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Ex-CBI boss criticises Chiltern high speed route plans

Former director general of business lobby group the CBI Lord Jones has hit out against the government’s route for a high speed railway between London and Birmingham.

Jones, business ambassador and a former trade minister in the last government under Gordon Brown, said the proposed route through the Chilterns threatened to undermine the whole project.

A six month public consultation on the route began last month. Speaking at the inaugural ICE/Amey Prestige lecture in London this week, Jones said the line should follow the existing transport corridors to minimise landtake on greenfield land.

“It is clear that there will come a day when we don’t fly within Europe,” he said. “But is it right that to achieve that a railway goes through some of the most beautiful countryside in Europe?

“Why don’t we put it alongside what we’ve already built?”

Jones set out his views on high speed while stressing the need for government to invest in infrastructure (see Antony Oliver’s comment here).

Readers' comments (4)

  • Digby Jones suggests HS2 alignment should follow what has already been built. I assume he has the East and West Coast Main Lines in mind. But the problem is that to run 250 mph high speed trains the horizontal curvature needs to be a minumum of 7,850 metres. So sorry M'Lud but the idea won't work.

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  • Patrick is absolutely right about the alignment for HS2. You do wonder who Digby Jones is speaking on behalf of - ex-CBI boss means nothing. There is far too much nibyism in the UK, on rail lines, wind farms or other similar infrastructure issues. Is it ok to reap the benefits of industry while living in a rural area and expect all the downside to be taken by someone else?

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  • So when most South Eastern MP's, Tory, LibDem and labour included, lobbied against Heathrow's third runway in 2009, they weren't nimby's I presume?

    Let's get real guys, if civil engineers want to be seen as credible, the environment needs to be top priority and Lord Jones is right to support better alternatives than the preferred HS2 route, which incidentally has the highest net present value disbenefit on noise.


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  • "Lord Jones is right to support better alternatives " - only if has a genuinely better alternative to support. Following existing transport corridors is an option HS2 has looked at already, it doesn't work.

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