Warwickshire County Council Briefing Notes – December 2010

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Warwickshire County Council at it’s meeting on the 14 December, voted to oppose the plans for the high speed rail scheme in its present form. Cllr Alan Cockburn, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Economy said “At this time WCC can see no benefit from HS2 for Warwickshire and today’s Council resolution reflects our concerns. We are committed to continuing to work with HS2 Ltd to ensure that if the proposals go ahead the impact on the Warwickshire countryside is kept to a minimum and residents, businesses and recreational facilities are protected as far as possible.”

The County Council will receive further reports once the public consultation is underway which is anticipated to be in February 2011. It will look in detail at the impact of the proposal now that the final route for consultation has been announced.

Details of the final route for consultation published on 20 December are available on the Department for Transport website.

The Minister’s Statement (pdf 21KB) is attached.

The maps on the county council’s website will be updated shortly.

Following an initial meeting with HS2 Ltd’s Consultation team the County, Borough and District representatives are to meet again in early January to establish the scope and engagement activities ahead of the public consultation due to take place between February – July 2011. 

On 2 December, Cllr Stevens with members from 13 other local authorities affected by the route, met with the Secretary of State for Transport. This meeting gave an opportunity for common concerns to be expressed to the Minister, including the inadequacy of the business case to date and justification of the project based on national interest. A further meeting is planned ahead of the public consultation.

Background

The County Council’s position on the HS2 proposals announced on 11 March 2010 has been in the public domain for some time with all the relevant documents posted on the website.

The specific documents are those relating to:

  • the meeting of the Cabinet on 22 April,
  • the Portfolio Holder decision of 14 May on the Exceptional Hardship Scheme and
  • the Leader’s Questions at the Full County Council meeting on 29 June.
  • the meeting of Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 3 November
  • Full Council meeting 14 December 2010

Current Route Proposal

The last few months have seen several revisions to the proposals published in March of this year.

On 8 September this year, the Government published ‘Refining the Alignment of HS2’s Recommended Route’’. The realignment moves away from the villages of Ladboke and Stoneleigh, butcloser to Southam, Kenilworth, Cubbington and the RASE showground. Therefore, whilst the route change may benefit some, it may equally cause a greater number of people further concerns.
On 5 October, Philip Hammond announced the Government’s preferred intention for the northern extension of HS2 – the so-called ‘Y’ network option -, incorporating two separate legs from Birmingham to Manchester and from Birmingham to Leeds, with options for serving the East Midlands and South Yorkshire. The detailed report on the specific routes developed through this work is due in December 2011. The consultation confirms the Government’s latest proposed route in detail and WCC will respond formally to the consultation.

Along with the Minister’s announcement on 20 December, further route refinements have been made and accompanying reports produced. For Warwickshire, the latest information includes a review of the Delta Junction, near Water Orton but no further changes are being recommended to the route published previously due to the complex layout of the transport infrastructure. Also a revised alignment was considered to avoid an ornamental lake at Edgecote House, Northamptonshire which would have resulted in the alignment extending closer to Wormleighton. However, it has been concluded that this alternative is not to be incorporated into further revisions. Members will receive a report in the New Year on the detail of the refinements announced on 20December.

WCC Role

The County Council has maintained an active dialogue with HS2 Ltd and other local authorities on several fronts, including attending;

  • HS2 Ltd organised series of technical workshops on 14 October and 12 November,

The areas considered were:

  • infrastructure and technical specification
  • noise
  • modelling, forecasting and economic appraisal.

In October an Environmental Impact conference hosted by Buckinghamshire County Council, which WCC officers attended,

  • On 25 October HS2 Ltd held a meeting for Transport Portfolio Holders, which Cllr Cockburn attended.
  • On 3 November Communities Overview and Scrutiny received a report, outlining the status of the Government’s proposals for HS2, confirming WCC’s role to date and providing Members with information on the next steps. Several action groups were invited to the meeting to share their views with the Committee.
  • On 4 November Cllr Stevens, Cllr Lea and M Walker joined a group of other local authority members and officers on a visit to HS1.
  • On 5 November the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber hosted, for its members, a meeting for local businesses to consider HS2. It was confirmed that the Chamber would reflect the views of its members and if required would be led by a majority view.
  • On 9 November an initial meeting was held with representatives from the Borough, District and County Council with the HS2 Ltd Consultation team. The purpose of the meeting was for HS2 Ltd to share their consultation engagement proposals – these were felt to be inadequate and a full meeting is being arranged to discuss this further.
  • On 29 November a regional business seminar hosted by Birmingham Chamber of Commerce took place to allow businesses across the region to consider HS2.
  • On 14 December WCC full council received a report considering the County Council’s position on HS2, and voted to oppose the scheme in its present form.

Next Steps

Following the Council resolution on 14 December 2010, WCC will in the new year be coordinating with other local authorities along the route and action groups in Warwickshire on HS2.

  • The information required to examine the impact of HS2 on Warwickshire, is not likely to be forthcoming in the short/medium term. Therefore, the HS2 Members working group, at its next meeting in the New Year, may wish to consider officer’s suggestions for commissioning specific pieces of work, either independently or as part of a regional working group, to help plug the current gap in information on local impacts, which will allow a proper examination of the impact of HS2 for Warwickshire.
  • There are many lessons that can be learnt from existing major infrastructure projects, both within the region and externally eg HS1. Officers consider internal work should also be carried out to capture the lessons, to ensure Warwickshire is best placed to respond when the Government opens its consultation on HS2.
  • We will continue to be a conduit for disseminating information to local groups and individuals on HS2 and will work with HS2 Ltd to seek to ensure the formal consultation process is adequately delivered within Warwickshire.
  • Any future work, beyond internal officer time, would be funded from the existing HS2 budget (£50k) which is a one off budget for 2010/11.

Next HS2 Members Steering Group meeting 

A meeting is being set up for January.

Latest timetable

Estimated Timing
HS2 Project Stage
Late October 2010 Announcement of preferred network shape and future approach
December 2010 Announcement from Secretary of State for Transport on final route proposals, for London – Birmingham
February- July 2011 Consultation on high speed rail London to West Midlands Route
Late Summer 2011 Publication of line of route from Birmingham to Manchester/Leeds
July – December 2011 Analyse of consultation responses and publish proposed route and strategy
March 2012 Consultation on line/s of route north of Birmingham
October 2013 First Hybrid Bill goes to Parliament
2015 Commencement of enabling works
2017 Completion of Cross Rail


If you require any further clarification please do not hesitate to contact Mandy Walker on 01926 412843 or email: HS2@warwickshire.gov.uk

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