governments. Why commit to building more railways (HS2) and more subsidies. Within the timescale of building HS2 we will have some form of driverless cars. These, having conventional rubber tyres, can be run even closer together than people driven cars and therefore achieve even higher road use densities especially if they have dedicated driverless roads. Well within the timescale of building HS2 we could convert existing railways to driverless roads free from the hazards that will inevitably delay the adoption of driverless cars on existing roads.
    Hinckley Point as currently envisaged is simply wishful, commercial, thinking. To have 7% of our power supplied by such a monster makes no logical sense because to cover for when this much capacity is closed for maintenance or repairs means that you simply have to have that extra capacity in some other form elsewhere. Also it is baseload only so is inflexible and transfers proportionally more of the required flexibility onto other types of electricity generators. At the same time as this, alternative energy sources, also inflexible, are increasing their proportion of the energy provision and thereby making this issue worse. We need to concentrate our engineering nous on increasing storage and reducing demand at the same time as planning DC links to Sahara solar farms.
    Heathrow has grown to the size that to increase it further comes up against the difficulty of ever diminishing returns and what flying is or should be all about. Why not the Goodwin sands, close to a large part of Europe not just the UK? Brexit or not we want close links with Europe.

  128. David G. Scott C.Eng
    August 25, 2016

    HS2 should be cancelled as there is no sensible business case and it will destroy a huge part of unspoilt British Landscape. It is a vanity project and the supposed benefits in travelling time are so small that the huge expense cannot be justified. A similar sum of money spent on improvements to existing rail infrastructure would surely prove far more beneficial overall.

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