NOW that the Red Arrows have escorted the defunct British Airways Jumbo Jet mode of transport from the sky is it not time to deal with that other white elephant – namely the HS2 rail project on the ground?
For some reason the HS2 high-speed rail link is seemingly economically and politically immune to the seismic changes affecting many aspects of Britain’s society and economy caused by Covid-19.
The so-called benefits of HS2 have always been questionable.
For example, the government’s own calculations conclude that carbon emissions from construction and operation could exceed potential savings, even over the railway’s projected 120-year lifetime.
Increases in capacity could be achieved through running double-deck trains and/or bringing the original Grand Central Railway back into use (both of which would be far cheaper and less destructive than HS2).
Plus there is the cost of throwing £106billion+ at HS2, instead of investing in improving or reinstating regional and local railways, which could help hard pressed communities in the Midlands recover from the economic shock of Covid-19.
Whatever long-term means are developed for managing and treating the virus, it seems highly likely that there will be less need for high-speed work and leisure travel, and more focus on living and working locally and sustainably together.
Even the Leader of the Opposition Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer accepts HS2 will go ahead because it has been signed off by Parliament. Why?
The Government is rewriting many of its decisions because of the impact of coronavirus.
Surely this rethink should include one of its most expensive and wasteful projects, which is a legacy of a pre-Covid era, and should be challenged at every turn.
A project that may not cover its costs and exceed its environmental obligations is a historic legacy of 20th Century technology planning and has no place in the carbon capture 21st Century.
R Davis, Solihull
PLEASE can we have our Park back.
Hillfield Nature Reserve has been taken over by excited dogs running loose.
Many of my friends and neighbours now avoid the park because of the many dogs.
In the last twelve months I have been knocked to the ground by a Whippet,
knocked back by an Alsatian and pushed aside by a Husky.
Dog lovers seem to think that we should all love their Pet. They are wrong.
R Underwood, Solihull
A FEW weeks ago you ran an article about Arden Cross and the 5,000 homes that will be built there (Solihull Observer).
It’s important to understand that that’s a strategic decision, not something that was taken on the spur of the moment.
HS2 has been in the planning for decades and these homes have to go somewhere.
It’s all very well saying development should take place in the Black Country but whether we like it our not, people and businesses want to be in the ‘golden crescent’ shaped by the M42.
Obviously there will be consequences of this, no doubt they will want to widen the M42 again, and replacing petrol cars with electric ones won’t diminish the traffic on our roads.
However I feel it is unfair to blame Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council for these woes as I feel they are just trying to make the best of the hand they have been dealt.
J Robinson, Solihull
WITH another national lockdown in place, Age UK has sadly had to close the doors of its 250 charity shops across the country for a second time. But some good news is there’s still a way for locals to bag themselves a bargain and support older people.
Age UK’s eBay shop sells a wide range of new and good quality items, including Christmas cards and decorations, homeware, toys and gifts.
Older people need us now more than ever and the money raised will help to fund the charity’s vital work, including its information and advice and friendship services, which have been a lifeline for older people during the lockdowns.
We are so grateful for all the support our shops have received, and we look forward to welcoming you back to our stores as soon as we are able to.
You can visit Age UK’s official eBay page at: www.ebay.co.uk/str/ageukwarrington
Our shops are also in need of volunteers for when we reopen again. To find out how you can help please visit: www.ageuk.org.uk/shops
N Smith, Age UK
KEY workers in Britain are rightly receiving the recognition and appreciation they deserve, with NHS staff, care workers and delivery drivers among the professions that have been praised for their heroic efforts this year.
But, some of the most essential workers in developing countries worldwide are continually overlooked and neglected. Working animals play a key role in the world’s poorest communities and help provide a livelihood for more than half a billion people.
An estimated 200 million working horses, donkeys, camels and elephants are relied upon to transport goods, food, water and firewood. By doing the jobs of trucks, tractors and taxis, this invisible workforce ensures the survival of poverty-stricken families.
However, these animals often endure appalling conditions, with poor nutrition and no access to veterinary treatment.
At the animal charity SPANA (the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad), we believe that working animals overseas should receive the respect, compassion and vital veterinary care they desperately need.
Please find out how you can show your support for these hardworking animals by visiting www.spana.org/iwad.
Chief Executive, SPANA