PRESS RELEASE: Impact on Canal at Fradley Junction Greatly Reduced as Government Adopts Joint IWA/CRT Proposal to Change HS2 Route

Issue date: 2nd October 2014

The Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP, yesterday (1st October 2014) announced that the Government is adopting The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) and Canal & River Trust (CRT) proposals to re-align the route of HS2.  The new route avoids much of the popular and historic Fradley Junction to Woodend area of the Trent & Mersey Canal, and the need for a large worksite alongside the Coventry Canal between Streethay and Huddlesford.  Assurances have also been given that HS2 will ensure that restoration of the Lichfield Canal can continue.

Since publication of the original route, which included several canal crossing points in the area around Fradley Junction in Staffordshire, IWA and CRT have been working closely together, commissioning renowned engineering consultancy Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd to develop an alternative alignment of the route. Hyder’s report set out a feasible and preferable alternative alignment largely avoiding the canal, substantially reducing embankment heights, noise and visual intrusion, and potentially saving the project millions of pounds.

The Government’s decision to move the line away from the canal is welcome news for the waterways, for visitors and for the local economy.  It represents a growing recognition of the waterways’ unique environment and heritage, and the important role they play as antidotes to the stresses and pressures of modern life.

Les Etheridge, National Chairman, IWA said: “IWA has been campaigning for several years for a better deal from HS2 on waterways especially at Fradley. It’s great that our pragmatic approach has been taken on board, saving this iconic location and providing assurance, which we need to see detailed, to protect the important Lichfield Canal restoration.”

Richard Parry, Chief Executive, Canal & River Trust said: “The Government’s decision to move the alignment of part of the HS2 route away from the canal at Fradley Junction is fantastic news for boaters, current and future visitors to this much loved rural canal, and for all the 12 million people who come to enjoy our waterways every year.  We have worked tirelessly with the IWA and local groups to achieve this change and we applaud the Minister for listening to our powerful arguments; it is absolutely the right decision.” 

Whilst the change of route at Fradley Junction is a major achievement, IWA and the Trust will maintain their efforts to mitigate other negative impacts of, and maximise the regeneration opportunities presented by, HS2 along the entire route.  As well as continuing direct engagement with HS2 Ltd and other stakeholders, both organisations have used the petition process, an agreed Parliamentary procedure, to ask formally for the Bill to be amended.  Assurances are being sought on the design quality of any waterway crossings and on the use of landscape planting to mitigate the visual impact, while supporting the local landscape character and promoting biodiversity. Provision for the safeguarding of heritage assets, protection from noise pollution and vibrations, and commitment that the role of the waterways in flood defence will not be compromised by HS2 are also being sought.  We will continue our joint campaign to achieve the best possible outcome for our historic canals and the communities whose lives they enrich.



ENDS

For further media requests please contact:
Gemma Bolton, The Inland Waterways Association [e] gemma.bolton@waterways.org.uk [t] 01494 783453 ext. 617
Canal & River Trust Press Office [e] press.office@canalrivertrust.org.uk  [t] 0203 204 4514  


Notes to editors:

The Inland Waterways Association is a registered charity, founded in 1946, which advocates the conservation, use, maintenance, restoration and development of the inland waterways for public benefit.  IWA works closely with navigation authorities, national and local authorities, voluntary, private and public sector organisations.  We campaign and lobby for support and encourage public participation in the inland waterways.

Find out more about the HS2 campaign and download HS2 Select Committee briefing document www.waterways.org.uk/hs2

The Canal & River Trust is the guardian of 2,000 miles of historic waterways across England and Wales, caring for the nation’s third largest collection of listed structures, as well as museums, archives, and hundreds of important wildlife sites.  

We believe that living waterways transform places and enrich lives and our role is to make sure there is always a place on your doorstep where you can escape the pressures of everyday life, stretch your legs and simply feel closer to nature.  www.canalrivertrust.org.uk



       
IWA campaigns for the use, maintenance and restoration of Britain's inland waterways.
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