Government number fiddle

Typical, just typical:

In an official 2010 assessment by HS2 Ltd, which is building the line, the 109-mile route from London to Birmingham was estimated to cause £4.3 billion of damage to the landscape.

On the London green belt and Chiltern AONB sections alone, the “landscape impact” was estimated at just under £1.1 billion.

A new assessment by the Department for Transport estimated that the impact damage for the route is £957 million, 78 per cent lower.

The impact of the line in its London green belt and Chilterns AONB sections was said to be £114 million, a tenth of the 2010 figure.

Essentially, the government has decided to value this landscape stuff at what it values it at. When the whole point of such estimates is to value it at what we, collectively, value it at.

Which is why we should never trust government at all (of any olitical colour). For the initial method of valuation is sound in theory and practice: but the scumbags will fiddle the numbers.

There\’s more, of course, HS2 doesn\’t make financial sense anyway. Because the major contribution to the value created is time saved in travelling. But we are still measuring that at 1960s rates, as if no one can ever work on a train these days. And what with laptops and mobiles that just ain\’t true, is it?

Politics: Just Say No.

7 thoughts on “Government number fiddle”

  1. Isn’t much of the difference explained by the fact that most of the route though the London green belt and much of the route though the Chilterns in now proposed to be in tunnels. Which, obviously, causes much less ‘damage to the landscape’.

  2. Yes, and also isn’t this good news? As we all know if govt removed planning permission and allowed a free for all the “market price” of land would fall dramatically. So it’s a tiny step in that direction, no?

    By the way, I have no doubt that the forecasts will prove to be wrong. But they did consider mobile phones/laptops, and made the point you can only do work well sitting down, and the new line will allow far more people to sit down.

  3. I think you are overstating the benefit of laptops and mobiles in particular. Being a rugged individualist, you have overlooked the fact that your mobile may help you work, but it will prevent me doing any work at all.

  4. Luke: How so? I don’t think Tim is talking about chattering away on a mobile, more using it as a wireless data link.

  5. They should spend the money on making existing trains and lines accessible to commuters, by building decent car parks at stations, and adding a station where the NE line from King’s X/St Pancras crosses the M25

  6. There’s also a question over the predicted levels of growth. Based on my own experience, people are doing less business travel and more electronic communications.

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