HS2

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plodder
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Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Thu Feb 18, 2021 3:26 pm

HS2 is being built and we aren’t going to stop it. We can, however, engage positively with it, recognising that if done right, it works towards our Green transport goals. We must campaign to ensure that:
  • its route minimises degradation and erosion of natural habitats and respects nearby communities;
  • it interacts in a positive way with its environment, using high-quality architecture and sensitive integration with landscape and townscape;
  • anyone or any environment affected by its construction or operation impacts is fairly compensated using best-practice habitat enhancement and restoration and noise / access abatement;
They also point out
It’s absorbing campaigning energy which would be much better directed at the Government’s road-building programme RIS2, which is an order of magnitude more destructive to habitats, communities and well-being and which is a massive CO2 generator;
https://hs2.green/who-we-are/

Sounds like you should sign up?

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Bird on a Fire
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Re: HS2

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Feb 18, 2021 5:56 pm

Worthy goals for sure. But looking round their site, it seems to be mostly disagreeing with other 'greens' about the level of environmental damage being done, and a bit of saying "don't worry about that anyway, some of these roads coming up are even worse" which is a fair point as far as it goes, but seems to contradict the
We must campaign to ensure that:
  • its route minimises degradation and erosion of natural habitats and respects nearby communities;
  • it interacts in a positive way with its environment, using high-quality architecture and sensitive integration with landscape and townscape;
  • anyone or any environment affected by its construction or operation impacts is fairly compensated using best-practice habitat enhancement and restoration and noise / access abatement;
bit - none of those points are currently met, so they're position seems to be that we must simultaneously campaign for those things but also ignore them and focus on roads instead. I was trying to find the environmental campaigning pages of their site, but they seem to be few and far between among all the "pipe down, other greens" ones.

Which is a bit confusing.

I'm still not convinced that campaign energy spent on HS2 is at the expense of campaigning against roads anyway. And at least Highways England have committed to No Net Loss, unlike HS2.
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Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Fri Feb 19, 2021 7:12 am

You need to read up on, say, the Lower Thames crossing to HS2 before you can get away with glib comments like that.

There is absolutely a finite amount of campaigning energy and it diminishes every time people realise they’re barking up the wrong tree.

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Woodchopper
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Re: HS2

Post by Woodchopper » Fri Feb 19, 2021 7:54 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 5:56 pm
I'm still not convinced that campaign energy spent on HS2 is at the expense of campaigning against roads anyway.
I don't buy that argument either. It'll apply to an individual but organizations can grow as they get volunteers or donations. So if a message is popular it'll generate more capacity.

That said, I do think that exaggerated claims have a negative effect. They reinforce perceptions that in general environmental campaigners in general are prone to exaggeration, which makes it easy for people to decide not to do anything about global warming and other real problems.

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El Pollo Diablo
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Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Fri Feb 19, 2021 1:09 pm

There are, of course, several problems at work here. If it is the case that HS2 could be doing better in terms of biodiversity - and I'm not questioning that point, just acknowledging that some don't believe it - then there are several sources of that.

One of the things to bear in mind is that the transport secretary was, for three wholly unwelcome and infuriating years to those of us in the transport sector, Christopher Stephen Grayling. He's a f.cking idiot. You don't need me to tell you that. But if you've never had to see the impact of his being secretary of state for the area that you have some good knowledge and experience in, it's quite hard to understand just how sh.t he is/was.

I've told this story before, but it's worth re-emphasising to try to get across the purity and strength of his closed-mindedness and idiocy. Some of the work I and my team do contributes to understanding the whole life costs of different options for investment in the railway. In track, one of the big innovations is under-sleeper pads. They're not exactly advanced tech - they are literally just foam pads attached to the underside of concrete sleepers (the preferred sleeper type on the railway), which cushions the interface between sleeper and ballast, and reduces the forces transferred to the ballast. Over time, ballast - the stones used to support railway sleepers - wear down from the repeated force of trains passing over them, and reduce in size. This leads to uneven compaction and that, in turn, can cause various other issues including corrugation of the rails. Certain refurbishments may be done, and actions such as tamping or stoneblowing can help. Eventually, though, the ballast needs renewing. This requires closure of the railway, typically booked years in advance, and is a job which is extremely heavy on materials, plant and labour. It's expensive. Under-sleeper pads hugely extend the lifetime of the ballast between renewals, by about 40%, for an up-front spend of around 2% extra. From a whole life cost perspective, they're an absolute no-brainer, so much so that they're now required by policy in Network Rail.

East West Rail, however, isn't internal to Network Rail (despite several NR staff working on the project development) - it's a separate company. As part of the specification of the reinstatement of the line, under-sleeper pads were recommended as being required on the basis of whole life cost. During "value engineering" workshops, however, which are basically just excuses for lowering the spend regardless of impact*, the pads were removed from the spec on the say of Grayling himself, because they cost extra money. 40% extra life of the track up in smoke, because of his stupidity. EWR have made other terrible decisions, such as not electrifying from the start**. But nonetheless, hopefully you can see the impact that these stupid decisions have on how things go.

Grayling was, unfortunately, SoS for much of the key period of the development of the specification for HS2. Despite them having the enormous budget they do, they are looking at every point for how to avoid spending too much money. Naturally, this doesn't extend to the number of directors they have or the compensation they pay to their contractors, and HS2 have got a good team looking at whole life cost-based decision making for the infrastructure itself (led by someone from our team). But when it comes to things like cycle lanes or meeting biodiversity commitments which lie outside of the assets directly managed by the company, those are the sort of "green crap" areas where Grayling would have been pushing them to cut costs. HS2 and Network Rail have had, shall we say, "discussions" around issues such as interfaces between the two railways, and particularly EWR alignment north of Aylesbury. HS2 are trying their best to transfer as much of the cost out of their own project as possible. It makes sense, but doesn't always fly.

None of this is trying to excuse anything, just to explain. A £100bn budget is, of course, absolutely enormous. But be aware that hidden within that budget are some often furiously energetic discussions about how far that stretches and what HS2 can avoid doing - discussions encouraged, of course, by the government, who would rather it didn't cost £100bn, but a lot less.


*see the Grenfell Tower Inquiry for more details
**a decision which Grant f.cking Shapps has recently supported, because oooh big shiny battery trains. Network Rail's decarbonisation strategy will see all but the most uneconomic 10% of the railway electrified, which will eventually include EWR. Grant Shapps is a moron.
Mike Patton wrote:"You overdo it sometimes. There I am, peeing on Axl Rose’s teleprompter." He looks rueful: "I didn’t really have to do that."

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El Pollo Diablo
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Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Fri Feb 26, 2021 2:33 pm

Looks like the final protestor has left the tunnels outside Euston, leaving behind the phenomenal achievement of delaying the construction of a taxi rank by about four weeks, less time than Boris Johnson managed through his sheer lack of ability to make a decision
Mike Patton wrote:"You overdo it sometimes. There I am, peeing on Axl Rose’s teleprompter." He looks rueful: "I didn’t really have to do that."

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Bird on a Fire
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Re: HS2

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri Feb 26, 2021 10:30 pm

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 1:09 pm
There are, of course, several problems at work here. If it is the case that HS2 could be doing better in terms of biodiversity - and I'm not questioning that point, just acknowledging that some don't believe it - then there are several sources of that.

One of the things to bear in mind is that the transport secretary was, for three wholly unwelcome and infuriating years to those of us in the transport sector, Christopher Stephen Grayling. He's a f.cking idiot. <expands at length>
Thanks for this post, EPD - it's an interesting insight. I've long suspected that some of the issues were basic penny-pinching, and the way Grayling combines a price-of-everything-value-of-nothing attitude with being, as you eloquently put it, a f.cking idiot, does suggest he may deserve a reasonable share of the blame.

The comparison with under-sleeper pads is a really nice example of how short-term cost-cutting undermines the long-term objectives of the project, and it's one I'll try to remember. I've not seen any challenges to the £150m price tag in the Wildlife Trusts report (and doing those kinds of large-scale connectivity exercises is their bread and butter, so I'd expect them to be roughly correct), which puts it in a similar price ballpark. "A green corridor: the under-sleeper pads of biodiversity compensation" has a nice ring to it.

I do hope folk can keep the pressure up so that the next phases go ahead with better attention to the conservation aspects.
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Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Sun Feb 28, 2021 7:48 pm

This aerial shot of the trackbed gives an idea of the immense destruction being caused by the huge scar on the landscape resulting in the destruction of blah blah blah

https://mobile.twitter.com/CEaston66/st ... 6494433282

Suggest googling A14 construction photos for a comparator.

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El Pollo Diablo
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Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Wed Mar 03, 2021 8:24 am

This looks like a move in the right direction
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/202 ... dApp_Other
Mike Patton wrote:"You overdo it sometimes. There I am, peeing on Axl Rose’s teleprompter." He looks rueful: "I didn’t really have to do that."

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Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Wed Mar 03, 2021 11:17 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 7:54 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 5:56 pm
I'm still not convinced that campaign energy spent on HS2 is at the expense of campaigning against roads anyway.
I don't buy that argument either. It'll apply to an individual but organizations can grow as they get volunteers or donations. So if a message is popular it'll generate more capacity.
I don't think this view is correct. Point me towards the well organised and highly publicised campaign against new roads please?

e.g.

https://twitter.com/AdamWJT/status/1367068017423704064

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Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Wed Mar 03, 2021 11:19 am

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 8:24 am
This looks like a move in the right direction
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/202 ... dApp_Other
what, the balanced reporting from the guardian?

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El Pollo Diablo
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Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Wed Mar 03, 2021 11:40 am

Ha, well quite. For a paper which says that editorially it supports HS2, it sure seems like it very strongly doesn't like HS2.
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