Staffordshire County Council has won key assurances from HS2 Limited to mitigate the impact of high speed rail on Staffordshire – but pledges to continue to help communities get the best deal they can from the company.
County council Leader Philip Atkins appeared before the HS2 Select Committee for Phase 2a of the project last month to champion Staffordshire’s cause. In total the county council is petitioning on more than 60 items to help reduce the impact of the second phase which will run from Fradley to Crewe – cutting through a further 33 miles of the county.
After raising concerns with HS2 Limited a number of assurances have now agreed by the organisation.
- Lowering of the King’s Bromley viaduct
- Stone railhead and maintenance hub: Reducing the footprint and maximising rail use; ensuring M6 slip access is put in place to reduce the use of Yarnfield Lane as soon as possible; limiting the height of buildings, additional noise and visual mitigation if the plans go-ahead
- Multi-million pound highway and junction improvements: Including provision for temporary improvement works to be made permanent, thereby delivering long-term benefits for communities
- Agreement that Kings Bromley will not be used as a main construction traffic route
- Encouraging the recruitment of local, disadvantaged or under-represented groups in the construction of the scheme
- Reduction of the need to take hedgerows and to protect veteran trees, as well as specific assurances on retaining Noddy’s Oak
From the very outset the county council has been committed to ensuring the voices of our communities were heard and getting the best outcome from HS2 for the them, the county and for businesses in terms of mitigation, compensation, improved connectivity and a share in any economic benefits the project delivers.
The assurances we have received will significantly help mitigate the impact of HS2 on some communities, but there is a great deal of detailed work still to be done with our district and borough council colleagues to mitigate the impact during construction and operation as much as possible.”
The council appeared before the select committee in April to press for the extension of a proposed tunnel at Whitmore to mitigate the impact on the highways network and also Whitmore Wood ancient woodland. A recommendation on this has still to be made by the select committee.
As assurances have been received on other points, the county council didn’t appear before the committee for a second time this week. It has also been supporting local communities who wanted to petition on items as part of its HS2 Community Support Fund.