HS2 - your questions answered
Some answers to popular questions.
HS2 is a planned new high-speed rail link in the United Kingdom, comprising a first phase between London and the West Midlands, a second phase between the West Midlands and Crewe and a third phase from Crewe to Manchester (phase 2b).
High Speed Two Ltd is running the national project. High Speed Two (HS2) Limited is the company responsible for developing and promoting the UK’s new high speed rail network. It is funded by grant-in-aid from the government.
The Council supports the general principle of HS2. This is the biggest infrastructure project in a generation. The construction of HS2 Phase 2b will have a significant impact on the lives, communities and countryside of west Cheshire for many years. It is vital that the Council conducts continuing detailed scrutiny of HS2 to ensure that the impact on the Borough is as minimal as possible.
Following a vote by Full Council on 19 May 2022, the Council resolved to petition against the HS2 Phase 2b: High Speed Rail (Crewe – Manchester) Bill 2022 in relation to those aspects that could negatively impact the Borough.
The Council will work with the Government consultants and its own external advisors to reduce the impact on the borough of the construction and operation of HS2, including of any other associated buildings and infrastructure to ensure it does not unnecessarily harm the Cheshire countryside or create unnecessary blight on our residents, businesses and recreational facilities.
The Council's priority measures required of HS2 include mitigation, community advocacy, maximising the opportunities for deriving economic benefit and employment opportunities for our residents, maintaining traffic flow, ensuring community safety and holding HS2 Ltd to account during the construction phase.
Mitigation - this means actions that can help to reduce the impact on residents or compensate for the impact.
Advocacy - this means the Council will act on behalf of residents and businesses to share concerns and issues.
Yes, the HS2 line runs through the east side of Cheshire West and Chester including the Parishes of Stanthorne and Wimboldsley, Byley, Lach Dennis & Lostock Green and Lostock Gralam.
The Crewe North rolling stock depot is planned to be built on land between the route of the proposed scheme and the West Coast Main Line, north-east of Walley's Green. This huge site will be able to accommodate up to 54 high speed trains.
Construction of HS2 is expected to take place over approximately eight years The duration, intensity and scale of works along the section of route through the borough will vary over this period. Construction and subsequent operation of HS2 will have vast, long-lasting significant and dis-proportionately large adverse impacts on the natural and built environment, business sector and communities. This is expected to change the overall character of some communities, generate noise and additional traffic congestion (especially during construction) and major change to the landscape and day to day way of life.
We are looking into any anticipated impacts on schools in the borough, as detailed in the Council’s responses to consultations:
Yes, subject to Royal Assent, some homes will be demolished, and HS2 Limited is in direct discussions with the homeowners.
Affected individuals may be able to sell their property to the government at its market value or receive a lump sum payment if it's near the proposed HS2 route.
Timescales are estimates with Phase 1 creating a new high-speed line between London and Birmingham by approximately 2031.
Phase 2, is the section from Birmingham to Golborne, and Manchester, and the branch from Birmingham to East Midlands Parkway.
Construction and commissioning of the proposed scheme is expected to take place in stages between approximately 2025 and 2035 followed by track laying, systems installation, testing with operation assumed to be from 2038.
The High Speed Rail (Crewe - Manchester) Bill was introduced to the House of Commons and given its First Reading on Monday 24 January 2022. This stage is formal and takes place without any debate.
What happens next?
The Bill was referred to the Examiners to determine compliance with private business standing orders. The Examination took place on Thursday 24 February and the Examiners found that certain standing orders were non-compliant.
The Standing Orders Committees of both Houses will therefore consider whether those standing orders should be dispensed with.
The House of Commons Standing Orders Committee met on Tuesday 15 March; the House of Lords Standing Orders Committee on Wednesday 16 March. Both committees resolved that the certain standing orders should be dispensed with.
The Bill proceeds to a second reading in the Commons.
The HS2 Rail Act 2017 gives the Secretary of State for Transport wide ranging powers and granted Outline Planning Permission. Although HS2 Limited will apply for consents and “approvals” from Cheshire West and Chester Council, if the Council do not respond within specified timescales approval is deemed to be granted.
Approval is not to be unreasonably withheld as described in the Act. It is important to understand that this Act means that the Council has little or no power to change aspects of the scheme.
If you have a question about the construction of HS2, you should contact HS2 direct either by email or via their HS2 helpdesk team on:
- Telephone: 08081 434 434
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Write to: FREEPOST, HS2 Community Engagement
Petitioning is a stage of passage of the Bill through Parliament which enables those directly affected by the Bill to influence the proposals before the Bill becomes an Act of Parliament. The petitioning process ultimately results in an adjudication at the House of Commons Select Committee. There is then a further opportunity to petition at the House of Lords. If any changes are made to the Bill (as deposited), there will be subsequent "mini-petition" opportunities, with regard to those changes.
Appointment of a Parliamentary Agent provides specialist expertise to ensure that all requirements of the petition process are fully met and provides the Council with the best guidance towards securing the required outcomes. The Council has appointed the same Parliamentary Agent used by Cheshire East Council and Wirral Borough Council for HS2 matters.
For a local authority to petition, a resolution to do this must be passed by at least 50 per cent of the total number of elected councillors. Cheshire West and Chester Councillors debated at the meeting of Full Council on 19 May.
HS2 Ltd is already using over 1,000 businesses near to the line of the new railway. This accounts for around half of their current supply chain. Over three quarters of these are Small to Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs), so there are real benefits already being realised by local businesses through their contractors.
The HS2 Ltd shopping list is more varied than you might think. As well as tools, materials and services which are required for construction; they also need to ensure that their workforce (up to 30,000 people at the peak of the works) has everything they may need.
This means that their contractors could also be looking for caterers, stationary providers, accommodation and much more.