Staffordshire County Council is championing their cause in Parliament on Phase 2a of HS2, and has pledged to continue to get the best deal for Staffordshire and its communities.
Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, said: “From the outset the county council has been committed to get the best outcome from HS2 for the county, for communities and for businesses in terms of mitigation, compensation, improved connectivity and a share in any economic benefits the project delivers.
“As part of our lobbying on Phase One we achieved the lowering of five miles of the route in Lichfield, bringing significant environmental mitigation, and it is only right that we continue to do everything can to get the best deal for Staffordshire in this next phase. We also secured the inclusion of the Handsacre Link, which will allow Staffordshire residents to benefit from high speed travel via the hub at Stafford.”
In total the county council had approximately 100 petitioning points on Phase 1 of HS2, which ranged from major changes to the vertical alignment of the railway to points of technical detail concerning the Environmental Statement. The High Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) Bill was deposited to Parliament in July and a second reading is expected in the House of Commons in early 2018.
At this stage the county council and other parties will be able to petition on the impact along the 33 miles of the route and key petitioning points identified by the county council include:
- The potential to lower the vertical alignment of the railway as it passes by Kings Bromley on viaduct
- Proper assessment of the potential to join Whitmore and Bar Hill tunnels, avoiding a range of impacts including loss of ancient woodland
- Ensuring maximum mitigation for the railhead/maintenance depot at Stone, including consideration of noise, visual impact, and transport planning issues
- Petitioning on alternative or improved construction routes where these are unacceptable in safety or capacity terms
- Ensuring proper mitigation and restoration for the borrow pits proposed in Lichfield and Newcastle
- A range of ecological, archaeological, landscape and Public Rights of Way matters
In total, the high speed rail line will run through 45 miles of Staffordshire in Phase 1 and Phase 2a with the route to Crewe due to open in 2026.