HS2 in Hansard 04/11/2014

HS2 Safeguarding Consultation

The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Patrick
McLoughlin): Further to my statement of 27 October,
Official Report, column 7WS, in which I welcomed the
key recommendations in Sir David Higgins’ report
“Rebalancing Britain”, I am today announcing to the
House the launch of a consultation on safeguarding
directions for the western leg of HS2 phase 2 between
Fradley, near Lichfield, to Crewe.
Safeguarding is an established part of the planning
system in the UK. It ensures that land which has been
identified for major infrastructure is protected from
conflicting development. The consultation will run for
nine weeks, closing on 6 January 2015.
In Sir David’s “HS2 Plus” report of March 2014 he
suggested opening the line to a new hub station in
Crewe in 2027, six years earlier than planned. In response
I commissioned HS2 Ltd to undertake a route consideration
process, informed by feedback from consultation.While
a decision has yet to be made on the phase 2 route, I can
inform the House that the analysis we have undertaken
to date, points towards an onward connection from
HS2 phase 1 through to Crewe and that it is therefore
appropriate to consult on whether I should make
safeguarding directions for that part of the route.
HS2 Ltd has examined hundreds of options for the
whole route for the western leg of phase 2 across five
criteria: constructibility sustainability, journey time,
cost, and demand. HS2 Ltd has refined these options
into a number of recommendations through a sifting
process that balanced these different criteria. Following
a careful consideration of the suggestions put forward
by consultees, including those put forward by Stoke-on-
Trent city council, HS2 Ltd advice is that on the analysis
done so far—and there is more to do—the Crewe route
looks likely to be the right route choice.
A connection from the high speed line to the west
coast main line at Crewe would allow towns across the
north west to benefit from HS2 with trains running direct
to Crewe, Liverpool, Carlisle, Lancaster, Preston,Wigan,
Warrington, Chester and Runcorn. Crewe would also
permit ready access to HS2 to north Wales. HS2 Ltd’s
analysis recognises the importance of serving these
areas too.
Other destinations served by the proposed HS2 phase 2
route, on both the eastern and western side of the
country, should be reassured that we continue to be
committed to a Y-shaped HS2 network delivered as
quickly as possible. Decisions on the phase 2 route will
be taken when the necessary analysis has been completed,
and my Department continues to carefully review the
material submitted by consultees and the further work
undertaken by HS2 Ltd.While we work towards finalising
a route for phase 2, I cannot rule out the possibility of
needing to make changes to the route including from
Fradley to Crewe. But in the interests of ensuring the
timely and economic delivery of phase 2, I must consider
protecting that part of the route from conflicting
development in the meantime. Making safeguarding
directions would also trigger the entitlement for affected
owner-occupiers to ask the Government to buy their
property under statutory blight arrangements.
Following a decision on the route of phase 2, HS2 Ltd
will undertake a more detailed design study; and
safeguarding directions made following this consultation
would have to be reviewed. As with safeguarding for
HS2 phase 1, updates are also to be expected as greater
understanding of the engineering requirements will clarify
whether or not the correct land is safeguarded or whether
any changes need to be made.
I am placing copies of both the phase 2 (Fradley to
Crewe) safeguarding consultation and the HS2 safeguarding
maps (Fradley to Crewe): general notes on draft safeguarded
area documents in the Libraries of both Houses.