Azara Blog: Birmingham Airport is keen on the proposed high-speed train line

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Date published: 2011/02/25

The BBC says:

Birmingham Airport says the proposed new high-speed rail link between the city and London could be a solution to runway capacity problems in the South.

Airport bosses said it will be quicker to get to London from Birmingham than from London Stansted if it is approved.

Proposals for the 250mph rail link show it will take 39 minutes to get from Birmingham International to London.

Opponents say it will ruin the environment and that there is no case for it.

Chris Crean, from environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth, said it was important that full analysis work be done to see if HS2 would be a green form of transport.

He said: "The really important issue about the aviation sector is that it does not pay the full cost for the pollution that it causes."

Birmingham International station is situated next to Birmingham Airport.

London Stansted airport is a 45-minute journey from the capital and getting to London Heathrow by the underground system can take 50 minutes from parts of the city.

Surprise, Birmingham Airport wants the high-speed HS2 line to go ahead because it will financially benefit, without having to pick up any of the costs.

Still, that is not any worse than the confused reaction from Friends of the Earth. They hate aviation, even though aviation is a lot closer to paying the "full cost" of its use compared with train travel, which is hugely subsidised by the government (currently, roughly half). Unfortunately so-called environmentalists always look at indirect costs (like pollution) and never look at direct costs. But subsidising one is no better (or worse) than subsidising the other. In all cases subsidies represent the customer being able to externalise the full cost of their journey onto the rest of society. Unfortunately the real problem is that the puritanical middle class control freaks, like the people who run Friends of the Earth, cannot cope with just about any technology introduced since the industrial revolution, and want to stop everyone else from using it. They support trains only because they see it as a lesser evil than cars and planes, because it is an older technology. Back in the middle of the 19th century the same class of people would have campaigned vociferously against trains.

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