HS2 and Lichfield District

Our response to HS2

We object to High Speed 2 as we feel that it is unlikely to bring the claimed economic benefits to residents and businesses in Lichfield District. We also believe its development will negatively impact our local environment and our communities. Our views are shared by Staffordshire County Council and many local people.

Whilst we object to the proposals in principle, we have been actively engaged with the plans for HS2 in an effort to ensure government and ministers listened to local concerns about the impact of the construction and operation of the rail line on local communities and the environment. 

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About HS2

High Speed 2 is a Government backed and promoted proposal to develop a high speed rail line between London and the West Midlands (Phase 1) with latter spurs to Manchester and Leeds (Phase 2).

In January 2012, the Secretary of State for Transport announced a preferred route for Phase 1 with the line running from Euston in Camden, London to a point just south of Handsacre in Lichfield District, where there would be a connection with the existing West Coast Mainline. Approximately 12 miles of the preferred route lies within Lichfield District, the only part of Staffordshire impacted by Phase 1.

Following significant work developing a route design and evaluating the impacts of the proposals in November 2013, the government laid before parliament a hybrid bill seeking the legislative powers to build and operate HS2 Phase 1.

On 15 May 2014 we formally petitioned parliament setting out our concerns about the HS2 hybrid bill and asked for key changes. Read our petition.

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About HS2 phase 2

The government plans for HS2 to link with the north-west and Yorkshire and Humber. In January 2013 the Secretary of State for Transport announced preferred routes for respective spurs to Manchester and Leeds off the Phase 1 route. 

The Manchester Spur would start at a point close to Fradley Business Park and travel through Lichfield District, Stafford Borough, Newcastle Borough and then Cheshire before connecting at Manchester. 

The Leeds spur would start at a point close to Coleshill/M42/NEC/Birmingham International slightly touch upon Tamworth Borough before travelling through Derbyshire, Leicestershire and South Yorkshire before connecting at Leeds.

On the 17 July 2013 a period of consultation commenced on Phase 2 and ran until 31 January 2014. As with consultation on Phase 1, we worked with Staffordshire County Council and duly submitted a joint response to the consultation by the January 2014 deadline.

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September 2017 update 

Download our latest HS2 LDC briefing paper - September 2017

Following an announcement in 2012 of plans for High Speed 2, on 23 February 2017, royal assent was granted by parliament for the construction and operation of a high speed rail link between London Euston and Handsacre, Lichfield District. This is known as HS2 Phase 1. 

Lichfield District Council has worked with parliamentary agents, Staffordshire County Council and other parties throughout the development of the plans for Phase 1 to minimise any adverse impacts to residents of the district and the environment of the construction and operation of the rail link. The HS2 Phase 1 act and the related supporting assurances and undertakings & agreed guidance reflects the council’s involvement in the process, as much as has been permitted.

The act can be viewed at www.legislation.gov.uk

Download the environmental minimum requirements which accompany the Bill (and include the code of construction practice).

Download the updated register of undertakings and assurances.

Following royal assent, the nominated undertaker - HS2 Limited - is now working up its implementation plans for construction of the railway. This will involve HS2 securing the necessary detailed consents for aspects of the route design and construction e.g. bridges, plant, highway routes and carrying out necessary preparatory or enabling works. 

As local planning authority, Lichfield District Council has agreed to be a qualifying authority (as has Staffordshire County Council as highways authority) for the purpose of assessing the detailed proposals, meaning it will have more say in what can and cannot be built/developed – this does not however override the principle of development of the railway which was granted by the act.  Schedule 17 consent applications have begun being submitted to the council for its determination.

Separately, HS2 Limited is putting together information which will help the local authorities and local communities understand the timing and nature of activities associated with the construction of the railway. Community engagement strategies will be produced alongside work programmes explaining planned actions.  These will be made available to view on a new and dedicated HS2 website and updated regularly.

HS2 Phase 1 is due to be operational by 2026. 

On 17 July the government deposited in parliament a hybrid bill setting out plans for Phase 2a of HS2 – the north-west link from Fradley in Lichfield District to Crewe.  As part of the bill deposit a consultation exercise also commenced on the environmental statement (ES) supporting the proposed route design and mitigation. At the same time as submitting the bill to parliament the government formally announced its intentions to progress in due course a similar bill to cover Phase 2b linking Phase 1 to Leeds via Derby/Nottingham and Sheffield.

Lichfield District Council is presently working with Staffordshire County Council to prepare a response to the ES consultation. A report was presented to the council's cabinet on 5 September setting out the basis for a response and setting out the key issues - download our latest HS2 LDC briefing paper - September 2017.

Following the end of the consultation period all comments will be presented alongside the bill when it receives its second reading. This is likely to occur sometime in the new year. If approved at the second reading stage the bill will then pass to a House of Commons Select committee who will scrutinise the bill contents in detail and indicate where it believes amendments should be made by parliament. As with Phase 1 this will give the council and other interested and affected parties the opportunity to petition the House of Commons (the same process also applies at the House of Lords stage) where there are issues which raise concern. This may result in changes to the final route and design.

Phase 2a is due to be operational by 2033.    

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Future actions

Phase 1 – Lichfield District Council is starting to receive schedule 17 consent submissions by HS2 necessary to allow it build the railway. HS2 under a service level agreement with Lichfield District Council will cover the costs of the work created as a result of this process.

Both Lichfield District Council and Staffordshire County Council sit on a route-wide planning forum which brings together all relevant local planning authorities impacted upon by Phase 1 and representatives from HS2 Limited. The forum will continue to be the conduit for raising and addressing issues in respect of implementing the act.

Meetings have recently taken place with representatives of HS2 Limited to hear about the planned development of community engagement strategies and how these will be presented and implemented.

Phase 2a – Lichfield District Council is working with Staffordshire County Council to prepare and submit by the deadline of 30 September a joint response to the consultation on ES. In parallel HS2 Limited are looking to engage and consult with local communities and individual land and property owners along the line of route to address general and more specific matters.  Lichfield District Council following the 5 September cabinet meeting is preparing to engage a parliamentary agent to advise it on the next stages of the bill as it goes through parliament.     

Last updated: 9 October 2017. For a more up to date position, email craig.jordan@lichfielddc.gov.uk


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