Future of HS2 is on the line

Warwickshire County Council’s Cabinet has approved a Report to Cabinet (pdf, 18mb) on the future impact for the authority of the proposal to build a high speed (HS2) rail link through the county.

The county council is opposed to HS2 and since the January announcement that the scheme is going ahead, the authority has maintained an active dialogue with local action groups to support their bids for mitigation.

A report to Cabinet (pdf, 18mb) on Thursday (September 13) highlighted the initial extent of the implications of the scheme and Warwickshire’s mitigation standards around planning, highways, traffic and transport, public rights of way, historic environment, and ecological factors.

It also outlined the authority’s current position on HS2 and considers future need around safeguarding, blight and compensation for residents.

Cllr Bob Stevens, Deputy Leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: “The scheduled Autumn 2013 timing of the Parliamentary Bill for HS2 presents huge challenges to everyone involved. HS2 Limited are concertinaing activities to fit the timeframe which means shorter deadlines and consultations running concurrently.

“We remain concerned at a number of issues including delayed consultation on property compensation, lack of detail on the northern route, the impact of the Birmingham interchange station, and potential costs to the Warwickshire council tax payers.

“Cabinet is being asked to adopt the recommendations in the report in order for us to provide HS2 with our early thoughts on mitigation and continue to support the good work being done by the county council to date.”

Warwickshire County Council is working very closely with each of the three directly affected county districts and boroughs – Warwick, Stratford and North Warwickshire – in addition to Coventry and Solihull councils. Warwickshire is also a member of the 51M local authority group, which has successfully submitted grounds for judicial review, which will be heard in December.

The Cabinet approved the continuation of engagement on HS2 and provide HS2 Limited with the county council’s early representations on mitigation.

The introduction of the Hybrid Bill to allow HS2 to proceed is scheduled to go before Parliament at the end of next year.