HS2 releases the environmental case for second phase

HS2 Ltd has published early detailed plans for its Birmingham to Leeds route, known as Phase 2b, which have been put out for public consultation.

The document, called the Working Draft Environmental Statement, contains HS2 Ltd’s first public assessment of the impact of the railway which runs through 18 kilometres of North Warwickshire from Kingsbury to the Leicestershire border.

The route runs through the middle of two popular Warwickshire country parks – Kingsbury Water Park and Pooley Country Park – and under the busy M42 Junction 10 where the motorway meets the A5. It also affects a number of North Warwickshire communities and takes out a section of the village playing fields at Austrey.

Cllr Jeff Clarke, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for HS2, said:

“We are currently scrutinising the plans and will publish a full response in due course on behalf of our communities. However, the document is lacking in the level of detail we would have hoped for at this stage and provides us with limited scope to properly critique the scheme.

“We urge as many individuals and groups as possible to respond to HS2 Ltd with their concerns at this point, to enable them to take account of any concerns and address them before the full environmental statement is published with the Parliamentary plans.

“The county council has adopted a pragmatic approach and we will aim to work towards mitigating the worst impacts of HS2 on Warwickshire. We will call on our unique experience of dealing with HS2 Phase One to support our residents affected by Phase 2b of the scheme.”

The HS2 eastern leg to Leeds is proposed to run through North Warwickshire, affecting communities at Bodymoor Heath, Kingsbury, Birchmoor, Polesworth, Warton and Austrey.

A viaduct is planned over the lakes at Kingsbury Water Park, which attracts 400,000 visitors a year and is home to rare bird species, boat clubs, caravanners and power boat thrillseekers, providing jobs for 200 local people.

The visitor centre at Pooley Country Park, on the edge of Polesworth, is also on the path of the railway. The park is on the site of the former Pooley Hall Colliery and £1.5 million has been invested to transform a scarred industrial landscape into a valued community asset.

HS2 Ltd’s plan is for construction to start on Phase 2b in 2026 and the railway to be operational in 2033. To enable the line to be built, hybrid bill legislation will need to be deposited to Parliament, currently scheduled for summer 2020.

To read the documents in full and respond to the consultation, visit www.gov.uk/government/consultations/hs2-phase-2b-working-draft-environmental-statement