HS2 environmental report is ‘deficient’

HS2 environmental report is ‘deficient’

Warwickshire County Council has issued a damning response
to high speed rail’s draft Environmental Statement (ES)
consultation.
In a report approved by Cabinet last night (Thursday), the
county council has described HS2 Limited’s draft ES as
“deficient in a number of key areas”.

Among the main areas of concern listed by officers is the
lack of basic data on traffic generation, a number of
errors in the construction traffic predictions, very poor
ecological surveys, failure to listen to the previous
concerns raised by the council in past consultations, and
the absence of a health impact assessment – which is now
considered best practice for developments of this scale.

Cllr Bob Stevens, Warwickshire County Council’s Cabinet
member for HS2, said: “It is clear that this has been
rushed through and little care has been paid to the real
impact on local communities. We are highly sceptical that
the published timetable from HS2 will leave enough time for
the documents to be brought up to a standard we could find
acceptable.

“Given that we had only eight weeks to respond to this
report, we want more time to respond on the full
Environmental Statement before the papers are put before
Parliament.

“We have asked that HS2 Limited addresses the clear
deficiencies and errors in its report and drastically
improves its documentation for the full Environmental
Statement before the hybrid bill is introduced to
Parliament later this year.

“In spite of the very poor – and in part deficient –
quality of the reports being produced by HS2 Limited, I
have been impressed with the quality and calibre of the
Parishes and community group responses.

“It is obvious to me that if HS2 does not take proper
account of local concerns, their vision and the promised
benefits for this project are doomed to fail.”

Cllr Richard Chattaway, Warwickshire County Council’s
Labour Group Deputy Leader, added: “The costs associated
with HS2 – estimated at hundreds of thousands of pounds a
year – are falling on Warwickshire residents, and I do not
think it is fair. It is Government project and they should
be reimbursing Warwickshire for the full amount. It is also
time the Government started to listen to our community’s
concerns about HS2.”

The draft Environmental Statement was issued for an eight
week public consultation – rather than the normal 12 by HS2
Limited – which ended on 11 July. The 5,000 page paper was
made up of 26 local area reports and over 500 pages of
detail for Warwickshire.

Warwickshire County Council remains opposed to the HS2
project and agreed to work with other local authorities as
part of the 51M Group – a consortium opposed to the HS2
proposals – which is providing a co-ordinated response to
the scheme.

Officers on behalf of the authority are currently in
dialogue with HS2 Limited to engage on the process and
scrutinise the plans, and to secure the best possible
outcome for Warwickshire residents affected by the scheme.

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