HS2 route changes proposed to alleviate local concerns

23 February 2016
By Jack Loughran
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A longer tunnel under the Chilterns and greater noise protection in Wendover are some of the changes proposed

A longer tunnel under the Chilterns and greater noise protection in Wendover are some of the changes proposed

Changes to HS2 routes and construction plans have been proposed by a group of MP’s trying to alleviate some of the adverse impacts on residents who live near areas affected by the project.

The measures include a longer tunnel under the Chilterns and greater noise protection in Wendover, Buckinghamshire.

The Commons select committee, which is examining the project, said the alterations would bring "greater fairness" to compensation schemes for residents affected by the London to Birmingham section of the HS2 route.

The committee also called for a "coherent approach" to the redevelopment of London's Euston station, "better construction arrangements" for Hillingdon in the west of the capital and a remodelled maintenance depot at Washwood Heath, Birmingham, to maximise local job opportunities.

In September, the government admitted that the proposed redesign of Euston station in preparation for the launch of HS2 is likely to take up to seven years longer than originally planned and won’t be completed before 2033.

The committee’s chairman, Robert Syms, said: "In many cases ... we have intervened to encourage fairness, practical settlements, the giving of assurances or better mitigation."

"Our work on phase one we believe helps to add substantial environmental, social and design benefits to the scheme, commensurate with the good use of public money and a viable engineering design," he added.

Syms made his comments at the final meeting of the committee, which sat for nearly two years hearing evidence from affected individuals and organisations who were seeking amendments to the High-Speed Rail Bill.

The legislation will now continue its passage through Parliament, including line-by-line examination by another committee of MPs, and ministers must set out details of the main mitigation measures before the Bill's final hurdle in the Commons.

The first phase of HS2 is expected to be completed by around 2026 and will reduce journey times between London and Birmingham by 32 minutes.

A second Y-shaped phase, taking the line to north-east and north-west England and beyond, is due to be completed by around 2032/33. The total cost of the project is estimated to be £50bn.

In November, Chancellor George Osborne said that HS2 trains will run to Crewe by 2027, six years earlier than originally planned.

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