2018 Lichfield Branch News

HS2 High Speed Rail Update – March 2018

IWA’s detailed national response to the Phase 2A (Fradley to Crewe) Environmental Statement consultation was submitted in September 2017 with the following summary:

Phase 2a Environmental Statement Response Summary

IWA considers that HS2 should review and change its whole approach to noise mitigation to comply with Government Policy, and to recognise all waterway users as receptors requiring noise protection at least equivalent to residential receptors, for all the reasons given above.  Wherever possible, the visual impact of the railway on the waterways and their users should also be minimised.  In particular, the following design changes should be made:

North of Fradley:

  • The height of the route across the Trent and Bourne Brook valley, including the Kings Bromley viaduct, Bourne embankment and River Trent viaduct, should be reduced to the minimum necessary for the road and river crossings to limit visual impact and noise propagation over a wide area and to reduce construction costs.
  • Noise barriers across the Phase 1 Manchester spur bridge over the Trent & Mersey Canal at Fradley should be raised and extended onto the adjacent embankments to provide more effective acoustic screening for the canal moorings, navigation and towpath users, nearby residential properties and the Conservation Area.
  • The construction details for a temporary water supply to Pyford Brook Viaduct Satellite Compound need to be reviewed to minimise impacts on the Trent & Mersey Canal banks and habitat.

At Great Haywood:

  • The height of the viaduct alongside Great Haywood Marina should be reduced to the minimum necessary to bridge the existing railway line to help limit noise and visual impacts.
  • The noise fencing across Great Haywood viaduct should be further raised to the maximum possible to provide better noise protection for the residentially used moorings, manager’s flat, and the other marina, canal and towpath users, and to limit damage to the marina and associated businesses.
  • Further details should be provided of the two proposed temporary bridges over the Trent & Mersey Canal at Great Haywood and any impacts on the navigation and towpath should be minimised.
  • An adequate temporary noise fence barrier should be provided along the boundary of the Trent South Embankment Main Compound with the existing railway to reduce noise impacts on the canal and boat moorings around Hoo Mill.

Phase 2a Petition

The High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Hybrid Bill was given its second reading on 30th January, triggering a petitioning period to 26th February.  With the retirement of Gren Messham, and as all the waterway impacts are in Lichfield Branch area, Trustees authorised Lichfield Branch Chairman Phil Sharpe to submit IWA’s Petition.  This concentrates on the main outstanding issue affecting waterways users; the impact of noise where the railway crosses or runs close to waterways and the inadequacy of the noise mitigation measures proposed so far.

IWA’s petition in 2014 against the canal crossings at Woodend, Fradley led to the route of the Handsacre Link being altered as we had requested.  Other issues raised in this petition, along with additional matters in IWA’s 2015 petition, were heard by the Commons Select Committee in 2016 and some of these were subsequently resolved.  Two outstanding matters were then raised in IWA’s 2016 petition to the Lords Select Committee.  The realignment of Wood End Lane is still not resolved but is subject to Assurances which may yet lead to a resolution, and the other issue is noise mitigation.

Noise Mitigation

Most canal boats are used residentially for varying periods of time, both when moving and when moored, and on most sections of canal mooring is allowed for up to 14 days.  Excessive noise from HS2 could render whole sections of canal ‘no-go’ areas for mooring and have a negative impact on the many users of the canal towpath.  However, HS2 continues to regard all canal users as transient and not worthy of consideration for noise mitigation, except for a limited number of permanent residential moorings.

HS2 will provide noise mitigation measures, such as noise fencing and earth bunding, only for what they consider to be permanently occupied residential sites.  Thus a marina or a popular mooring area along the canal which is used by a succession of boats, each being used residentially for varying periods, is dismissed on the grounds that it is not the same people all the time.  This blinkered and inflexible definition of what constitutes a residential site is not reasonable and not acceptable.

IWA contends that occupied boats, whether on recognised residential moorings, on permanent moorings, or on visitor or casual moorings should all be treated as residential, and therefore similar to residential buildings for the purposes of noise mitigation.  Providing adequate noise protection for all areas where boats may at present moor up in the vicinity of HS2 would automatically also provide protection for towpath users and help maintain public use and enjoyment of the waterways.

The additional cost of providing adequate protection would be small.  On Phase 2A some noise fencing is proposed at and north of Fradley Junction and at Great Haywood, but it has not so far been designed to provide sufficient protection for canal users and needs to be extended and raised in height.

HS2 should recognise all canal boats as residential and all canals as residential locations, with the provision of appropriate noise mitigation at all canal interfaces in Phase 2A, and also in previous and future phases.

See the full text of IWA’s Petition on Phase 2a.