The government’s announcement on 21st August of a comprehensive review into the whole HS2 High Speed Rail project – including its benefits and impacts, affordability and efficiency, deliverability, scope and phasing – promised a report due by ‘the autumn’ and a decision on whether or how to proceed expected by the end of the year. However, various preparatory works continue, including archaeology, demolitions and utility diversions, Phase 2a has been passed by the House of Lords and changes to Phase 2b have been announced.
Our response was submitted to the latest consultation on Design Refinement proposals for Phase 2b, Crewe to Manchester and West Midlands to Leeds, which closed on 6 September.
The proposed changes affect the Coventry Canal at Polesworth, the Erewash Canal at Sandiacre and Stanton Gate, the unrestored Nottingham Canal, and the Aire & Calder Navigation near Fishpond Lock.
At Polesworth an access road is now proposed close to the Coventry Canal and the moorings at Pooley Country Park. We have asked for it to be set back, access to the moorings maintained, and re-iterated the need for more noise fencing on the viaduct and embankment.
At Stanton Gate a change of route to avoid diverting the M1 means the motorway bridge over the Erewash Canal will no longer need to be demolished and replaced, saving much disruption. However, there will be a new road bridge at Stanton Gate, an auto-transformer station needs screening, and concerns about the height of the viaduct, the design of its two very skew canal crossings and the need for noise protection for the canal remain.
The Nottingham Canal at Trowell, although abandoned, is part of a long distance footpath and a local nature reserve, and could be restored back to Langley Mill. But the new HS2 route would sever it with a deep cutting and we have asked for an aqueduct to maintain the continuity of the towpath and the water supply.
The Aire & Calder Navigation will be affected by moving the route onto a viaduct from Woodlesford passed Fishpond Lock to Rodhill Corner. We have asked that the viaduct piers should not narrow this commercial navigation, for more information on the design and visual impact, and for noise barriers to protect recreational canal users.
Read the full text of our HS2 Phase 2b Consultation Response (pdf, 236KB)