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High Speed 2 - 21st century infrastructure needs 21st century mitigation

15 May 2013

Making HS2s infrastructure blend in with the countryside is a key challenge Making HS2s infrastructure blend in with the countryside is a key challenge © Shutterstock

The publication of detailed environmental information for HS2 between London and Birmingham is imminent - the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) calls for a step change in mitigation and information.

Ralph Smyth, Senior Transport Campaigner for CPRE says:

‘The Government has announced new tunnels for HS2’s route in London, Birmingham and at the site of a controversial, greenfield warehouse proposal in Leicestershire [1]. If it is to take protecting our countryside as seriously as votes and jobs, we would expect to hear similar additional mitigation announced where HS2 would pass through tranquil rural areas.’

‘Providing for farmers’ access needs, preserving rights of way and enhancing connectivity for wildlife while protecting the character of the countryside may sound like a long shopping list. But investment in good design, such as green bridges and tunnels, can help provide for all these important needs simultaneously. Being fit for the 21st century should not just be about high speed but responding well to a range of needs on a crowded island.’

The consultation draft Environmental Statement for phase 1 of HS2 is expected imminently and is likely to be many thousands of pages long. CPRE has been raising concerns with High Speed 2 Ltd for two years about the poor quality of the information on its website, which is not of the same standard as public information for comparable European rail projects.

Smyth continued:

‘Ministers tell us HS2 will bring us into the 21st century, yet the information about the project is largely contained in cumbersome documentation. Communities along the route will feel completely overwhelmed by huge and highly technical reports setting out the detailed design of HS2. If this is going to be a fair consultation that is genuinely open to all, we urgently need to see innovative new consultation methods, such as interactive maps showing potential landscape, noise and wildlife impacts of HS2.’

End

Notes to Editors

[1] In the last month, tunnels have been approved where HS2 passes through Ealing and Northolt in London, under the M6 in Birmingham and in Leicestershire.


Find out more: CPRE's concerns with HS2

More information is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/longer-hs2-tunnel-could-help-developer-create-over-7000-jobs-in-east-midlands

http://www.hs2.org.uk/news-resources/press-releases

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