Warwickshire County Council
Briefing Note on HS2
The aim of this briefing is to summarise the current activity around HS2 and to keep you informed on progress. WCC has been involved over the last few months, from Ministerial meetings, community meetings to responding to formal consultations. As ever we seek to maintain close and on-going dialogue with our communities and with HS2 Ltd.
Draft Environmental Statement
The Draft Environmental Statement for HS2 Phase One was published for consultation on 16 May 2013 closing on 11 July and the County Council’s document has now been submitted. It is a substantial document and can be viewed via the WCC HS2 web site at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/hs2.
The County Council’s general view is that the Draft Environmental Statement is deficient in a number of key areas and these include:
- The apparent omission of advice from previous consultations concerning the methodology and approach to the report.
- The omission of baseline data for the traffic assessments
- The omission of baseline data for ecological surveys
- The omission of a Health Impact Assessment for affected communities
- The use of qualitative language where technical disciplines would normally expect the use of specific quantitative measures or a definition (of the qualitative descriptor).
WCC has requested a full and considered response back from HS2 Ltd on the issues raised ahead of the Hybrid Bill being deposited.
Design Refinement Consultation
A further consultation was launched at the same time as the Draft Environmental Statement on 16 May and with a closing date of 11 July. This was a consultation on the Design Refinement for Phase One. The reason for this consultation is that since the announcement of the Government’s preferred route for Phase One, engineers and environmental specialists have continued to develop the design to ensure that it is as ‘efficient, cost effective and environmentally practicable whilst also minimising impact on communities.’ (HS2 Web site). There are four changes which affect Warwickshire and these are:
- the maintenance loop at Priors Hardwick,
- the curve alignment at Water Orton,
- the eastward move of the line away from Chelmsley Wood towards Coleshill (50m)and
- the detail of the Y junction near Middleton/Kinsgbury.
Y route consultation/Phase Two
The route north of Birmingham, known as the ‘Y’ route, was announced on 28 January 2013 and takes the line on to Leeds and Manchester. A date for the launch of the consultation on this second phase of the route has not yet been made known. When it is the County Council is committed to providing the same level of support to the communities affected by this section as for Phase One. They will engage with each group affected by the planned route to talk through the plans. HS2 Ltd will probably be arranging road shows and similar events designed to inform communities ahead of the deadline for responses to the consultation.
On 9 July the Secretary of State for Transport issued Order 2010 Safeguarding directions to Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) along most of the Phase One route. This order was issued under the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England). The order is designed to protect land which has been identified for high speed rail so that no conflicting development is permitted.
Detailed information can be found at www.hs2.org.uk/safeguarding.
As well as protecting the route from conflicting development the Order means that those within the safeguarding zone can apply for compensation in line with the Statutory Blight regulations. Property owners within the safeguarding area, which covers an area of around 60 metres on each side of the line, can now begin to look at issuing a Blight Notice asking the Secretary of State for Transport to buy their property before it is needed for construction. Local Planning Authorities (District and County Councils) are now required to consult HS2 Ltd. with regard to planning applications in the safeguard area before granting planning consent.
The Judicial Review findings were challenged by 51m and heard in the Royal Courts of Justice in June 2013. The outcome of the appeal is awaited.
For further clarification on any of the above, please contact Mandy Walker or Sara Board on 01926 412830 or email: HS2@warwickshire.gov.uk