IWA Preparing for HS2 Phase 2B Consultations13 December 2016
On 15 November 2016 Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, announced the letting of contracts for Phase 1 of HS2, enabling works in advance of Royal Assent for the Phase 1 Bill, worth up to £900m. At the same time he announced the publication of "a command paper and accompanying maps, setting out the full detail of my preferred route for the HS2 Phase 2b route". This is the long-awaited response to the consultations responded to by IWA and others in February 2013, when we outlined our concerns over the impact on inland waterways. Examples included the Chesterfield Canal, where the route ran over a section of already- restored canal, and the Aire & Calder around Woodlesford where the rail route ran along and over the navigation without allowing sufficient clearance for the existing commercial traffic, let alone the Euro 2 expansion CRT were aiming for. Happily these two examples seem to have done better in these latest announcements - subject of course to the outcome of the consultations. However other canal crossings have come off worse, as the route has been altered to avoid difficult ground conditions or other issues. IWA will prepare a response at a national level, and work with branches and canal societies and restoration trusts in conjunction with CRT and other navigation authorities to influence the outcome of HS2’s consultations.
These are the consultations announced on 15th November, with a closing date of 9 March 2017:
1. HS2 Crewe to Manchester, West Midlands to Leeds: Route Refinement Consultation 2016- seven specific changes to the previous (2013) route. This is the main consultation, and relates to:
On the western leg:
- to move the previously proposed rolling stock depot at Golborne to a site north of Crewe; at Golborne it impacted the Leeds and Liverpool on the opposite side of the valley;
- to move the approach to Manchester Piccadilly up to 370 metres eastwards with the northern tunnel portal in Ardwick, to avoid direct impacts on residential properties and a school at West Gorton;
- to move the route in the Middlewich - Northwich area in Cheshire up to 800 metres westwards; this impacts the Trent and Mersey Canal where a single crossing now becomes 3 crossings on a 20 metre high embankment;
- also the Middlewich Branch where a single crossing has now become a wider crossing approaching the New Crofton Rolling Stock depot north of Crewe.
On the eastern leg:
- to move the route to the east of Measham in Leicestershire, avoiding the most significant impacts on local manufacturing businesses and development sites;
- this now proposes a crossing of the Ashby Canal restoration route without providing sufficient height;
- to go around instead of tunnel under East Midlands Airport;
- to amend the alignment of the preferred route as it passes through Long Eaton to reduce severance in the local community and reduce impacts on the highway network and existing rail infrastructure;
- This appears to reduce impact slightly on the Erewash Canal, but may encourage other transport connections impacting the Derby Canal restoration;
- to move the alignment of the route from Derbyshire to West Yorkshire to reflect a change in the proposals for serving the Sheffield city region, as recommended by Sir David Higgins in his report Sheffield and South Yorkshire published in July 2016;
- This reduces the catastrophic impact on the Chesterfield Canal near Staveley, however the new crossing around the Norwood Tunnel will not be straightforward and requires further work.
2. HS2 Crewe to Manchester, West Midlands to Leeds: Property Consultation 2016: This consultation is seeking views on the various property compensation and assistance schemes the Government is proposing for people affected by the plans for the Phase 2b route, from Crewe to Manchester and West Midlands to Leeds.
The ‘Preferred Routes’ announced by the Secretary of State are not specifically out for consultation, but include a number of inland waterway crossings in addition to those in the ‘Design Refinement’ consultation above. IWA will study these in detail and include any references or concerns where possible in the Design Refinement consultation, or otherwise raise them with HS2.
IWA, CRT and impacted canal societies will also continue to discuss the detailed changes to collate our views and open discussions. The current information issued comprises plans of routes on an Ordnance Survey background with elevation and general layout details but relatively little else, and there is more information in Route Engineering Reports which may provide further useful detail.