Staffordshire County Council has agreed to become a “qualifying authority” on HS2, to help reduce the impact of Phase 2a of the scheme running from the West Midlands to Crewe.
The council’s Cabinet today (Wednesday) agreed the move, which will give the authority some limited powers to influence the construction of the scheme which will pass through a further 33 miles of the county in this next phase.
Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, said:
“From the outset, as a county council we have championed to get the best deal for our county, the best results for our economy and the best mitigation we can win along every mile of the route.
We are already a qualifying authority for Phase One and will look continue to this for Phase 2a. While this will still only provide us limited control on planning, we feel strongly that we need to be at the very least “at the table” to ensure we can continue to seize every opportunity to lessen the impact of construction and operation of the high speed project on our fantastic county.”
In total Phase One and Phase 2a will cut through 45 miles of Staffordshire. The Bill for this phase completed the Third Reading in the House of Commons on 15 July 2019. The Bill then had a formal first reading for introduction in the House of Lords on Tuesday 16 July.
This triggers a petitioning period for the individuals and organisations directly and specially affected by the scheme. Petitioning opens on Wednesday 17 July and closes at 1pm on Friday 16 August.
The first phase has already been given Royal Assent, which mean the final legislative step has been passed for works to begin. Royal Assent for Phase 2a is expected at the end of 2019/early 2020.
The county council recently passed a motion at Full Council, reiterating its commitment to seeking maximum mitigation and environmental benefit, and to minimise disruption resulting from the enabling works for communities, with Cllr Winnington detailing the council’s concerns with Rail Minister Andrew Jones recently.