IWA Petition to Reduce Impact of HS2 on Waterways

IWA Petition to Reduce Impact of HS2 on Waterways

05 February 2016

At the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill  Select Committee hearing in Parliament yesterday, IWA and Canal & River Trust (CRT) gave evidence on the potential impact of the high speed rail link on the country’s historic waterways.

IWA’s Gren Messham and CRT's Marcus Chaloner, separately briefed the cross-bench committee of MPs, highlighting concerns about HS2 Ltd’s plans in the vicinity of the waterways, and improvements to protect the attractiveness and historic character of the canals.  Issues raised by the organisations focused on the proposed canal crossing at Curdworth, the impact of HS2 generated noise and the noise and visual intrusion created by the proposed alignment of Wood End Lane on the Trent & Mersey Canal near Fradley.

IWA and CRT hope that the Select Committee will recommend that the requests of the two organisations are incorporated into the final design of Phase 1 of the HS2 project.

3rd February 2016

Although there has been success with changes through consultation with the route of Phase 1 of HS2, the high speed train link from London to the Midlands, The Inland Waterways Association still has concerns about the adverse effect that this project will have on the local environment and quality of life of many people on its route, both during construction and subsequent operation.

The Chairman of IWA's Navigation Committee, Gren Messham, will be petitioning the Government's Select Committee on Thursday 4th February to report on the impact that the current proposals of HS2 will have on inland waterways infrastructure and users.  The waterways affected include both existing navigations and canals under restoration.

IWA's petition is based on the experience and knowledge of its members whose interests include boating, towpath walking, industrial archaeology, nature conservation and many other activities associated with inland waterways.  The Association has worked closely with its local branches along the HS2 route to gather information to present to the Hearing.

A major concern for the Association is the level of noise that waterway users will be exposed to especially at canal crossings, and in the vicinity of short and long term moorings during construction and from trains.  The waterways particularly affected include:

  • Grand Union Canal (Harefield, Longhole Viaduct, Slough Arm, Old Oak Common, Willesden);
  • Oxford Canal (nr Wormleighton);
  • Birmingham & Fazeley Canal (Curdworth);
  • Lichfield Canal and Lichfield Cruising Club moorings;
  • Trent & Mersey Canal (Fradley).

IWA’s position is that the level of noise expected is not acceptable and 'best available technology' engineering and mitigation need to be used by HS2 to meet the UK Government's Noise Policy aims.

In original proposals for HS2 the Trent & Mersey Canal and its corridor were crossed by four separate rail structures.  The Association is pleased that these have now been moved away from the canal leaving only the Main Line crossing.  However, the section of canal between the Main Line viaduct and the far side of Wood End Lock Cottage is now adversely affected by moving Wood End Lane closer to it .  The Association has proposed an alternative route for this road which will:

  • avoid high road embankments;
  • avoid noise and visual impacts on the heritage interest of the Trent & Mersey Canal Conservation Area;
  • minimise construction impacts;
  • avoid wider impacts on the recreation, tourism and economic benefits of the canal system;
  • minimise changes to connecting roads;
  • reduce construction costs by avoiding extensive embankments.

The Inland Waterways Association accepts that the overall economic and social case for HS2 is for the Government to make and for Parliament to decide but requests that the project be designed and implemented so as to minimise its impacts, to mitigate those impacts that cannot be avoided, and to fully compensate all those disadvantaged by its construction and operation.

Read the full report on the Petition.

Find out more about IWA's HS2 campaign.

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