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MPs back changes to proposed HS2 route to allow petitioning

Published: Thursday, 25th June 2015

MPs have approved a raft of changes to the proposed route of the HS2 project between London and the west Midlands.

Backing for the changes means the new details about the route can be petioned against in the Parliamentary Committee considering the hybrid bill.

In total some 125 changes are involved along the line of the route beyond Camden. They are the result of earlier petioning and HS2 Ltd’s continued development of the design of the rail link.

The changes are mostly of a minor nature. They include the realignment of access routes and the diversion of footpaths following discussions with affected landowners, or the relocation of areas of ecological mitigation to reduce the impacts on farming operations

There are, however, proposals for some significant changes. There are plans to realign the route in the Lichfield area so that it runs in a cutting rather than on an embankment, as well as moving the route away from the Trent and Mersey canal.

This will enable the line to go under the A38, the South Staffordshire railway and the west coast main line, which will significantly reduce the visual impact of the railway in the area.

The other significant change concerns the Heathrow Express depot. It is currently located at Old Oak Common, but it needs to be relocated in order to construct the new Old Oak Common station.

It was originally intended to be moved to another site nearby, but more detailed operational work undertaken by Network Rail since the Bill’s deposit has revealed that that site would not work operationally. Now it is proposed to relocate the depot to a site in Langley, near Slough.

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Roger Milne