IWA Submits HS2 Phase 1 Consultation Response28 February 2014
IWA has submitted its response to HS2's Phase 1 Hybrid Bill Environmental Statement Consultation.
The Government first announced its preferred route for the £42 billion HS2 high speed rail line between London and the Midlands in 2011. The route showed several canal crossing points, particularly on the Trent & Mersey Canal in the area around Fradley Junction in Staffordshire. Since then, IWA has been involved with the proposals for the route, also known as phase 1, locally and nationally.
The closing date for the consultation on the Phase 1 Environmental Statement that accompanied the HS2 Phase 1 Hybrid Bill (formally known as the ‘High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill’) was Thursday 27th February 2014.
IWA's response included:
- The need to preserve clearances over canals, towpaths and restorations for permanent and temporary works
- The need to reduce impact on the Trent and Mersey Canal at Fradley by redesigning the crossings
- Better design of the HS2 underbridge over the Grand Union Canal at Saltley Viaduct, to keep the space light and be less intimidating
- The need for exceptional care with the new Curzon Street Station design above the Digbeth Branch & Ashted Lock, to preserve operability of the canal and create a positive environment (fitting into Birmingham City Council’s recent announcement on a Canal Quarter)
- Better noise mitigation route-wide, with particular reference to canal users
- The need to manage any ‘vertical deviations’ (i.e. raising or lowering the railway compared with existing plans) on canal crossings to ensure minimum headroom is maintained
- Support for the use of Canal & River Trust's (CRT) ’Waterway Design Principles’ to guide the design of waterway/ HS2 intersections and make sure the ‘waterway angle’ is catered for.
IWA and CRT worked together to commission a report on an ‘Alternative Alignment’ proposal at Fradley from Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd, which confirms the viability of IWA's alternative proposed in January 2012. This report has been included in its entirety in IWA’s response. In parallel with this submission, CRT and IWA have held discussions at many levels including IWA's National Chairman, Les Etheridge and CRT's Chief Executive, Richard Parry, about how best to deploy the report. IWA and CRT will be meeting with HS2 Ltd to discuss the Hyder Report and press for its adoption.
IWA has submitted its response to the consultants who are handling this consultation. The Parliamentary process requires that an independent assessor be appointed by Parliament to consider these responses and produce a report for MPs in 28 days. Second Reading may not take place until at least 14 days after that report is produced. At the Second Reading the principle of building HS2 will be debated and agreed (or not).
At that point the House will agree the future timetable for the Bill, including when and how to petition. This will be the main opportunity for those directly affected to petition the specially-convened Select Committee of MPs and make their case.
Gren Messham, IWA HS2 Campaign & Communications Group Chairman said "As always many thanks to members who have consistently supported IWA in pulling together this response, which we all hope will get a better outcome for waterways and waterway users impacted by HS2."
Find out more about IWA's HS2 Campaign
See IWA’s HS2 Phase 1 Consultation response