High speed train at a station

Hundreds of members of the Green Party of England and Wales have signed an open letter calling for a motion on HS2 submitted to the party’s spring conference to be voted down. Over 200 Greens have added their name to the letter which argues that the motion would be an “utter betrayal” of the environmental campaigners who have fought against the project.

Members of the Green Party will meet in Birmingham for their spring conference on 11-12 March. One of the motions on the agenda for debate would see the Greens’ position on HS2 changed from opposition to support. Brought by members of campaign group Greens4HS2, the motion would see the Greens support the funding and building of HS2, including the proposed leg to Leeds.

The Green Party has long opposed HS2, with the party’s 2019 general election manifesto committing to cancel the scheme, which it branded “damaging” and “doomed”.

The letter opposing the Greens4HS2 backed motion argues that “the case for HS2 is fundamentally dishonest, anti democratic, and frighteningly destructive”. It goes on to claim that HS2 “would not be carbon neutral for 120 years”, argues that the first phase of HS2 construction has caused “diabolical destruction of whole ecosystems” and alleges that the project “poses a very real and present threat to the water of supply of London”. Signatories also claim that the project “has been designed to increase aviation”.

Among the high profile figures to sign the letter are Baroness Jenny Jones, the party’s international coordinator Elise Benjamin and anti-fracking campaigner Tina Rothery.

In a recent interview with Bright Green about the motion, Greens4HS2 members Emma Garnett and Pete Johnson argued that HS2 is crucial to free up capacity on other rail lines and enable a modal shift away from short haul flights and car use.

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Image credit: Les Chatfield – Creative Commons