Written evidence from Warwick District
Council (HSR 122)|
1.1. This statement does not prejudice the formal
response of Warwick District Council to the Government consultation,
which will be submitted before the close of the consultation (31
1.2. Warwick District Council is aligned with
and in complete agreement with the full submission made by the
51m Group of Authorities to the Transport Select Committee. Warwick
District Council does not believe that the business case stacks
up and therefore cannot support the route suggested by Government.
It is considered that the current proposal is not in the best
interests of the UK as a whole in terms of the benefits claimed
in the business case. We also consider that the current proposal
is therefore inappropriate given that the economic and environmental
benefits are not at all credible.
1.3. We do not believe that all the other alternatives
to achieve the transport capacity, regeneration and environmental
benefits have been fully explored by the Government and with in
excess of £30 billion proposed to be invested, we owe it
to the nation to ensure that these are fully explored.
1.4. For all these reasons Warwick District Council
is of the view that the case for the HS2 scheme does not begin
to be made out. The Committee is asked to request that the DfT
undertake a fundamental reappraisal.
In relation to part 2 of Question 6 regarding Impact,
Warwick District Council would like to offer the following:
2.1. Warwick District Council believes that the
High Speed 2 (HS2) proposal will cause considerable environmental
damage both in the short term, during construction, and in the
longer term, once operational, and throughout its life.
2.2. Warwick District has a very high quality
built and natural environment and is concerned at the prospect
of this being damaged irretrievably by an eagerness to proceed
with a project that appears to be flawed with regard to its economic
justification and by a measurable lack of detailed environmental
information needed to underpin the overall cost/ benefit analysis
within the business case.
2.3. The appraisal of sustainability (AoS) includes
a series of objectives against which the proposals are measured,
with scores ranging from highly unsupportive through to highly
supportive. No aspect of HS2 scores positively in the AoS for
its environmental impacts, and whilst this is not uncommon at
an early stage for any major development project (since it indicates
where mitigation is most required), HS2 has not suggested any
mitigation measures but rather allocated an amount of funding
for future investigations within the business case. Given that
individuals and groups are currently being asked to submit mitigation
proposals for consideration by the Government it follows that
it is not possible to make an informed conclusion with regard
to the both the environmental and economic costs and related wider
impacts of the HS2 proposal.
2.4. This is further compounded as HS2 Ltd has
recognised the EU and UK legislation to protect listed sites and
species. However HS2 Ltd has only used part of the data that is
readily available without any detailed survey work. Only data
on Birmingham and London's Local Wildlife Sites (LWS) has been
used despite Warwickshire's being publicly available since the
summer of 2010. This is considered to be a substantial flaw in
the project that will have further negative effects on the business
rationale. The proposed route is well populated with European,
national and county important species and sites (none of which
are appraised in this report).
2.5. It should also be noted that Warwick District
is also blessed with many Heritage assets, some of which are under
threat from the HS2 proposal (for example Stoneleigh Abbey and
the associated historic parkland). It is a fact that the HS2 proposal
will not be able to mitigate the impact on such features as their
setting and intrinsic value will be changed considerably. It should
be recognised that it is beyond question that such impacts will
not be measurable in terms of a monetary sum within the business
case; however they represent a real environmental cost.
2.6. To conclude we would therefore offer our
opinion that the impact of the environmental costs and benefits
has not been accounted for correctly and as a consequence of this
the overall business case must therefore be inaccurate/flawed.