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.