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09/02/2013
HS2 levelled with further criticism


HS2 levelled with further criticism

Written byJOSHUA TAYLOR

ENVIRONMENTAL and residents’ groups are among those to have joined the list of critics of the proposed HS2 high-speed rail project.

Tracks carrying 225mph trains will come within 10 miles of Burton if the proposed routes are adopted.

A high-speed line will run from London to Birmingham, but the Government wants to extend this with two further lines running from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds.

The Manchester line will carve through areas of Staffordshire including Whittington, Kings Bromley, Alrewas and Fradley, and the Leeds line will come within hundreds of yards of Measham, Moira and Ashby.

The Staffordshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) said in a statement: "It (HS2) imposes itself not only on long stretches of unspoilt tranquil landscapes, but also close to or under many villages and involves the demolition of rural properties, farms and recreational areas.

"CPRE has expressed its opposition to the principle of high-speed rail as offering no advantages to the areas through which it passes and creating maximum environmental impact.

"We now see, in detail, these consequences — with not even the compensation of faster travel home-to-home or economic uplift.”

The statement described the HS2 scheme as a ‘monster intrusion’ into the countryside.

Meanwhile Nigel Garnham, chairman of Packington Nook Residents’ Association, said: "Without a doubt it will make a significant impact on life in the area, with little benefit unless you are prepared to travel to Toton (the proposed new rail hub in Nottinghamshire) or Birmingham to catch one of the trains.”

The CPRE and the residents’ association urged people to take part in an ongoing public consultation, which aims to gather views on the proposed route and possibly alter it accordingly.

The exact routes will be chosen by the end of 2014 and construction work is expected to begin during the 2020s and the high-speed lines north of Birmingham should be open to passengers by 2033. The total cost of the HS2 scheme is estimated to be £33 billion.

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