Written evidence from Warwickshire County
Council (HSR 64)|
1.1 This statement does not prejudice the formal
response of Warwickshire County Council (WCC) to the Government's
consultation, which will be submitted before the closing of the
consultation 29 July 2011.
1.2 WCC is part of the 51m Local Authority network
opposed to HS2 and endorses the evidence submitted on behalf of
the 51m group to this Select Committee, covering all six issues
which the Committee is to examine. In addition WCC wishes to bring
the following specific matters to the attention of the Transport
1.3 WCC's meeting of the full council on 14.12.10
"that, as there can be no environmental or economic
benefits for Warwickshire, this Council:
(1) Opposes the proposed High Speed Rail 2 scheme.
(2) Recommends that the consultation be deferred
until all information is made available.
(3) Instructs the Leader to write to the Secretary
of State for Transport (copy to Warwickshire MPs) expressing these
(4) Agrees to work with the other local authorities
affected by the planned HS2 route, and with the Action Groups
established throughout Warwickshire, to provide coordinated opposition
to the current scheme".
2. THE BUSINESS
(i) How robust are the assumptions and methodology
WCC considers there are several shortcomings in the
(a) Concerns around the techniques used for long
term forecasting and whether these are reliable, or give rise
to extrapolation which increase risk & viability issues.
(b) An assumption that there is no further investment
to the rail network for a considerable period, beyond current
commitments, which is questionable.
(ii) What are the pros and cons of resolving
capacity issues in other ways?
WCC consider that the consultation does not provide
sufficient information to examine other alternatives comparable
with the HS2 proposal, to enable this question to be answered.
A key question should be what else could be achieved on the existing
rail network, with the same level of funding and how would these
pros and cons compare with HS2?
3. THE STRATEGIC
(i) Which cities should be served by an eventual
high speed network? Is the Y configuration the right choice?
The consultation does not include details of the
Y route, or alternatives to the Y, nor station choice on the Y
and therefore this cannot be properly considered. If the over
arching aim is to reduce the north/south divide then further detailed
consideration needs firstly to be made of direct benefits for
key citieswhich and how much, versus identifying more limited
benefits for those cities/urban areas in between.
(ii) Is the Government correct to build the
network in stages, moving from London northwards?
No. The approach is flawed in not covering both networks,
phase 1 & 2 together. Warwickshire is possibly the only County
which may be affected by both networks, with a third of the HS2
phase 1 route within Warwickshire and potentially the northern
part of the County affected by HS2 phase 2, but we are unable
to examine the proposals for both simultaneously. The true costs
and benefits of HS2 cannot therefore be examined.
4. ECONOMIC REBALANCING
(i) What evidence is there that HSR will promote
economic regeneration and help bridge the northsouth economic
WCC considers that the evidence to date does not
adequately justify a reduction of the north/south divide. Rather
the consultation material is based on high level evidence that
HS2 will lead to increased economic growth, at a level which will
produce economic benefits to the north, which will in turn help
reduce the north/south divide. This is based on assumptions that
improvements from HSR can lead to greater efficiency, through
improved linkages between firms and between firms and their workers.
It is clear however from the consultation information, that in
terms of jobs growth from phase 1, half of the predicted 40,000
jobs will be in the SE. London and its hinterland will remain
the magnet and major beneficiary from HS2 phase 1. The degree
to which HS2 could help bridge the north/south divide should be
examined in much more detail. Economic regeneration benefits will
be localised to those areas and immediate hinterlands abutting
(ii) To what extent should the shape of the
network be influenced by the desirability of supporting local
and regional regeneration?
If the aim is to support local and regional regeneration,
then more detailed consideration needs to be made of intermediate
nodes and impacts on other major areas, prior to a final route
being approved. Warwickshire's economy is closely linked to Coventry's
and the impact of HS2 on Coventry has yet to be determined.
(i) Are environmental costs & benefits
(including in relation to noise) correctly accounted for in the
No. The business case and Appraisal of Sustainability
do not go far enough. No local data has been used to consider
the environmental costs and benefits, only national data sets.
Nor has consideration been given to community impact. For example:
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 and without conducting
any 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 business rationale.
Within Warwickshire, HS2 will directly impact on
30+ LWSs, 13 UK & local Biodiversity Action Plan (UKBAP) and
Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP) habitat types. The indirect
impacts (hydrological, vibration, noise, light and general disturbance)
could include a further 91 locations plus a further five Sites
of SSSI (Special Scientific Interest), none of which are in the
consultation information. Significant areas of ancient woodland
will be affected.
The proposed route is well populated with European,
national and county important species none of which are appraised
in this report. The impacts on geology and geomorphology (apart
from in hydrological terms) have not been assessed.
The approach in this area is contrary to current
government strategies and policies.
Among the historic environment the sites affected
medieval earthworks, 17th century Dunton Hall, a
Grade II listed farmhouse at Coleshill, remnants of a mediaeval
settlement at Stoneleigh, a mill race, Stoneleigh Abbey Park and
Deer Park (Grade II listed), World War II bridge defences plus
80 sites within 500m of the proposed route; and
a number of unique Warwickshire landscape character
types along the route could be adversely affected, altered or
lost. The Appraisal of Sustainability report takes no account
of any data from the Historic Environment Record for Warwickshire.
The Historic Landscape Characterisation has been ignored.
In addition the environmental costs and benefits
associated with the proposed circa 7,000 space car park at the
Birmingham International Interchange Station need to be taken
into consideration and examination made of the impacts on the
existing road network and community impacts.