20 Miles More – Liverpool’s Essential Low Carbon Link
High-speed rail has polarised opinions across the nation, health especially when it comes to sustainability. After all, HS2 is infrastructure, and concrete is grey not green, isn’t it?
But if Britain is to transition toward a low carbon economy then we need sustainable infrastructure. Rail travel, even at high-speed, is low carbon in comparison to the alternatives.
It is the speed of travel which is the motivation for passengers to shift from high carbon modes of transport to low carbon rail.
High-speed rail requires as little energy as just 3kWh per 100 passenger-km travelled – 27 times less than car travel.
And it isn’t just car drivers who will switch to high-speed rail, but also air passengers. Millions fly every year between Scotland and the South. Getting these passengers to switch to a faster rail alternative will have significant, positive environmental benefits.
The ideological choice between building or not building HS2 is a false one. The real choice is between providing a low-carbon infrastructure or new road building.
The Chancellor’s recent Autumn Statement heralded a £15bn investment in the road network. This is a fraction of what will be needed if we don’t increase rail capacity with HS2. New roads will also have an impact on our countryside. The land-take of a km of new motorway is three times that of a km of high-speed rail line.
The name “High-Speed” 2 is a misnomer, a more appropriate one would be “High-Capacity”. Transferring long distance trains from the existing rail tracks on to the new HS2 line will release the existing tracks for new freight and local passenger services.
But this is quandary for Liverpool, as HS2 is proposed to stop short of the City Region, therefore no new rail capacity will be created in the City Region for the massive increase in freight from the Port or associated logistics.
This could result in the 250,000 HGVs travelling though the City to the Port every year because rail isn’t an alternative.
The proposals also won’t release track space needed to expand Merseyrail services to the east of Liverpool, getting commuters out of their cars and onto trains.
Simply put, Liverpool won’t get the low-carbon infrastructure it needs for sustainable growth.
But the future needn’t be so grey. The HS2 route runs to within 20 miles of Liverpool. We have show that it is not only affordable but great business to extend the 330 mile network just 20 Miles More to include the city. It would not only link this great City Region to the North-South HS2 route but it could simultaneously be the start of a West-East HS3, linking Liverpool to Manchester, Leeds and the North.
We’re passionate about Liverpool and the leading role it has to play in Britain’s future – a future that must be sustainable.
Now is the time to go 20 Miles More.
20 Miles More
The campaign for a direct high-speed rail link for Liverpool
 Sustainable Energy Without The Hot Air, p 128, David JC MacKay.