HS2 now required to declare development affect on woodlands and native roads

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HS2 Ltd needs to publish reports on the program’s impact on ancient forests and provide more information to local authorities about road closures.

The new measures are part of the amendments to the West Midlands to Crewe Act (Phase 2a).

The amendments tabled by the House of Lords have now been passed by the MEPs.

They require HS2 Ltd to publish annual reports on the structural effects of each phase of the program on ancient forests.

Andrew Stephenson, Secretary of State for High Speed ​​2 (HS2) said he had also committed to “more comprehensive environmental reporting” on the system’s impact.

“I look forward to the first of these reports being published and I am determined to hold HS2 Ltd accountable when it comes to environmental issues,” he said.

An amendment was also agreed that a report on a consultation with local residents and stakeholders should be published before May 1, 2021.

This consultation should seek views on the impact of the construction on road transport and the natural environment. whether there are sufficient transport regulations for passengers following phase 2a and whether the construction of new stations and improvements to stations, including the associated reopening of lines, are necessary.

“There has been extensive consultation with the people of Shropshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire,” said Stephenson.

“Nevertheless, I think that it is right to accept this amendment. As Minister for HS2, I was tasked with resetting the relationship between the HS2 project and the local communities.

“I am working with colleagues representing communities along the route. I am listening and will not stand in the way of the opportunity to listen more through further consultation.”

A final change was agreed on closing roads to public use. The change says that the date the road was last opened to public use should be communicated to the motorway authority at least 28 days before it is closed.

Earlier this month, local leaders said construction of the first phase of HS2 was colliding with work on the East West Rail program, causing “total chaos” on the streets of Buckinghamshire.

Calvert Green Parish Council chairman Phil Gaskin complained at a bipartisan meeting of the state transportation committee about a lack of mutual deliberation among contractors working on the projects. He said local businesses, bus companies and commuters are “constantly disrupted” by changes in road diversions and trucks passing through rural communities.

While the House of Commons approved the changes this week, the Phase 2a bill has not yet received royal approval. This is expected early this year. HS2 Ltd started the procurement process for the first major civil contract of phase 2a in November.

Stephenson stressed that the project will help the country “improve” and “better rebuild” from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This bill is a small part of a much larger project that will create much-needed capacity on our rail network,” he said.

“It is right that people are staying home now and we are keeping travel to a minimum, but this will not last forever and we will defeat the virus. The pandemic will end, people will travel again, both for business and pleasure. When that time comes I want people to be connected. I want this House to have thought and planned about the long-term future of our country. In short, I want this bill to be passed. “

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