Various changes to the proposed route of HS2 were announced today in an attempt to appease local residents and to ward off a possible Tory rebellion from MPs whose constituencies are affected.
Compared to the route on which the Government consulted, there will be a 50% increase in tunnels, totalling around 22.5 miles.
In addition, around 56.5 miles of the 140 miles of the London to West Midlands line will be partially or totally hidden in cutting.
In the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) just over 1.5 miles of the route will be visible.
Full coverage of the HS2 decision by the government:
- Justine Greening Approves Britain's First Major Railway Line For A Century
- Where the line will go and the disruption expected there
- Full text: Greening's Statement
- The Campaigners vowing to fight on
These are the changes:
LICHFIELD, STAFFORDSHIRE - Increase the clearance of HS2 over the Trent and Mersey Canal near Lichfield. The change is required to keep the canal navigable and would slightly improve flood management;
WARWICKSHIRE - Move the route slightly further away from Middleton. The changes to the scheme in this area will result in fewer demolitions and less noise impacts.
Mitigation of impacts on Balsall Common by moving the line further away from the community and lowering the height of the viaduct.
A shallower cutting and longer green tunnel at Burton Green. Changes here include mitigating local impacts and reducing spoil generation, while still shielding the visual impact of the trains from the community.
Avoid Kenilworth Golf Club, lower the line further into cutting through the National Agricultural Centre, and introduce a narrower cutting through South Cubbington Wood. This will help mitigate the impacts in this area and also avoid the need for the demolition of a Grade II listed farmhouse at Kenilworth.
Introduce a longer bored tunnel at Long Itchington Wood. This will reduce land take, noise, landscape and visual impacts significantly;
NORTHAMPTONSHIRE - Introduce a longer green tunnel past Chipping Warden and Aston le Walls, and to curve the route to avoid a cluster of important heritage sites around Edgcote. These changes will provide additional mitigation for Aston le Walls, reduce setting impact on Grade I listed Edgcote House, avoid a scheduled monument (the Roman Villa site) and the possible location of the historic Edgcote Moor battlefield.
Lower the alignment and introduce a green tunnel past Greatworth, and a short green tunnel at Turweston. These changes will help mitigate landscape, noise and visual impacts as well as remove the need for a viaduct;
BUCKINGHAMSHIRE - Take an alternative alignment past Twyford, moving it further away from Twyford and reducing noise. This will assist mitigating impacts on Twyford by making some land available between HS2 and the village that would allow for landscaped earthworks that would reduce noise and visual impacts.
Lower the alignment past Aylesbury and Stoke Mandeville to reduce local impacts and eliminate the need for larger-scale works to local roads and the Chiltern Railways line.
Introduce a longer, now-continuous tunnel from Little Missenden to the M25 through the Chilterns AONB to reduce the need for deep cutting and to avoid a major aquifer;
LONDON - Introduce a 2.75 mile bored tunnel along the Northolt Corridor to avoid major works to the Chilterns Line and impacts on local communities in the Ruislip area of north-west London. This will have the effect of removing all surface impacts apart from the need for an intervention shaft.
The proposed London to Birmingham line would run from a rebuilt Euston station to a new Birmingham City Centre station at Curzon Street. There would be a Crossrail interchange station at Old Oak Common in West London and a second interchange station to the south-east of Birmingham.
There would be a direct link to HS1 built in phase 1, and a spur linking to Heathrow airport would be built in phase 2.
Since the Government's decision to go ahead with HS2, HS2 Ltd is the organisation that is developing and promoting the project. The company will now start the engineering, design and environmental work in preparation for the hybrid Bill for the London to West Midlands route. The Bill will authorise the Government to build and operate phase 1 of the project. It will also continue to work on proposals for the line from Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester.
HS2 Ltd is a company wholly owned by the Department for Transport.