News

Telepresence overlooked as alternative to HS2

Telepresence and video conferencing are frequently overlooked as legitimate alternatives to UK business travel.

That’s according to Penny Gaines, who campaigns against the construction of the High Speed 2 rail scheme (HS2) which would connect London, the Midlands and Northern England.

Ms Gaines’ – chair of the Stop HS2 organisation – comments come as a group of cross-party MPs agree that there are few arguments that hold up against building the rail-link long-term.

However, Ms Gaines claims that the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) have only considered “a very limited number of alternatives”.

On stophs2.org, she added that technologies such as telepresence and video conferencing could largely eliminate the need for many business persons to travel so far, so frequently.

“They (APPG) – and the Department for Transport when developing HS2 – are completely oblivious to the growth in telepresence videoconferencing, which is leading to a fall in the total number of long distance journeys over all modes of transport,” she said.

MPs on the other hand disagree. According to their four-month report on the matter, they noted that the railway sector is continuing to grow by around five per cent a year, despite the recession, out-law.com reports.

So far the HS2 line is still scheduled to be built, with construction tipped to begin in January. Travelling at 250mph, commuters between London and Birmingham (the first phase of the project) will save themselves 45 minutes on HS2. The project is due to be completed by 2026.