Serious fears over HS2 plans
THE CANAL & RIVER Trust has expressed ‘serious concerns’ at the impact of Phase 2B of the HS2 highspeed railway on the canal system.
Responding to a consultation into proposed modifications to the second phase of HS2 (from the Midlands to the North-West and Yorkshire), the Trust highlighted ‘key issues that could have a serious and adverse effect on parts of the canal network’ and made proposals aimed at mitigating these effects. They include:
• A train depot near Crewe that involves a four-track 100m-wide ‘tunnel-like’ crossing which CRT says would have a ‘severe adverse impact’ on the Shropshire Union Middlewich Branch. CRT urges HS2 to move the depot, or to at least redesign the approaches, reducing the crossing to two tracks.
• Three rail crossings (up to 12m high) in 3km of the Trent & Mersey near Northwich. CRT urges HS2 to revert to the original plan of one canal crossing.
• A crossing of the Ashby northern reaches (under restoration) south of Measham at a height which would preclude reopening on the original route. This is ‘not acceptable’ to CRT, which proposes diverting the canal if this route option for HS2 is adopted.
• The original HS2 plans would severely impact the Chesterfield Canal (under restoration) in the Staveley area. CRT supports the proposed route modification to run alongside the M1 which would reduce the impact. However the line would still need to allow for the canal where it crosses at Norwood and where a depot access track crosses at Staveley. CRT Chief Executive Richard Parry pointed out that the first phase of HS2 had been modified to reduce its impact on the canals at Fradley, and said that “we look forward to further dialogue on the proposals for Phase 2B”.