High Speed Rail - Transport Committee Contents


Further written evidence from Marilyn Fletcher (HSR 173 A)

A SUMMARY OF THE IMPACTS OF THE HS2 PHASE 1 ROUTE ON THE COLNE VALLEY REGIONAL PARK

1.  The Colne Valley Regional Park lies on the extremity of the northwest and west aspects of Greater London. Its importance to the capital is due to it being "the first real taste of countryside to the west of London."
http://www.colnevalleypark.org.uk/

2.  The most dramatic aspects of the park are its complex vast water attributes:

(a)  River Colne;

(b)  Grand Union Canal; and

(c)  man-made lakes.

Natural England confirms that the river system is "one of the finest in London".
http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/regions/london/ourwork/wildlondon/naturalsignatures/default.aspx

3.  The Colne Valley Regional Park encompasses one of the capital's landscapes - Natural England's "London Natural Signatures".

4.  The Colne River Valley Natural Signature is 20 kms long, but only less than 1 km wide at its widest point. HS2 would cross the valley on a 3.6 km (2 ¼ mile) viaduct. Given the width of the Natural Signature, a major transport scheme such as HS2 has a potentially extreme negative impact on the public's enjoyment of the regional park. Clearly, the viaduct would dwarf this landscape.

5.  HS2's proposed route particularly severely impacts on the Colne valley because the route travels in a NW/SE orientation as it crosses the valley. HS2's impact is not mitigated by its being juxtaposed to any other built structure.

6.  Because of the shape and size of the Colne Valley Regional Park, the viaduct will have a considerable effect on the public's enjoyment of the park:

(a)  Walking/cycling/boating along the Grand Union Canal are an important facility offered by the park.

(b)  The River Colne, lakes and the canal are rich in wetland wildlife and present a considerable public amenity. The park contains several Sites of Scientific Special Interest.

(c)  The lakes adjacent to the proposed HS2 route are used extensively for sailing and angling.

7.  Clearly, if a spur were to be constructed to Heathrow that was orientated parallel to the River Colne in the regional park, it would have further serious consequences on the public's enjoyment of this amenity.

13 September 2011


 
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Prepared 8 November 2011