IWA Submits HS2 Bill Petition02 June 2014
Towards the end of May, IWA formally submitted its Petition to the House of Commons against the High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill.
IWA’s Petition summarises the position the Association has taken on HS2 Phase 1 in its responses to previous consultations and at meetings with HS2 Ltd.. IWA does not object to HS2 in principle but the current proposed HS2 route could have an extensive negative impact on the built heritage, tranquillity and amenity value of various canal navigations, their access and enjoyment by the public and their commercial interests.
IWA’s Petition specifically mentions the following issues that need to be improved because of the impact they could have on the waterways:
- Noise reduction wherever the route crosses or approaches canals.
- Vertical deviations on canal crossings, as the Bill currently allows the route to be lowered by any amount, and raised by up to three metres.
- Waterway Design Principles, IWA wants to see good design, rather than ‘lowest cost’ design, used on canal crossings to ensure minimum negative impact at locations such as Curdworth and Colne Valley.
- Clearances for boats and towpath users around permanent and temporary works to be maintained.
- Redesign of the HS2 link line canal crossings at Fradley to avoid the canal.
- Specific attention to the HS2 underbridge over the Grand Union Canal at Saltley Viaduct, to ensure a positive space is created rather than a dark ‘hole’ everyone avoids.
- Careful design of the Curzon Street Station deck, which arches over Digbeth Branch & Ashted Lock, again to create a positive rather than negative space and to take the opportunity to put something attractive in this part of Birmingham’s inland waterway network
IWA has and continues to follow a number of routes to object to the Bill. Submission of a formal Petition is just one of these. This is an agreed Parliamentary process that provides individuals, groups and organisations with an opportunity to oppose the Bill or to seek its amendment by appearing in person before a specially-convened Select Committee in either or both Houses of Parliament.
The Petition submitted by IWA seeks assurance that appropriate steps will be taken to maintain the current character and environment of and to minimise the impact on waterways and their associated structures where HS2 crosses and runs close to navigations.
The next step is for the Promoter’s representative, HS2 Ltd., to be provided with a copy of all the Petitions and respond to petitioners with their counter proposals. Petitioners may then either withdraw, because they are satisfied that their concerns have been addressed, or continue with their Petition. Eventually the Select Committee will consider the specific Petition, and determine what it thinks should be done on the issues raised, before the Bill becomes law.
The principle of HS2 has already been approved by Parliament, in its second reading of the Bill at the end of April this year. The length of time it may take for the Select Committee to consider all the Petitions is not clear.
Download and read IWA's Petition against the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill.
All Petitions against the High Speed (London - West Midlands) Bill are being published on the Parliament website.
Find out more about IWA's HS2 Campaign.