High Speed Rail - Transport Committee Contents

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 July 2011).

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.

May 2011

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Prepared 8 November 2011