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Scottish Greens leader increasingly ambivalent over fast rail link

A leader of the Scottish Green Party has indicated that he is becoming more “ambivalent” about the high-speed rail link between England and Scotland.

Patrick Harvie MSP has recently commented that the rapid link proposed to connect Edinburgh and Glasgow with London, although promoted as an environmentally-friendly alternative to air travel, might not be the best use of public funds.

Harvie said: “The more I look at it the more ambivalent I become,” noting that it was already possible to make the train trip in less than four hours. “Is 20 years and £20-30 billion the best investment to bring it down to three hours?

He raised the question: “Would commuters relying on suburban routes prefer the money used there rather than to reopen stations?”

The transport committee leader did note, however, that his concerns about the expenditure of funds for the high-speed link did not necessary reflect the views of the other members of the transport, infrastructure and climate change committee.

Currently, the committee is taking evidence on the benefits of the proposed link, which advocates say could bring over £7 billion to Scotland.

Harvie added: “If the UK Government decides to go ahead with it as an alternative to expansion at Gatwick and Heathrow, then the benefits are pretty clear. But if it’s as the business lobby want – more of everything – that’s not going to be viable.”

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