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21 minutes ago, Bernard Lamb said:

Why does the BBC publish such rubbish without any checks regarding accuracy?

I got as far as the phrase "currently on hold" and that was enough for me.

It would be far better if they did an item on the cost of cancellation, looking into just what contracts exist with subcontractors and what financial penalties they involve.

Bernard

 

 

In essence because they’re not challenged rigorously enough when their reporting is inaccurate or lacking balance. 

 

While I’m sure that there are still good journalists and researchers at the BBC (I’m not talking about on air ‘presenters’ here) I suspect that the regime under which they are obliged to operate doesn’t openly and actively encourage them to do the ground work necessary to fully understand a major story and present it in a balanced away.  

 

I know that since Reith’s time the BBC's purpose is to inform, educate and entertain.  My feeling is that today they get that proportion wrong in much of their news and current affairs output.

 

But then again, perhaps I’m just getting too old now and not in the BBC’s target audience. 

Edited by 4630
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1 hour ago, Bernard Lamb said:

Why does the BBC publish such rubbish without any checks regarding accuracy?

I got as far as the phrase "currently on hold" and that was enough for me.

It would be far better if they did an item on the cost of cancellation, looking into just what contracts exist with subcontractors and what financial penalties they involve.

Bernard

 

 

Actually, it is a more balanced report than those I have read elsewhere concerning the same wildlife report. In fact, the most damning criticism of the Wildlife Study, is that it records all effects up to 500 metres away - that's a third of mile in each direction - and just swipes at HS2's remediation plans as "amateurish" without going into any similar levels of detail. But the remediations are exactly the same type, and more extensive than, for road schemes.

 

What is striking is the complete lack of comparable criticism of road schemes - just take a look at the effect of the comparatively short A14 corridor improvements:

 

https://highwaysengland.co.uk/a14-cambridge-to-huntingdon-improvement-scheme-environment/

 

Apart from a relatively small, local protest, I have seen no major resistance to this or any other major road scheme in the last 20 years, other than the one proposed through Salisbury Plain. The issues are exactly the same, as are the answers. Why is it so much more acceptable for them and not for a much narrower rail scheme?? Nothing to do with going through a bunch of Tory-voting shires......?

Edited by Mike Storey
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The BBC reporter interviewed two HS2 opponents next to a 'threatened wildlife reserve'; No mention that this is actually a post-industrial landscape formed of a flooded brickworks clay pit, so not exactly ancient, or irreplaceable !

 

Given that HS2 is not the first high speed line to be built in this country (BBC please note, the clue is in the name), why not send a reporter, along with anti-HS2 people, to HS1, to see exactly how little impact a double-track electrified railway has on the landscape, and indeed wildlife ? (Although I do accept that there will be disruption during the construction phase, but this will not last forever).

 

Regarding Mike Storey's final paragraph, I do not believe that the opposition to HS2 is coloured by political allegance, more that this is one single, huge and expensive project, with an extremely high media profile, and thus an easy target, whereas most other schemes which 'devastate' the countryside are purely local matters; Such as the new housing estate near me, which has concreted over fields, destroyed hedgerows, damaged road surfaces, and caused huge inconvenience with temporary traffic lights for months on end on the main access road to the town, making bus timetables a complete lottery. Somehow the BBC has not reported on this........

 

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There has been limited opposition to the A9 Perth-Inverness road dualling project;

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-51061943

 

Although this is to protect an old battlefield, nothing to do with wildlife ! By providing easier road access, and therefore encouraging polluting road traffic, including filthy diesel vehicles, the environmental impact of this scheme should be of far more concern to anyone concerned about the environment and wildlife than an electric railway. 

 

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2 hours ago, Bernard Lamb said:

Why does the BBC publish such rubbish without any checks regarding accuracy?

The biggest problem I have with this kind of article is that they are basically regurgitating a press release from a single interest pressure group, without really putting it in any form of wider context. 

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2 hours ago, Bernard Lamb said:

Why does the BBC publish such rubbish without any checks regarding accuracy?

I got as far as the phrase "currently on hold" and that was enough for me.

It would be far better if they did an item on the cost of cancellation, looking into just what contracts exist with subcontractors and what financial penalties they involve.

Bernard

 

 

I think it is simply a reflection of modern journalism in general, which caters to the need for dramatic headlines without going into details.

 

43 minutes ago, Mike Storey said:

 

Actually, it is a more balanced report than those I have read elsewhere concerning the same wildlife report. In fact, the most damning criticism of the Wildlife Study, is that it records all effects up to 500 metres away - that's a third of mile in each direction - and just swipes at HS2's remediation plans as "amateurish" without going into any similar levels of detail. But the remediations are exactly the same type, and more extensive than, for road schemes.

 

What is striking is the complete lack of comparable criticism of road schemes - just take a look at the effect of the comparatively short A14 corridor improvements:

 

https://highwaysengland.co.uk/a14-cambridge-to-huntingdon-improvement-scheme-environment/

 

Apart from a relatively small, local protest, I have seen no major resistance to this or any other major road scheme in the last 20 years, other than the one proposed through Salisbury Plain. The issues are exactly the same, as are the answers. Why is it so much more acceptable for them and not for a much narrower rail scheme?? Nothing to do with going through a bunch of Tory-voting shires......?

 

Perhaps it is because schemes like the A14 are seen as providing major benefits without any obvious local disadvantages. AFAIK the A14 upgrade didn't cause houses to be demolished, uprooting woodland, etc. 

 

Tory- voting shires? Here in Suffolk the Tory council for Ipswich and the Tory MP are hell bent on getting their proposal for a Northern Ipswich Bypass (although they don't call it that) implemented, mainly because it will enable them to give the major house builders the opportunity to build over 10,000 new houses alongside it. The original research "proving" the need for the road was funded by Keir at a cost of £100k. There will however be considerable disruption to local villages, minor roads, etc. On past performance, they will however do nothing about the other local infrastructure problems especially the bl**dy awful bus services, schools, hospitals and health care, etc.

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Most of the anti reporting is due to the UK population in general being completely wedded to cars and being fervently anti-rail, which many see as an undesirable intrusion in the landscape (and their right to drive everywhere unimpeded.).

 

Recent attempts to get people out of cars and onto public transport have failed miserably with bus journeys dropping and the average size and number of cars increasing. The UKs air pollution due to motor vehicles has recently actually increased due the the increased engine  size of the average vehicle sold today, negating the benefits of "greener" vehicles

 

So much for doing something for the environment!

 

 

 

Edited by melmerby
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1 hour ago, Mike Storey said:

 

Actually, it is a more balanced report than those I have read elsewhere concerning the same wildlife report. In fact, the most damning criticism of the Wildlife Study, is that it records all effects up to 500 metres away - that's a third of mile in each direction - and just swipes at HS2's remediation plans as "amateurish" without going into any similar levels of detail. But the remediations are exactly the same type, and more extensive than, for road schemes.

 

What is striking is the complete lack of comparable criticism of road schemes - just take a look at the effect of the comparatively short A14 corridor improvements:

 

https://highwaysengland.co.uk/a14-cambridge-to-huntingdon-improvement-scheme-environment/

 

Apart from a relatively small, local protest, I have seen no major resistance to this or any other major road scheme in the last 20 years, other than the one proposed through Salisbury Plain. The issues are exactly the same, as are the answers. Why is it so much more acceptable for them and not for a much narrower rail scheme?? Nothing to do with going through a bunch of Tory-voting shires......?

Mike, I think you'll find that Wildlife Trusts generally do make comments/ submissions on Planning and Development proposals, they don't usually get much coverage unless the scheme is particularly huge or controversial.

 

The Wildlife Trusts are a set of charitable organisations organised by County, with an umbrella organisation to provide some co-ordination/ economies of scale. They are funded by the public and invariably are desperately lacking in funds, so much so that some of them have been in dire straits from time to time. A major activity for them is the operation of nature reserves, which are pieces of land that are of special interest and have been acquired by public appeal or by legacy.

 

My own local Trust, that of Leicestershire and Rutland, I know to make comments and representations on all sorts of projects, including roads and housing schemes, and utilising the skills and knowledge of their staff who in many cases are highly qualified scientists. This won't generally be reported as a special item but go into the mix of general representations that at best might get a mention in local media. As ever, the national media decide what we should see and not see, and my daily review of the newspaper headlines shows that the Guardian is carrying the Trusts report on HS2 as its front page.

 

I'd also mention that I couldn't agree more with Jol Wilkinson about Bypass schemes, a major effect of these anywhere is to create a trapped space that immediately becomes a development zone, my local town of Oakham is a textbook case. Also, as ever, when it comes to the sums of cash developers and particularly the large housebuilders can throw at big schemes in respect of "research" and legal challenges, they are highly likely to win and repeatedly do so.

 

John.

Edited by John Tomlinson
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24 minutes ago, melmerby said:

Most of the anti reporting is due to the UK population in general being completely wedded to cars and being fervently anti-rail, which many see as an undesirable intrusion in the landscape (and their right to drive everywhere unimpeded.).

 

I think that is 1 aspect.

There was opposition to building the railways in the first place, long before cars had been invented. Many tunnels were built at huge cost to get agreement from nearby residents, to avoid destroying the look of their countryside. London's circle line exists mainly because railways were not allowed into the capital & the first section of it ran from Farringdon to Paddington. It was no coincidence that King's Cross & Euston were on the route.

If railways had been allowed in to the city, the terminii would be a lot closer together.

The last significant length of motorway to be built was the M6(Toll), which was the last of over 40 years of continuous motorway building. Why did this stop? It wasn't because we had enough to cope with the traffic for years to come because traffic levels have continued to rise.

So what was the public reaction in the 1950s to the M1 & M6 being built? Do you think evryone public welcomed it? I wasn't alive but I find this extremely unlikely. The reaction from many was probably 'what do we want these for?' Sounds familiar doesn't it? Could you imagine the country now if the M1 or M6 had not been built?

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2 hours ago, Mike Storey said:

 

 

Apart from a relatively small, local protest, I have seen no major resistance to this or any other major road scheme in the last 20 years, other than the one proposed through Salisbury Plain. The issues are exactly the same, as are the answers. Why is it so much more acceptable for them and not for a much narrower rail scheme?? Nothing to do with going through a bunch of Tory-voting shires......?

 

Well, the proposed Oxford - Cambridge expressway has few friends for a start. (Does have the common ground with your last sentence, mind you.)

 

There is not as much difference in width as you might think: hs2 width from back of cable troughs 18.9m (the standard I have is 2013 for the hybrid bill design), a 2 lane dual carriageway (1m hardstrips, not hardshoulders as now is the norm) to back of verges 26.1m. But, as soon as you start adding any embankment or cutting the width of the trace becomes as much if not more a function of the height/depth of that so quickly the earthworks slope width becomes the main part of the width - and that, assuming same geotechnical assumptions, will be the same. When you add in the fact that for a new road it can have much tighter horizontal curves, tighter vertical curvature and slightly steeper gradients the road will be able to better avoid constraints bending around them and more closely follow the topography and so have less earthworks.

 

Also, the eventual land take will in lots of cases, will end up be driven by environmental mitigation not the basic engineering.

 

With regards to environmental impact whether new road or railway the projects are going to have to comply with the same laws regarding environmental impact. It is no more acceptable for a road scheme to cause harm than a railway. There is shed loads of stuff on environmental impact in the National Networks National Policy Statement (NNNPS) which are the rules that all nationally significant infrastructure schemes (NSIP) Development Concent Orders (DCO) are assessed against by the planning inspectorate.  https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/387223/npsnn-web.pdf

(HS2 is a special case with rather than a DCO being hybrid bill)

 

Anyway, who needs hs2? Let's all fly(be) seems to be the new government policy!

 

 

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3 hours ago, John Tomlinson said:

Mike, I think you'll find that Wildlife Trusts generally do make comments/ submissions on Planning and Development proposals, they don't usually get much coverage unless the scheme is particularly huge or controversial.

 

The Wildlife Trusts are a set of charitable organisations organised by County, with an umbrella organisation to provide some co-ordination/ economies of scale. They are funded by the public and invariably are desperately lacking in funds, so much so that some of them have been in dire straits from time to time. A major activity for them is the operation of nature reserves, which are pieces of land that are of special interest and have been acquired by public appeal or by legacy.

 

My own local Trust, that of Leicestershire and Rutland, I know to make comments and representations on all sorts of projects, including roads and housing schemes, and utilising the skills and knowledge of their staff who in many cases are highly qualified scientists. This won't generally be reported as a special item but go into the mix of general representations that at best might get a mention in local media. As ever, the national media decide what we should see and not see, and my daily review of the newspaper headlines shows that the Guardian is carrying the Trusts report on HS2 as its front page.

 

I'd also mention that I couldn't agree more with Jol Wilkinson about Bypass schemes, a major effect of these anywhere is to create a trapped space that immediately becomes a development zone, my local town of Oakham is a textbook case. Also, as ever, when it comes to the sums of cash developers and particularly the large housebuilders can throw at big schemes in respect of "research" and legal challenges, they are highly likely to win and repeatedly do so.

 

John.

 

But that is the point, is it not? HS2 is not a developer's scheme allied to some alleged "local benefit". It is a national scheme, subject to parliamentary review and open to widespread challenge. It is the nature of the challenge - whether it be the nonsensical "alternative investment" proposed by Lord Elpus, or the erstwhile nonentities of the Wildlife Trust, National Trust or others - which can only be challenged on a case by case basis, but which are presented as a national case against. These are the national cases against doing anything which upsets the status quo. As someone has already pointed out, the "status quo" has a very short history in many cases.

 

I have no qualms over genuine environmental objections, and believe they should be addressed, and mitigated further where not already addressed. But to ask a railway scheme, whose primary raison d'etre is environmental benefit (modal transfer and modal gain on new business), to accede to mitigations above and beyond the norm, is rather tipping the balance.

 

All I ask is for a level playing field. There is a tad distance to go.

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I was getting quite angry this morning at quite biased coverage from the BBC on the wildlife issue.

 

Firstly, this is not news. It has all been known about since HS2 was first proposed. So it should not be part of the review.

 

Secondly, at the head of the report, they claimed that some species would become extinct as a result of HS2. Now I am not much of a naturalist but that would concern me.

 

However, it became clear later in the report that there was no danger of extinction of a species - just no more of that species in that location. Sad, but not critical in this context. So some thoroughly poor editing to beef up the "story". That is the work of the tabloids to do (or preferably not) certainly not for the licence-fee paid BBC.

 

Most of this could, of course, been avoided if HS2 had chosen to build a 225kph railway rather than a 400kph railway.

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26 minutes ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

Most of this could, of course, been avoided if HS2 had chosen to build a 225kph railway rather than a 400kph railway.

 

I doubt it. Some of these groups are opposed to absolutely anything. Some are currently against internal UK flights AND building HS2 which would reduce the need for such flights. Others just don't like the idea of a railway "spoiling" their view.

 

In my town, 100 years ago, residents were protesting about plans to build a new town hall. Now there is the threat to it, they are protesting for it...

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11 minutes ago, Phil Parker said:

 

In my town, 100 years ago, residents were protesting about plans to build a new town hall. Now there is the threat to it, they are protesting for it...

Hopefully it's not the same residents, otherwise your town has a secret.

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8 hours ago, Bernard Lamb said:

Why does the BBC publish such rubbish without any checks regarding accuracy?

I got as far as the phrase "currently on hold" and that was enough for me.

It would be far better if they did an item on the cost of cancellation, looking into just what contracts exist with subcontractors and what financial penalties they involve.

Bernard

 

I did read it and it is up to (or should that be down to?) the usual BBC standard, high on rhetoric and 'quotes' but short of facts so I can state you didnt miss anything by not reading it.

 

Its about time the BBC was made to stand on its own two feet insteading of wasting the television tax on crap like this 'report'. 

Edited by royaloak

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53 minutes ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

Most of this could, of course, been avoided if HS2 had chosen to build a 225kph railway rather than a 400kph railway.

Please dont bring such common sense into a thread about HS2.

 

Anyway I have to load the car up with some great crested newts so they can be in the right place when the tree huggers turn up, they have all been microchipped so I can find them again when they are needed elsewhere!

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5 hours ago, melmerby said:

...

Recent attempts to get people out of cars and onto public transport have failed miserably

...


Maybe that’s at least partly because modern trains are so cramped and bum-numbingly uncomfortable. As our cars get bigger and plusher and nicer to be in, trains get less and less pleasant to use. 
 

Though apparently that’s because there are too many people using them and all those people need to be crammed-in, so maybe your premise is wrong?

 

Paul

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On the BBC London and South East news tonight  the comment that HS2 is on hold was followed  a few minutes later with pictures of on-going work. They really are a shower of S***.

Over the Christmas/New Year Holiday I was at a party at a neighbours. The standard small talk with a person who I did not know brought up the usual topics of what do you do and where do you work. He had just started a job in a fairly senior role with a major sub contractor working on HS2. He indicated no worries about the possibility of imminent redundancy or financial hardship. My assumption was that either he was confident that the scheme would not be cancelled or that his boss had a very good contract that if the plug was pulled then they had adequate safeguards in place. This particular sub contractor is involved in several sites with a very large investment in plant that will involve a massive amount of material that I presume has already been ordered. I might be a cynic, probably due to working on major Government projects in the past, MOD in my case, but I do think that the Government is not being very open about what is actually happening.

Bernard

 

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4 hours ago, Mike Storey said:

 

But that is the point, is it not? HS2 is not a developer's scheme allied to some alleged "local benefit". It is a national scheme, subject to parliamentary review and open to widespread challenge. It is the nature of the challenge - whether it be the nonsensical "alternative investment" proposed by Lord Elpus, or the erstwhile nonentities of the Wildlife Trust, National Trust or others - which can only be challenged on a case by case basis, but which are presented as a national case against. These are the national cases against doing anything which upsets the status quo. As someone has already pointed out, the "status quo" has a very short history in many cases.

 

I have no qualms over genuine environmental objections, and believe they should be addressed, and mitigated further where not already addressed. But to ask a railway scheme, whose primary raison d'etre is environmental benefit (modal transfer and modal gain on new business), to accede to mitigations above and beyond the norm, is rather tipping the balance.

 

All I ask is for a level playing field. There is a tad distance to go.

I'm bound to say that slagging off people you don't agree with as "erstwhile nonentities" does nothing whatsoever for your case. Moreover I don't see why the comments of the bodies mentioned you are unable to class as "genuine environmental objections" to which you claim to have no qualms?

 

I thought in any case the primary raison d'etre of the HS2 project was capacity increase, particularly aimed at travel into London, or have I misunderstood the previous 187 pages of this thread?

 

For the record I'd be very happy for a "level playing field" as you put it, and as I said in my post above I think you'll find that the Wildlife Trusts make comments and submissions on all manner of development and construction proposals. To give a concrete example, my local Wildlife Trust made extensive comments and recommendations some years ago about the proposed extension to my local cement works in Ketton, which had neither rail or road implications.

 

Or am I missing something?

 

John.

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3 hours ago, Phil Parker said:

 

I doubt it. Some of these groups are opposed to absolutely anything. Some are currently against internal UK flights AND building HS2 which would reduce the need for such flights. Others just don't like the idea of a railway "spoiling" their view.

 

In my town, 100 years ago, residents were protesting about plans to build a new town hall. Now there is the threat to it, they are protesting for it...

 

Presumably not the same residents.

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3 hours ago, royaloak said:

Please dont bring such common sense into a thread about HS2.

 

Anyway I have to load the car up with some great crested newts so they can be in the right place when the tree huggers turn up, they have all been microchipped so I can find them again when they are needed elsewhere!

 

Don't get me started on Great Crested Newts. I may have to mention the B***** word.

 

They, like badgers, are protected because they are rare in mainland Europe. They are not at all rare here.

 

It's sad to lose any wildlife. But, like listed buildings, we "protect" far more than we need or ought to. Today's BBC report focussed on a bittern. That should not be there at all. It's lost and should be returned to its proper habitat.

 

I am currently in a bizarre position. I want to demolish a small but ugly extension. On any other non-listed building, I could do it without planning consent (less than 50m3). But because pubs are "protected", I have to put in a planning application and that causes a three-month delay in reopening. How does that help to protect the pub?

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37 minutes ago, John Tomlinson said:

I'm bound to say that slagging off people you don't agree with as "erstwhile nonentities" does nothing whatsoever for your case. Moreover I don't see why the comments of the bodies mentioned you are unable to class as "genuine environmental objections" to which you claim to have no qualms?

 

I thought in any case the primary raison d'etre of the HS2 project was capacity increase, particularly aimed at travel into London, or have I misunderstood the previous 187 pages of this thread?

 

For the record I'd be very happy for a "level playing field" as you put it, and as I said in my post above I think you'll find that the Wildlife Trusts make comments and submissions on all manner of development and construction proposals. To give a concrete example, my local Wildlife Trust made extensive comments and recommendations some years ago about the proposed extension to my local cement works in Ketton, which had neither rail or road implications.

 

Or am I missing something?

 

John.

 

Indeed you are missing something, actually quite a lot.

 

The broad brush approach to slagging off HS2 environmentally is misleading, inaccurate (by several accounts) and downright unfair. The HS2 strategy for dealing with such issues has been made plain from the start, and adapted where proven necessary (such as with increased tunnelling, additional earthworks and with additional mitigations for wildlife where proven as needed). But each instance of flora or fauna alleged desecration has to be dealt with at each location, and HS2 cannot possibly react to such a national beration in such a short period (as allowed by national media) if not given adequate notice. The erstwhile nonentities comment was made to emphasise such - these bodies act as coordinators and not as specific pressure groups, in the main (although their affiliates obviously do). That the information was used from their affiliates to construct such a political report is lesson enough.

 

The issue of capacity is all about modal shift and modal gain - why create capacity if the intention is not to reduce the number of journeys made, or potentially to be made, from road and air. It would be far simpler to price off surplus demand from the existing network, if there was no other intent?

 

Your Wildlife Trust is not the national reporting body, which just adds to my point.

 

 

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11 hours ago, 4630 said:

 

In essence because they’re not challenged rigorously enough when their reporting is inaccurate or lacking balance. 

 

 

 

Sometimes, when in the mood, I do challenge them. Do I get a reply? No, of course not. The BBC, strong from its licence fee, does not care one jot. I don't much like some of the Tories who, for a long time now, have attacked the BBC, notably John Whittingdale. But the BBC is making the case for them.

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49 minutes ago, John Tomlinson said:

I thought in any case the primary raison d'etre of the HS2 project was capacity increase, particularly aimed at travel into London, or have I misunderstood the previous 187 pages of this thread?

The bottom end of the WCML is full and with more stopping services and more paths for freight needed the easiest way is to build a new line and transfer all the 'fast' trains onto that which will free up many more paths on the WCML for the slower trains, high speed trains absolutely eat paths and getting them off the WCML will free up many many paths for the slower trains.

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3 hours ago, royaloak said:

I did read it and it is up to (or should that be down to?) the usual BBC standard, high on rhetoric and 'quotes' but short of facts so I can state you didnt miss anything by not reading it.

 

Its about time the BBC was made to stand on its own two feet insteading of wasting the television tax on crap like this 'report'. 

 

What? You mean open to the demands of its advertisers/investors on what and how it should report anything? Like Sky and Fox, and even ITV who sacked ITN? That kind of standing on its own two feet???

 

There is nothing more likely to dilute the availability of neutral reporting than commercialisation, or the adoption of a broadcaster into the realms of government. The fact that both the left and the right complain about the Beeb, shows it is doing something right. They reported the outcome of a nationally significant study today, but also gave a bit of background to it, and some counterpunch from HS2. That is more than most of the press did.

 

Give me strength......Oh Lord.

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