most important will also be available at
Most relevant pages in italics. Most relevant documents in Bold
E1 The Bill (A4 214 pages Green Paper) Bill 6 57/1
See pages 31, 34-36, 74-75, 86, 95-96, 109, 117 and 129
E2 Explanatory Notes Bill 6-EN 57/1 (A4 60 pages)
E4 Plans and Sections Volume 1: Plans PLN 2.1 (A3 book)
Numbers on plans refer to Landowners listed in Book of reference BOR 6.1.1
E5 Plans and Sections Volume 2: Sections PLN 2.2 (A3 book)
Numbers on sections refer to Landowners listed in Book of reference BOR 6.1.1
E6 Book of Reference BOR 6.1.1 E6 (A4 Book)
Includes List of Landowners in Ingestre and Tixall adjacent to land effected by HS2
E7 Environmental Statement Non-technical summary ES 3 (Landscape A4 Booklet)
See pages 69 - 76
E8 Environmental Statement Volume 1: Introduction and methodology ES 3.1.1 (A4 Book 199 pages)
E9 Environmental Statement Glossary of terms and list of abbreviations ES 3.1.2
(A4 Booklet 65 pages)
E10 Environmental Statement. Volume 3 Route-wide effects ES3.3 A4 Book 173 pages
See page 77
E11 Environmental Statement. Volume 4: Off-route effects ES 3.4.1 (A4 Booklet 58 pages) Includes Tixall. See pages 39 - 45
E12 Environmental Statement. Volume 4 Map Book. Off-route effects ES 3.4.2 (A3)
See Maps CT-05-251& CT-06-251 and CT-28-105 (No Landowner numbers)
E14 Environmental Statement Volume 2 Community Area Reports (CA2 Colwich to Yarlet) ES 188.8.131.52 A4 Book 343 pages
Environmental Report including birds, etc.
E19 Environmental Statement Volume 2 Map Book (CA2 Colwich to Yarlet)
ES 184.108.40.206 A3 (A3 book)
See CT-05-213, CT-06-213, CT-05-214, CT-06-214, CT-05-214 L1, and CT-06-214 L1
Paired maps Show construction and then proposed scheme
E186 Guide to Environmental Statement (4 page A4 Leaflet)
of Commons Leaflet: High Speed Rail
(West Midlands –
What you need to know (A4 Leaflet)
All the documents and the details of the consultation on this Environmental Statement, are at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hs2-phase-2a-environmental-statement
The Parliamentary Bill is at:
A proposed 20km-long section of HS2 - Phase 2a, referred to as Route C, in Staffordshire lies to the south of Pasturefields Salt Marsh SAC and has been justified based on an HRA Screening Report (ERM, 2012) which concluded that routes to the south would have no adverse effect on the SAC and could be screened out of requiring an Appropriate Assessment.
Ingestre with Tixall Parish Council (the Parish Council) believe that the decision not to undertake an Appropriate Assessment is based on a flawed conceptual hydrogeological model which fails to recognise alternative sources of salt water or wider controls on the local hydrogeology.
In addition, a key feature not recognised in the original Screening Report (ERM, 2012), is the existence to the south of Pasturefields Salt Marsh SAC of additional historic salt marshes in Ingestre and Tixall which may have important links to the SAC. The proposed diverted route of HS2 crosses the Ingestre/Tixall salt marsh. This historic salt marsh was formally documented in 2015 and is now designated as a Site of Biological Importance (SBI).
Envireau Water has been commissioned by Ingestre with Tixall Parish Council to review the hydrogeology of Pasturefields Salt Marsh SAC and Ingestre/Tixall Salt Marsh SBI to better understand the potential sources of high salinity groundwater feeding the marshes. In doing this a conceptual model has been developed; and using this conceptual model, how the proposed HS2 alignment could impact on Pasturefields SAC has been considered.
Envireau Water is a specialist
hydrogeological consultancy established in 1998 with
considerable experience in the preparation and
presentation of hydrogeological impact assessments
associated with large developments. The lead author of
this report, James Dodds, has some 30 years of
experience of hydrogeological consulting and the
assessment of impacts from a wide range of
developments. He is a Chartered Geologist and has
provided expert evidence both within the planning and
2 SITE DESCRIPTION
2.1 Pasturefields Salt Marsh
Salt Marsh was designated a Site of Special Scientific
Interest (SSSI) in 1986 followed by a designation of Special Area
of Conservation (SAC) in 2005 (SAC EU Code:
UK0012789). According to the Joint Nature Conservation
Committee (JNCC) it was the only known remaining
example in the
The most recent condition assessment for Pasturefields Salt Marsh SAC, dated 09/03/2015, indicates that the site is in an unfavourable condition ‘…mainly because many of the saltmarsh axiophytes are at lower frequencies than they were at notification.’ The assessment indicates that the ‘…crucial underlying processes (including high saline conditions fed by ground-water) that support the saltmarsh might not be functioning properly.’ [https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/UnitDetail.aspx?UnitId=1014550&SiteCode=S1003939&SiteName=fields&countyCode=&responsiblePerson]
A study in 2004 by a hydrogeological consultancy stated that the ‘…reason for the emergence of the brines at this particular location is not clear from available data…’ (Chillingworth and Brown, 2004). Paragraph 6.1.2 of the HS2 Phase 2 HRA Screening report for Pasturefields Salt Marsh SAC produced by ERM (ERM, 2012) also refers to uncertainties in the hydrogeology of the site and states, ‘…the exact extent of the contributing groundwater catchment and saline geostrata are poorly understood and would, if necessary, require more detailed intrusive investigation to determine these more precisely.’
The HS2 Phase 2 HRA Screening report provides a hydrogeological conceptualisation, which is based on the previous work by Chillingworth and Brown (2004). A summary describing the source of the saline groundwater seepages taken from ERM, 2012 states:
springs emerge at the interface between the alluvium
and the underlying River Terrace Deposits. The brine
springs are fed by rain water recharge of
groundwater reserves and that meteoric water filters
into the ground to the northeast of the site
(through River Terrace Deposits) and peat filled
dissolution features near Amerton to recharge the
underlying aquifer. Groundwater filters through the
gravels and halite structures within the
The hydrogeological model presented by ERM (ERM, 2012) indicates a shallow groundwater source for the saline springs via rainfall falling on to nearby sands and gravels and reaching bedrock with halite before emerging at Pasturefields SAC. This contrasts with the findings of the British Geological Survey (BGS) (Banks, 2014) which indicate a much deeper (possibly 200m depth) source for the saline groundwater along fault zones rather than superficial sands and gravels.
2.2 Ingestre/Tixall Salt Marsh
Ingestre/Tixall Salt Marsh was designated as a Local Wildlife Site or Site of Biological Importance (SBI) in 2015 (Staffordshire Ecological Record designation reference no.: 92/84/70) and is located 1.5km northwest from the town of Great Haywood, Staffordshire, lying immediately south of a small wooded area called Lionlodge Covert. A saline spring, known as Salt Spring Pool is located at the southern edge of this wooded area.
Historical mapping suggests that the salt marsh once covered a larger area extending in to the woodlands to the north. However, installation of a field drainage system, pre-1900s, appears to have drained the area, reducing the size of the marsh. It is reported by the Parish Council that the water at the outflow of the drainage system has high salt content showing that the springs are still active.
The site has not been subject to any detailed hydrological or hydrogeological study or investigation thus, there is very little information available relating to the hydrology and hydrogeology of this site.
3 HYDROGEOLOGICAL SETTING
Based on local mapping by the British Geological Survey, BGS borehole log archives and literature sources, the hydrogeology of the area is characterised by the following key elements:
River Terrace Deposits, 1 – described as Quaternary sand and gravel, locally with lenses of silt, clay or peat. There are no data or information to determine this unit’s thickness or groundwater levels in this unit. It is likely that these deposits are around 5m thick; underlain by:-
Mercia Mudstone Group – described as dominantly red, less commonly green-grey, mudstones and subordinate
siltstones with thick halite (salt)-bearing units. The Mercia Mudstone Group in this area contains the thin beds of gypsum/anhydrite which are widespread; as well as thin sandstone units. There are no data or information to determine this unit’s thickness or groundwater levels in this unit at the SAC. It is likely that this unit is >40m thick and possibly up to 140m thick based on interpretation of limited geological data; underlain by:-
Bromsgrove Sandstone Formation – comprising red, brown and grey sandstones, commonly pebbly or conglomeratic at the bases of beds, interbedded with red and brown siltstones and mudstones. The overlying Mercia Mudstone Group grades in to the Bromsgrove Sandstone Formation and the boundary is taken as when sandstones dominate the layered sequence of mudstones and sandstones. A BGS cross section in this area indicates that this unit is likely to be around 30m thick; underlain by:-
are cross-bedded and pebbly. The conglomerates have a reddish brown sandy matrix and consist mainly of pebbles
of brown or purple quartzite, with quartz conglomerate and vein quartz. A BGS cross section in this area indicates Ingestre/Tixall Salt Marsh and the surrounding area lie on the easterly dipping limb of a syncline. Strata are dipping around 10⁰ to the east.
Figure 1 is a map showing the geological information for the area, and Figure 2 is a geological cross section produced as part of this study and based on the readily available information and the geological map shown on Figure 1.
Figure 3 shows various data sets overlain on the geological base map. It has been postulated by others that faults may have an influential role in the location of the saline springs and controlling saline groundwater occurrence in this area (Barker, 1979 and Banks, 2014). Figure 3 shows the location of Ingestre/Tixall Salt Marsh on the extension of the Tixall Fault to the north. The postulated position of the Tixall Fault on the published BGS geological map does
not extend beyond
the superficial cover. This is common, as the
superficial cover hides the expression of the fault at
surface, but it would be expected that the fault line
would continue in the underlying bed rock geology. A
Vertical Electrical Sounding (VES) geophysical survey
in the area carried out in 1979 provides evidence that
the Tixall Fault extends at least a further 1km to the
northeast (Barker, 1979), thus running alongside
Ingestre/Tixall Salt Marsh.
This significant pocket of saline groundwater which occurs in bedrock at 10m to 30m below ground level and crosses the Mercia Mudstone Group, Bromsgrove Sandstone Formation and the Kidderminster Formation (Figure 3), is not fully understood. Particularly why this saline groundwater pocket occurs in the bedrock in this area, and why it should occur in the sandstone formations, given that halite beds are not present in the sandstone sequence.
This suggests that there is some other geological control other than direct seepage within the Mercia Mudstone Group beds or water moving along the top of the mudstone sequence. This wider saline groundwater occurrence is not described in any hydrogeological assessment presented by ERM on behalf of HS2 Ltd and its presence indicates that there are significant factors controlling saline groundwater flow in this area other than those described in ERM (2012).
Additional geophysical data (Bouguer anomaly contours) suggest that the Tixall Fault may extend a further 2km to the northeast beyond the village of Hixon (Barker, 1979) and therefore also runs alongside Pasturefields Salt Marsh SAC (See Figure 3).
The Barker (1979) work has not been referenced by HS2 in any of their assessments, and is an important element of the scientific data on which a conceptual model should be based.
It is known that where pathways exist, groundwater flows up from the Sherwood Sandstone Group aquifer and through the Mercia Mudstone Group, where it dissolves salt from the halite beds producing saline groundwater.
Regional borehole records (eg. the Trent Valley BH and BH140/256) provide evidence of Halite (NaCl) and Gypsum (CaSO4) (both readily dissolvable evaporite minerals) at depths as shallow as 45m. There is also strong evidence of collapse structures indicated by broken (brecciated) zones, which are caused by evaporite dissolution, which will increase the permeability of the mudstone and has the potential to create interconnecting pathways.
the general hydrogeological setting and the location
of the two salt water marshes, it is considered that
a fractured zone associated with the Tixall Fault
acts as a preferential groundwater flow route for
groundwater from the confined Sherwood Sandstone
Group aquifer at depth to circulate in the Mercia
Mudstone Group mudstones, subordinate sandstone
layers and evaporite beds. As groundwater flows
through the fracture zone it encounters interbeds of
halite which it dissolves resulting in saline
groundwater. This saline groundwater continues
upwards to the ground surface driven by the confined
hydraulic groundwater head, and results in saline
seepages at Pasturefields Salt Marsh SAC and
Ingestre/Tixall Salt Marsh SBI (See Figure 3 and
Figure 4), and more broadly flows into the River
Trent gravels, as identified by Barker (1979). The
presence of saline water in the Sherwood Sandstone
Group, where it is not overlain by superficial
deposits, provides evidence that the saline
groundwater can not only move vertically up the
fault, but also along the strike of the fault zone
and out into the sandstone. Therefore, it is
considered likely that the saline groundwater
seepages/springs at both Pasturefields Salt Marsh
SAC and Ingestre/Tixall Salt Marsh SBI have a common
source and groundwater catchment, associated with
the Tixall Fault.
4 ASSOCIATION WITH HS2
There are two significant associations between Route C and the salt marshes. The first is the construction of an embankment across the Ingestre/Tixall Salt Marsh SBI together with the Great Haywood viaduct across the Trent flood plain both of which require significant piling, and the second is the construction of a cutting known as the Brancote South Cutting, which will intercept groundwater flow. These are discussed in the sections below.
The proposed HS2 Route C (preferred route) passes directly through Ingestre/Tixall Salt Marsh SBI and crosses the Tixall Fault. The Great Haywood Viaduct straddles the Tixall fault and aligns with the zone of maximum salinity as mapped by Barker (Barker, 1979), and the embankment to the west is located on the SBI. As a result, much of the SBI will be lost underneath the proposed railway embankment. Appendix 4 of the HS2 Phase 2 HRA Screening report (ERM, 2012) presents a technical note indicating various proposed designs for the construction of railway embankments in this area. Three of the four designs include a pile supported embankment using concrete piles driven in to the bedrock where salt dissolution features may be present or where there is significant brine flow.
The pile design is yet to be finalised and is dependent on ground conditions. However, it is reasonable to assume that the proposed piling operations will intersect high permeability fracture zones associated with the Tixall Fault.
The Great Haywood Viaduct will also be built on piled foundations, which will be constructed not only into the Tixall fault zone but also the high salinity groundwater mapped by Barker. Neither of these issues is discussed in the reporting which has reviewed.
Installation of concrete piles in to the Mercia Mudstone Group bedrock at Ingestre/Tixall Salt Marsh SBI and Tixall fault has the potential to:
· Create areas of zero groundwater flow in the fractured zones associated with the Tixall Fault thereby resulting in a derogation of groundwater flow through the fractured zones. This may manifest itself as a reduction or diversion in saline groundwater seepage flow to the Pasturefields Salt Marsh SAC and/or the Ingestre/Tixall Salt Marsh SBI. Such a derogation in groundwater flow has the potential to affect the hydrochemistry of the saline seepages/springs;
· Infill highly permeable subterranean salt dissolution features or cavities which may be present resulting in a derogation of groundwater flow. This may manifest itself as a reduction or diversion in groundwater seepage flow to the Pasturefields Salt Marsh SAC and/or Ingestre/Tixall Salt Marsh SBI. Such a derogation in groundwater flow has the potential to affect the hydrochemistry of the saline seepages/springs;
· Affect the hydrochemistry of the groundwater seepages to the Pasturefields Salt Marsh SAC and/or the Ingestre/Tixall Salt Marsh SBI in the short-term during construction, and in the long-term from railway operations/maintenance and potential leaching of materials used in the piles. It is not clear from the HS2 Phase 2 HRA Screening report what methods and materials are proposed to prevent sulphate and chloride attack of any pile supports and what, if any, potential impacts these may have on the groundwater hydrochemistry.
4.2 Brancote South Cutting
The embankment that crosses the Ingestre/Tixall Salt Marsh SBI and Tixall fault, as discussed above, transitions into a deep cutting (Brancote South) immediately to the west of the SBI. In the draft EIA (HS2, 2016) HS2 Ltd acknowledge that the cutting will have a severe adverse impact on the local water table. Taking account of the need for ballast and sub-base below the track, as well as the track height, the actual depth of cutting is estimated at some 19m at the deepest point. HS2’s own assessment shows that the cutting will drain groundwater. The effects of the drainage will propagate away from the cutting and reduce the groundwater pressure (head) within the Sherwood Sandstone Group aquifer. Given the importance of the pressure (head) in the sandstone with respect to driving the deep saline groundwater flow paths, small changes in head could have significant effects on the rate of flow from the saline springs.
Thus, the construction and drainage of Brancote South Cutting has the potential to:
· Directly impact on the water balance at the Ingestre/Tixall Salt Marsh SBI, and thus affect the salinity balance in the salt marsh.
· Directly impact on the groundwater pressure (head) in the Sherwood Sandstone Group aquifer and therefore on deep saline groundwater flows to Pasturefields SAC.
5 SUMMARY FINDINGS
The key findings from this assessment are:
6 LEGAL SETTING
Appendix A provides a legal comment from Freeths LLP, specialist environmental lawyers. The following section, provides a summary of the comments.
If there is a risk that the HS2 development will have a significant effect on the Pasturefields Salt Marsh SAC, the proposal must be subject to appropriate assessment of its implication for the SAC, in view of the SAC’s conservation objectives. Failure to carry out an appropriate assessment in such circumstances renders the HS2 development unlawful.
A plan or project which, by itself or in combination with other plans or projects, is likely to have a significant effect on a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), must be subject to “appropriate assessment” of its implications for the SAC, in view of the site’s conservation objectives. (Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive, which is transposed into domestic law by Regulation 61 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010).
The Court of Justice of the European Union has made it clear that the Habitats Directive sets a low threshold for likely significant effects (Case C-127/02) Waddenzee  2 CMLR 31).
Reiterating that the Habitats Directive has to be interpreted in accordance with the precautionary principle, which is one of the foundations of EU policy on the environment, the court concluded that a project is to be subject to appropriate assessment “if it cannot be excluded, on the basis of objective information, that it will have a significant effect on that site …"
Quoting the above analysis from Waddenzee and describing the significant effects test as “an informal threshold decision”, the Supreme Court in England has confirmed that, in cases where it is not obvious, the competent authority will consider whether the "trigger" for appropriate assessment is met and that there should be an appropriate assessment “where the authority has found there to be a risk of significant adverse effects to a protected site” (Lord Carnwath in R (on the application of Champion) v North Norfolk District Council & Anor  UKSC 52 (22 July 2015)(emphasis added).
The appropriate assessment demands a high standard of investigation. The relevant authority must be certain, in the light of the best scientific knowledge in the field, that the project will not have lasting adverse effects on the integrity of the SAC and “that is so where no reasonable scientific doubt remains as to the absence of such effects”.
(Lord Carnwath in Champion  quoting from EU case C-258/11 Sweetman v An Bord Pleanála (Galway County Council intervening)  PTSR 1092.)
The conceptualisation presented by ERM on behalf of HS2 Ltd and on which the decision to select HS2 route C, is not consistent with additional information obtained and interpreted as part of this report nor consistent with the findings of the BGS (Banks, 2014). The conclusion of the original HRA Screening report for Pasturefields Salt Marsh SAC, that possible routes to the south of the SAC can be screened out of an Appropriate Assessment is therefore scientifically unsound.
There remains significant scientific uncertainty relating to groundwater flow paths in the area and as a result there remains significant scientific uncertainty relating to the groundwater catchment of the Pasturefields Salt Marsh SAC and the Ingestre/Tixall Salt Marsh SBI. It is entirely plausible, and likely, that a significant proportion of saline groundwater flow comes from a deep flow path through the halite beds within the Mercia Mudstone, driven by the groundwater pressure (head) in the Sherwood Sandstone Group aquifer. Construction of the Brancote South Cutting in particular, will change the groundwater heads in the sandstone and has the significant potential to affect the saline groundwater flows at Pasturefields Salt Marsh SAC.
There remains significant scientific uncertainty relating to groundwater flow paths in the area due to a lack of groundwater level data.
In the case of HS2 Phase 2a in Staffordshire, it clearly cannot be excluded, on the basis of objective information, that HS2 Route C (the preferred route) will have a significant effect on the Pasturefields Salt Marsh SAC. On the contrary, objective information presented in this assessment indicates that there is a material risk that the route may have a significant effect on the SAC, and on that basis an Appropriate Assessment should be undertaken.
James Dodds MSc CGeol FGS
Managing Director, Hydrogeologist
Banks, V., 2014. Review of HS2 Reports Pasturefields, Staffordshire. Unpublished letter report prepared for Ingestre and Tixall Parrish Council by the British Geological Survey, BGS Ref.: IDA‐CED 215722, 29th January 2014.
Barker, R.D., 1979. Geophysical surveys around Shugborough Park Staffordshire. Report Georun 10. Unpublished report prepared for Severn Trent Water Authority by Applied Geophysics Research Unit, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Birmingham, October 1979.
Chillingworth, G. and Brown, L., 2004. An assessment of the hydrogeological conditions at Pasturefields Saltmarsh SSSI. Unpublished report prepared for the Environment Agency by ESI Ltd, Report. ref.: 6271XR1D2, October 2004.
ERM, 2012. HS2 Phase 2 HRA Screening Report for Pasturefields Salt Marsh SAC. Unpublished report prepared for HS2 Ltd. by ERM, September 2012.
HS2 , 2016. Working Draft EIA Report, Volume 2: CA2, Colwich to Yarlet, 2016.
Legal Comment by Freeths
PASTUREFIELDS SALT MARSH SPECIAL AREA OF CONSERVATION
THE LEGAL REQUIREMENT FOR “APPROPRIATE ASSESSMENT”
Ingestre with Tixall Parish Council is concerned about the potential impacts of the preferred route (route C) for HS2 phase 2a on the Pasturefields Salt Marsh Special Area of Conservation.
Where there is a risk that a development will have a significant effect on a SAC, the proposal must be subject to appropriate assessment of its implications for the SAC, in view of the SAC’s conservation objectives.
Envireau Water hydrogeological assessment identifies a clear risk that the preferred HS2 route will have a significant effect on the Pasturefields Salt Marsh SAC. Therefore, appropriate assessment is required. Failure to carry out an appropriate assessment in such circumstances renders the HS2 development unlawful.
The legal framework
Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) are protected under EU law. Designated under Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora (“the Habitats Directive”), SACs form part of the EU-wide ecological network of protected areas, known as Natura 2000. The protection of Natura 2000 sites against potentially damaging development is central to EU environmental policy.
The Habitats Directive is transposed into domestic law by Regulation 61 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (“the Habitats Regulations”). The legal protection afforded by the EU Habitats Directive and domestic Habitats Regulations is also, rightly, recognised throughout central and local government planning policy documents.
A plan or project which, by itself or in combination with other plans or projects, is likely to have a significant effect on a Special Area of Conservation (SAC),must be subject to “appropriate assessment” of its implications for the SAC, in view of the site’s conservation objectives (Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive; Regulation 61 of the Habitats Regulations).
The Court of Justice of the European Union has made it clear that the Habitats Directive sets a low threshold for likely significant effects (Case C-127/02) Waddenzee  2 CMLR 31). Reiterating that the Habitats Directive has to be interpreted in accordance with the precautionary principle, which is one of the foundations of EU policy on the environment, the court concluded that a project is to be subject to appropriate assessment if it cannot be excluded, on the basis of objective information, that it will have a significant effect on that site "
Quoting the above analysis from Waddenzee and describing the significant effects test as “an informal threshold decision”, the Supreme Court in England has confirmed that, in cases where it is not obvious, the competent authority will consider whether the "trigger" for appropriate assessment is met and that there should be an appropriate assessment where the authority has found there to be a risk of significant adverse effects to a protected site (Lord Carnwath in R (on the application of Champion) v North Norfolk District Council & Anor  UKSC 52 (22 July 2015) (emphasis added).
The hydrogeological assessments
The hydrogeological assessment prepared by Envireau Water notes that assessments prepared for HS2 to date do not reference an important element of scientific data (Barker 1979). Envireau Water conclude significant factors controlling saline groundwater flow have not been described by the assessments carried out for HS2. Specifically, Envireau Water explain that the missed data (Barker 1979) indicates that the Tixall Fault runs alongside Pasturefields Salt Marsh SAC and conclude that any impact to groundwater along the trajectory of the Tixall Fault has the potential to impact the groundwater seepage/springs at Pasturefields Salt Marsh SAC.
Accordingly, ERM’s reports are not sufficient to exclude the likelihood of significant effects on the SAC. Taking into account the low threshold for likely significant effects, as established by caselaw, the requirements of the Habitats Directive clearly demand a reconsideration of the trigger for appropriate assessment in this case.
Envireau Water assessment identifies two significant associates with HS2 route C and the Pasturefields SAC: (i) construction of an embankment across the Ingestre/Tixall Salt Marsh SBI and (ii) construction of the Brancote South Cutting.
The assessment concludes that construction of the embankment has the potential to affect groundwater flow in the fractured zones associated with the Tixall Fault, to reduce or divert saline groundwater seepage to the SAC and to affect the hydrochemistry of the saline seepages/springs.
In relation to the Brancote South Cutting, the assessment notes that HS2s own assessment shows the cutting will drain groundwater. Envireau Water’s assessment demonstrates that the construction and drainage of the cutting has the potential to directly impact on deep saline groundwater flows to the SAC.
Plainly, on the basis of objective information presented by Envireau Water, it cannot be excluded that HS2 Route C will have a significant effect on the Pasturefields Salt Marsh SAC. On the contrary, the information presented and analysed by Envireau Water indicates that there is a material risk the route will have a significant effect on the SAC.
Accordingly, appropriate assessment is required. Failure to carry out an appropriate assessment in such circumstances renders the HS2 development unlawful.
The appropriate assessment demands a high standard of investigation. The relevant authority must be certain, in the light of the best scientific knowledge in the field, that the project will not have lasting adverse effects on the integrity of the SAC and that is so where no reasonable scientific doubt remains as to the absence of such effects. (Lord Carnwath in Champion  quoting from EU case C-258/11 Sweetman v An Bord Pleanála (Galway County Council intervening)  PTSR 1092.)
HS2 Ltd has diverted a 20km-long section of Phase 2a, southwards, in order to avoid Pasturefields Salt Marsh Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The diversion starts near Colton and ends near Pirehill. In doing so, HS2 threatens Great Haywood, Ingestre, Tixall, Hopton, Marston and Yarlet (including Ingestre Golf Club and the County Showground).
The alternative route is further north, is shorter, straighter, £154m cheaper to build and, overall, has less sustainability impacts. It avoids all the above communities but would pass nearer to (but still be some distance from) Hixon, Weston and Salt.
The northern route would also pass within 300m of Pasturfields SAC (a European protected site). Natural England (NE) and the Environment Agency (EA) have insisted that, if the northern route is used, HS2 Ltd would first have to conduct an Appropriate Assessment (AA), under the Habitats Regulations. The AA is required to demonstrate that construction and operation of the railway will have no significant adverse effects on Pasturefields SAC.
HS2 Ltd has declined to carry out an AA and, instead, diverted the route to the south.
The diversion to the south is justified by HS2 Ltd on the basis that a Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) Screening Report on Pasturefields SAC, commissioned by them in 2012 and agreed with NE and EA, concluded that routes to the south of Pasturefields would have no significant negative effects and could be screened out of requiring an AA.
From the moment that the route was announced in Jan 2013, Ingestre with Tixall Parish Council believed the decision to divert the route was a mistake. For four years, it has campaigned for the northern route to be re-examined. Over this period, a considerable quantity of information has been gathered that supports the case. This information has all been passed to HS2 Ltd but none has been acted on (including that contained in a report by the British Geological Survey (BGS) which was commissioned to review the evidence).
In September 2016, HS2 Ltd published its draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for Phase 2a, based on the diverted route. In the EIA, almost all previously supplied information had been ignored or misrepresented. A robust response to the consultation was submitted and, in parallel, an investigation was started to identify what professional help could be mustered to bolster the arguments for the route to be re-examined.
The investigation determined, provisionally, that grounds exist for a technical challenge to HS2 Ltd's decision to divert the route and that these grounds should be explored further. If compelling technical evidence is found, the recommendation is that the case be presented with a strong emphasis on the potential legal implications should the evidence be ignored.
In practice, if HS2 Ltd ignores the evidence, the Parish Council does not have the financial resources to pursue any legal action. Even gathering the evidence and presenting the case to HS2 Ltd, at around £4.5k, is a challenge and payment for this work has to be split over two financial years. Any legal action would have to be separately funded.
The question has been raised as to whether even spending an initial £4.5k represents a direct benefit to the community. This note attempts to address this point.
2. HS2 Impacts
To a first approximation, HS2 is 7 years in the planning, 7 years in construction and has an anticipated operational lifetime in excess of 120 years (60 years design life plus extension through upgrade/replacement as appropriate).
The impacts are different at each stage, being greatest during construction. The working assumption of HS2 Ltd is that a new equilibrium will be established within 15 years of the commencement of operation, i.e. by 2042 for Phase 2a. By this time it is assumed that the scars of construction will have healed, environmental impacts settled (including adequate maturation of mitigation plantings etc.) and the residents and social structures of impacted communities will have adapted to the new norm.
The zone of potential impact used by HS2 Ltd is 3km either side of the centreline of the route which, with the present alignment, encompasses the entirety of Ingestre and Tixall parishes. The greatest impacts will lie within 1km of the route but will be unique for each situation. This is because construction and operation will affect each location differently. In extreme cases, on Phase 1, properties out to 20km from the route have been affected where they border designated construction traffic routes.
Under current proposals, the section of HS2 in Ingestre and Tixall Parishes is 4km long. This is approximately 7% of the total length of Phase 2a. The land taken involves a strip approximately 120m wide for the construction of the railway plus approximately as much again in area for mitigation planting, road diversions and provision of ancillary services. The total permanent land take from the parishes is of the order of 100ha. Most of this is agricultural land but a notable exception is the course of Ingestre Park Golf Club, which, it is understood, will be forced to relocate. There is one demolition: Upper Hanyards Farm.
There are 106 residences (74 in Ingestre, 32 in Tixall), 8 business properties and 1 church (St Mary's, Ingestre) within 1 km of the route but only three of the residences are close enough to be eligible for minor “Home-owner Payments” (available to owner-occupiers living within 300m of the centreline of the route).
Property blight is extensive and severe. Appendix 1 presents the results of surveys by HS2 Action Alliance on Phase 1, carried out after announcement of the route but before construction has started. The oft-quoted simplification is that blight averages out at 20 % loss in value for properties within 1km. However, this hides the fact that the depreciation in value is up to 40% for properties closest to the route (within 120m) and still detectable out to 3 miles (5km) depending on circumstances. The geography of the land and the topology of the railway (eg whether on embankment or in a cutting etc) as well as proximity to construction camps and haulage routes are critical in determining the actual effect.
A survey of residential property sales in Ingestre and Tixall carried out in Feb 2016 confirmed the findings from Phase 1. The principal difference is that the average unblighted value of the 28 properties offered for sale in Ingestre/Tixall was £373k compared with an average of £775k (country south) and £455k (country north) on Phase 1 – see Appendix 1. The average loss in value recorded on the 20 completed property sales in Ingestre/Tixall since January 2013 was 20%.
Extending the figures across 106 residencies, the total unblighted value of properties within 1 km in Ingestre/Tixall is approximately £40 million. HS2 has already caused a loss of £8m. This figure will increase over the forthcoming years of construction. On the other hand, the Government expects and predicts that once the railway is complete and the housing market settles down, prices for properties within 1km will, on average, recover to 95% of their initial unblighted value (applies to properties greater than 8km from a HS2 station, after adjusting for shifts in the national/regional value of similar properties that have not previously been blighted by HS2). This corresponds to a permanent diminution in property values in Ingestre/Tixall of £2 million (on a 2016 base).
During the 7 years of construction of Phase 2a (currently scheduled from 2020 to 2027), there will be enormous disruption to local life. Noise, dirt, dust and pollution (light pollution as well as emissions from construction plant etc) will be extensive. However, the most widely experienced impact will be that arising from road closures/diversions and the intrusive effects of heavy construction traffic using the local roads. Two satellite construction compounds are proposed in our area: one at the head of Hanyards Lane, Tixall and one off Hoo Mill Lane, Ingestre. The designated construction route to the trace of the railway and to both construction compounds is Tixall road.
Until the full environmental impact assessment is published (expected summer 2017) the precise extent of predicted HS2 construction traffic movements is unknown. However, the Ingestre/Tixall proportion of construction materials to be moved is 1.75 million tonnes (assuming a uniform distribution per unit length across the whole of Phase 2a). Not all this will be moved by road but, nevertheless, we can expect tens of thousands of 20T truck movements to take place in the parishes over the 7-year construction period.
Severe disruption can be expected to the operational interests of Ingestre Hall, St Mary's Church, Ingestre Stables, Ingestre Park Golf Club, Little Ingestre residential care home, Ingestre Pavilion and Tixall Gatehouse as well as to other locally-based business activities.
The above-mentioned financial and other disruptive effects will adversely affect the social, emotional and health/wellbeing of all the residents of Ingestre/Tixall; half of them severely.
3. Benefits of Route Change
The benefits of success in getting the route changed so that HS2 does not pass through Ingestre or Tixall are so overwhelming that it is self-evident that every possible measure should be taken to maximise the chance of succeeding in this.
Even though our representations to date have been unsuccessful, there is a consensus among consulted technical experts that there is a case to be made that HS2 Ltd would be acting unlawfully if they proceed with the currently proposed route, without first carrying out an Appropriate Assessment of Pasturefields SAC. The assembly of the evidence to support this view and to present it to HS2/DfT with the necessary authority to force HS2 Ltd to take notice is now in hand.
Even if there is a case to be made, there is no guarantee of success. HS2 Ltd might accept that an AA is required, carry it out and still retain the present route (with the necessary safeguards put in place to protect Pasturefields SAC). However, HS2 Ltd would additionally have to convince the Government/Parliament that this was the right thing to do because, once committed to an AA, whichever route is used, then it is clear that the route having the lower cost (by £154m in this case) and fewer overall sustainability impacts should prevail; namely the northern route.
4. What if HS2 Ltd resist?
This is possible, even likely: As James Dodds of Envireau Water observed in his email of 14 February 2017 (circulated as part of “HS2 – Geological Consultant 3” on 20 Feb):
“Be under no illusion that you have a significant uphill struggle. Both NE & the EA have bought into ERM’s* concepts and they will not be turned around easily. HS2 will carry considerable weight and your resources are very limited”.
*ERM is the subcontractor appointed by HS2 Ltd to prepare the HRA Screening Report for Pasturefields SAC.
James proceeds to say:
“To argue the Appropriate Assessment case may require legal support.”
This is the crunch issue as “legal support” immediately has the potential to become a financial black hole – but not to the Parish Council whose spend is limited by Section 137.
The Section 137 cap limits the Parish Council to an annual spend of approximately £2,600 on such issues, which must have a direct benefit to the area or to some or all of the inhabitants.
There is no possibility of the PC funding any form of legal case with resources as meagre as this. It is therefore inevitable that, should legal support be required, then it will have to be funded from other sources.
This will require an independent fund-raising campaign.
It is not, however, inevitable that HS2 will wish to make a fight of it. This is because, in the first instance, they could gain benefit from a change of route in that, at least as at Q2 of 2012, the northern route was shown to cost £154m less to construct than the diverted route and have fewer impacts. Secondly, protracted legal action only results in delay to the project, which HS2 is likely to want to avoid. It is therefore possible that, if it is ruled that the current route cannot proceed without an AA first having been performed, we may find we are pushing at an open door and that will be the end of it.
Should this not be the case then what action is taken will depend on the legal advice as to the chances of success and the willingness or not of residents (and other benefactors) to contribute to a fighting fund. In this sense, the PC is no different and can, at any time, vote on a properly set resolution to contribute to the fund. What is clearly the case is that the PC will not be taking a leading role in any legal challenge.
There is a reasonably wide area over which to cast the net to raise funds. In the first instance, residents of Great Haywood, Hopton, Marston and Yarlet may wish to contribute as these communities will also benefit from a change in the route, from the current to the northern one.
There is a network of local HS2 action groups that may wish to contribute, as well as the three main national action groups who have fighting funds already established but no longer a meaningful fight to conduct (Phase 1 having effectively been confirmed through the granting of Royal Assent).
Further out still are national campaigns promoted via the press, tv, radio and social media.
No-one should be under any illusions that this could be a difficult and challenging exercise but the potential rewards are great if it is successful – especially if a court rules against HS2 and awards costs to the plaintiff.
5. What if we are unsuccessful?
If the technical basis is robust, the law will be on our side and failure will only result if inadequate funds are available to pursue the case – including the cost of any appeals or referrals to higher courts if required.
However, even with robust technical evidence in our favour and adequate funds to pursue legal enforcement in the courts, there is provision in the Habitats Regulations for the Government to invoke IROPI: “Imperative Reasons of Overriding Public Interest”, which is a clause that can be used to force through the Promoter's wishes, provided there are no alternative solutions and appropriate compensatory measures are taken. The compensatory measures have to be agreed at European level and may involve a heavy fine being imposed on the UK Government.
This means that either through lack of funds to enforce the law or through enactment of IROPI we could still end up with Phase 2a being built on the current alignment. All monies spent in attempts to achieve a route change will be forfeited.
The Parish Council exposure to this is limited by the S137 cap. This means no more than around £2,600 in any one financial year. As far as I'm aware, there is no mechanism for carry-over of S137 allowances so money not spent in one FY will simply add to reserves. It is not possible to accumulate funds to cover particularly large expenditure in any one year.
During FY 2016/17 the S137 allowance was used (almost to its limit).
During FY 2017/18 there is currently £1,950 of the S137 allowance committed (balance due to Envireau Water), assuming zero contribution from any other source. This leaves £650 to spend on all other non-core activities.
An important observation is that it is not in the best interests of the Parish Council to allow any outside contribution to the costs to cross its accounts. Say, for example, Hopton PC offer £500 towards the costs, if they pay it to the PC, the PC still pay Envireau Water £1,950 and end up with £650 of 2017/18 S137 monies to spend on other things. If on the other hand Hopton paid their £500 direct to Envireau, the balance due to IwT PC would be £1,450 and the PC would have £1,150 of S137 monies to spend on other things. If Colwich also contribute, it is similarly most efficient if their contribution is paid directly to Envireau and not to IwT PC. If pledges of assistance from all sources equal or exceed £1,950 (and a sum equal to £1,950 is paid directly to Envireau) then IwT PC would owe nothing further and it would retain its full S137 allowance for 2017/18. This also means that, if the attempt to get the route moved subsequently fails, the full S137 allowance remains available for spending on other HS2-related matters: e.g. seeking better mitigation of the present route.
A second approach is to use any donor contributions to make good a shortfall in the cost of the initial challenge. As mentioned in my e-mail of 28 March, James Dodds has indicated that the sum of £4,450 covers only one presentation (presumed to be to HS2 Ltd in London) and with only him attending to present both technical and legal arguments. He has strongly recommended that Emma Tattersdill of Freeths should also be present to put/defend the legal arguments. Furthermore, we have been advised that we have a much greater chance of succeeding with the initial challenge if the presentation can be repeated to senior members of the DfT. We do not have a firm quote for two people to attend two presentations but James has indicated that an additional sum of the order of £1,500 should suffice. If the PC can agree that we should maximise our chances with the initial challenge (and hence minimise the chance of there being a follow-up legal phase), then the existing arrangement of IwT PC with Envireau Water should stand and the additional cost of having both James and Emma attend two separate meetings picked up by potential donors in agreed proportions – but, as above, with the donors making their contribution direct to Envireau Water. Because, as James pointed out, there are many variables associated with the costs of making the presentations, the precise figure might not be known until after the event. In this case we would need to agree a percentage split of the extra sum so that the appropriate invoice values could be raised.
A further alternative approach is a variation on the second but, in this case, all contributing parties, including IwT PC, agree in advance to fund the additional costs and to split the resulting balance due in an agreed percentage way. This has the advantage of more evenly distributing the pain and has the potential of reducing IwT PC’s contribution and thus retaining a bigger part of the 2017/18 S137 allowance for spending on other HS2-related issues. This is my preferred approach.
Here is an example, assuming that agreement is reached to fund both James and Emma to be present at two separately arranged meetings, one with HS2 Ltd and one with DfT:
The assumption is that the total cost for the initial challenge (with the extras added) is £6,000 and that donors are Hopton and Colwich PCs plus the Ingestre & Tixall HS2 Action Group (AG). IwT PC has already paid £2,500 leaving a balance to find of £3,500. My further assumption is that we agree a split of this balance of costs in the proportions 1 to the AG and 2 each to IwT, Hopton and Colwich – i.e. 7 portions. One portion is worth £3,500/7 = £500 meaning that the AG would contribute £500 and the three Parish Councils £1,000 each.
This is just an example but it serves to illustrate the principle. IwT PC’s total contribution is then £3,500 or roughly £1,000 below its agreed ceiling and is left with £1,600 of its 2017/18 S137 allowance still intact.
If, as a result of the challenge, the route is moved away from the area, future Parish Council spend on HS2-related matters will become minor.
If the route stays as currently proposed, there will be an intense period of negotiation and engagement with HS2 Ltd, SCC, SBC and other local communities up to the granting of Royal Assent at the end of 2019. This will involve full appraisal of the Bill proposals and accompanying EIA and the preparation and presentation of petitions to the House of Commons and House of Lords Select Committees (with technical/legal support if needed).
Assuming Royal Assent by the end of 2019, from 2020 to completion by the end of 2027 there will be continuous responding to all matters related to detailed design and construction, together with help and assistance to all local residents seeking compensation for land and property. There is also likely to be involvement in and supervision of local community projects funded by HS2 Ltd. Two funds will be open for application to support suitable community projects:
a. Community and Environment Fund (CEF). Objective: To add benefit over and above committed mitigation and statutory compensation to communities along the route that are demonstrably disrupted by the construction of HS2. £75k max local, £1m max strategic.
b. Business and Local Economy Fund (BLEF). Objective: To add benefit over and above committed mitigation and statutory compensation to support local economies that are demonstrably disrupted by the construction of HS2. Capital/Revenue grants: £10k to £1m.The sum allocated for community projects on Phase 1 is £40m. The figure for Phase 2a has not been announced. Bids can be made from the date of Royal Assent until 1 year after the start of commercial operation.
1. As currently proposed, all the residential properties and hence the whole population of Ingestre and Tixall are located within HS2 Ltd's 3km zone of potential impact.
2. Approximately half the residential properties and half the population are within the most severely affected 1km from the centreline of the currently proposed route.
3. Since the announcement of the route in 2013, there has been approximately £8 million loss in property values in the two parishes.
4. The loss in property value will increase during the seven years of construction.
5. By 2042 (15 years after commercial operation is scheduled to start), property values, excluding inflation, will still be reduced by a predicted £2 million.
6. Between 2020 and 2027, the residents of both parishes will be exposed to severe disruption due to construction. Those closest will be the greatest affected but all will experience frustration and delays from the movement of heavy construction plant. Upper Hanyards Farm and Ingestre Park Golf Club will be destroyed (relocated?).
7. After 2027, operational effects kick in: noise, dust and visual intrusion arising from the passage of up to 24 trains per hour at 360kph (225mph).
8. The financial and other disruptive effects described above will have a significant and widespread adverse effect on the social, emotional and health/wellbeing of everyone affected.
9. All the above negative impacts are a consequence of the decision by HS2 Ltd to divert the alignment of Phase 2a over a 20km-long section to avoid having to carry out an Appropriate Assessment of Pasturefields Salt Marsh SAC.
10. Evidence exists that suggests that the basis for the decision to divert the route is flawed and that a formal challenge to HS2 Ltd is in order.
11. The Parish Council has agreed a spend of £4,450 for a focused expert appraisal of the technical evidence and an assessment of the legal implications arising from it.
12. If the challenge is successful, HS2 Ltd would be forced into conducting an Appropriate Assessment for Pasturefields SAC whichever route is taken. The northern route is then favoured because Hixon, Weston and Salt would suffer cumulatively less than Ingestre,Tixall, Great Haywood, Hopton, Marston and Yarlet. Plus, there is a £154m saving in project costs.
13. The sum spent to secure a challenge is trivial compared with the potential benefits. Financial help is potentially available and this could be used either to defray existing costs or to improve the chances of success. The latter is recommended.
14. Even if a technical case is proven, HS2 Ltd might resist a change to the route. This would invite a legal challenge.
15. It is recognised and accepted that IwT PC does not have the resources or powers to pursue a legal case against HS2 Ltd/DfT. This would be dependent on separate arrangements to which the PC may wish to subscribe or not as it sees fit.
16. If the route is not moved, Ingestre and Tixall will suffer as outlined above and the PC will be faced with a decade of other HS2-related pressures.
17. It is self-evident that the PC should do everything in its powers to seek a change of route for as long as the opportunity for doing so exists.Michael Woodhouse, 17 April 2017
HS2 Phase 2a: West Midlands to Crewe
Response by Ingestre with Tixall Parish Council 7.11.2016
Tixall and Ingestre are rural parishes, set in tranquil estate parkland, located approximately 5km east of the town of Stafford. We have a combined resident population of approximately 400.
The parishes are directly affected by the proposals for HS2 Phase 2a (West Midlands to Crewe), which is the subject of this consultation.
The Parish Council is opposed to HS2 but wants to make sure that, should it proceed, the impacts of construction and operation of HS2 are minimised and that residents who are adversely affected are properly and fairly compensated.
The comments that follow relate to the draft Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIA) for Phase 2a (West Midland to Crewe) published on 13 September 2016.
The parishes of Ingestre and Tixall are located within Community Area 2 (CA2): Colwich to Yarlet. The substantive body of comments below is specific to CA2.
We are only commenting on sections of the draft EIA where we feel we are able to offer an informed opinion. The absence of a comment on any particular part of the document should not be taken as an indication of agreement with the contents, in whole or in part.
Section numbers and principal headings mirror those of the referenced Draft EIA documents.
a) Ingestre with Tixall Parish Council has responded in detail to numerous previous consultations. We are very concerned to find that most information provided to HS2 Ltd in previous communications has been overlooked or misrepresented in the Draft EIA.
b) HS2 Ltd has pursued a route alignment in our area that is more expensive to build, more environmentally damaging and which has greater impact on communities than available alternative alignments. More favourable alignments have been set aside to the detriment of the tax-paying public and the country in general. Comments below that are specific to the proposed route do not signify acceptance of the proposed route. Our position remains that, should the project proceed, it should do so on the basis of a different alignment, generally following route HSM03 (south of Weston option) as described in the March 2012 HS2 Phase 2 Route Options Report.
c) As per our response to the Phase 2 Route Consultation, should the alternative alignment per b) above, be rejected, then the negative impacts on our communities should be minimised, beyond that set out in the current proposals, by providing a twin-bored tunnel between Ingestre Park Golf Club and Hopton Lane.
d) Shortage of time precludes a detailed response to all points across all documents associated with this consultation (and those of the two other consultations that are being run concurrently). There are many areas of overlap, with the same issues being raised multiple times in different places. Please take our responses to Q2 and Q3 below as the definitive set and, where appropriate, ensure that these are rolled out for inclusion in the other associated documents.
e) At the launch of the current consultation, HS2 Ltd announced that it would be writing to all owners/occupiers of properties located within 1km of the proposed route. It soon became obvious that many residents of Ingestre and Tixall, who live within 1 km of the route, had not received notification letters. A comprehensive list of addresses has been prepared and provided to HS2 Ltd. We hope and expect that HS2 Ltd use this information to amend their mailing list to ensure that all owners/occupiers most directly affected by HS2 are, in future, kept properly informed.
f) Notwithstanding e), we have taken the following actions to inform our parishioners of the consultations and obtain their views:
Question 1: Please let us know your comments on the Non-technical Summary (NTS).
We have not reviewed the non-technical summary but are aware that it has been useful for those parishioners seeking a simplified overview of the Proposed Scheme.
Question 2: Please let us know your comments on the documents that form Volume 1 of the working draft EIA.
Our response to Q2 is in three parts: A, B & C, corresponding to the three tick-boxes of the printed consultation response form.
Q2 Response: Part A: Introduction and Methodology:
We welcome the background information that this part of Volume 1 provides. Our views on the EIA methodology have already been given in our response to the draft EIA SMR earlier this year, while our detailed responses to the individual assessment topics are given in our responses to Q3 and Q4 below.
The outline descriptions of the permanent features of the Proposed Scheme (Section 5) and the overview of the way that construction will proceed (Section 6) is a useful and helpful introduction.
We look forward to discussing with HS2 Ltd the details as they apply to our part of CA2.
Q2 Response: Part B: Appendix: Alternatives Report:
We disagree, at multiple levels, with the rationale for the HS2 project as set out in Part I of the Alternatives Report but accept that the Secretary of State for Transport remains committed to the project and is seeking feedback on the assessment of impacts of the Proposed Scheme.
Part II of the Alternatives Report describes the various route alternatives that have been examined. The comments that follow relate to those alternatives that directly affect Ingestre and Tixall (CA2). The relevant sections are:
From the moment that the Initial Preferred Route (IPR) for Phase 2 was announced in January 2013 it appeared to us that HS2 Ltd had made a fundamental misjudgement in deciding to divert the route alignment away from the lowest cost, lowest impact route up the Trent Valley (route HSM03, south of Weston option, per the March 2012 Route Options Report) to a more southerly alignment.
Commencing in June 2013 and on multiple occasions thereafter, information has been provided to HS2 Ltd presenting evidence-based arguments why the decision to divert the route was a bad one. Our comprehensive response to the Phase 2 Route Consultation (21 Pages and 6 appendices), in January 2014, contains a consolidated presentation of the arguments.
It is with great concern and frustration to find that this information has been ignored, that contra-indicated arguments have been fed into the route review process and, consequently, that the Secretary of State for Transport appears to have been misled into approving a section of the Phase 2a route without full benefit of the known evidence.
We believe that this is unacceptable – to an extent that it could be argued that HS2 Ltd has been professionally negligent.
It is not appropriate, here, to elaborate in detail all the issues involved but the essence of our case is that the arguments at 4.3 of the Alternatives Report are essentially spurious and that, even though HS2 Ltd has been provided, in a timely and formal way, with information that challenged the original presumptions, it has failed to act professionally on this information, contrary to the proper interests of the British tax-payer.
The IPR for Phase 2 in our area used the “Hybrid South of Pasturefields” corridor (Route C on Fig 10 of the Alternatives Report). The competing alignment is Route B: Alternatives Report, Fig 10, “North of Pasturefields” – formerly HSM03 (south of Weston). While accepting that Alternatives Report Route A (“South of Pasturefields”) was an early consideration, this was rejected at a very early sift stage. Further discussion, below, relates only to the comparison of Route B with Route C.
At the time that the HS2 Project Board met to consider between the two route options (in Q2 2012), the overriding consideration was avoiding the need to carry out an Appropriate Assessment of Pasturefields Salt Marsh SAC.
Central to the decision was acceptance by Natural England that the HRA Screening Report for Pasturefields SAC had concluded that routes to the south of Pasturefields would not need an Appropriate Assessment whereas those to the north would. This dictated the selection of Route C.
The decision to proceed with Route C was therefore taken, regardless that, at the time, Route C had been shown to cost £154m more to construct than Route B and would have greater sustainability impacts. No appraisal of the cost and sustainability benefits of Route B was made against the need for an Appropriate Assessment.
Subsequent events, including a review of the HRA Screening report by the British Geological Survey (BGS), undermined HS2 Ltd's original presumptions by showing:
a) that the HRA Screening Report was too narrowly focused;
b) that there was insufficient base-line data to predict the potential impact of the proposed HS2 construction along any of the proposed routes;
c) that an alternative conceptual model for the hydrology of Pasturefields should be considered;
d) that Route C had been routed so that it passed directly through the middle of a previously unrecognised historical inland salt marsh whose brine springs remain active today (and could well be linked with those at Pasturefields); see 2.3 of Q3 part A, below, for more details.
e) that, unrecognised by HS2 Ltd, Route C had been routed so that it passes through a region, near Marston, that is at risk of subsidence as a result of the historical pumping of brine near Stafford (see 10.3.38 of Q3 Part A, below, for more details).
NB 1: c) follows directly from a). This is because the HRA Screening Report considered only a near-surface brine feed to Pasturefields SAC, from the north-east, whereas BGS believe it was just as likely (if not more so) that the brine had a deep ground origin, brought to the surface locally by Artesian pressure from the underlying Sherwood sandstone aquifer. The BGS suggested some additional work to evidence the likely source. None has been carried out.
NB 2: BGS noted that if the deep ground source for the brine was correct then depletion of the Sherwood sandstone aquifer could affect the brine flow at Pasturefields (also at Ingestre). At 10.3.17 of the response to Q3 Part A below, it is noted that dewatering of the aquifer could occur as a result of the creation of the Hanyards Cutting (currently named Brancote Cutting).
The case was put to HS2 Ltd that there was compelling evidence that the decision to use Route C was unsound and that an Appropriate Assessment of Pasturefields SAC was essential to determine if there would be any risk of an adverse impact arising from Route B. It is to be noted that the HRA Screening Report states that Route B would be acceptable to Natural England as long as the necessary ground investigations were carried out and mitigation by design used, if required, to ensure that no significant risk to the SAC would occur. HS2 Ltd has persistently declined to undertake this work even though, as we pointed out, this information was essential to inform the route selection process.
Not only have the necessary ground investigations not been carried out but the contra-indicating facts outlined above have been ignored by HS2 Ltd in all on-going work.
The result is that the Proposed Scheme is:
i) more expensive and more damaging to communities and the environment than it should be;
ii) facing major engineering challenges as a result of being routed through a rare inland salt marsh about which HS2 Ltd has been forewarned but ignored;
iii) facing similar engineering challenges as a consequence of being routed through an area vulnerable to subsidence caused by historic brine pumping, about which HS2 Ltd has also been forewarned but ignored;
iv) has every probability of adversely affecting Pasturefields SAC, contrary to the stated objective behind the selection of Route C; i.e. we contend that the Proposed Scheme fails the HRA requirement that: “no reasonable scientific doubt remains as to the absence of [any significant adverse] effects” and therefore the conclusion of the HRA Screening Report is invalid.
4.3 Alternative route corridors south of Crewe:
With the above background summary in mind, we respond to the content of section 4.3 of of the Alternatives Report as follows:
4.3.5 Corridor B (the discarded route) is stated as being within 300m of Yarlet School. Not mentioned here or in any subsequent paragraph is that Route C (the chosen route) passes much closer to the school (<100m) and is therefore more harmful.
4.3.7 Reference to direct habitat loss from Pasturefields SAC is misleading as none of the proposed routes has any direct impact on the site. Corridor B is closest. It passes 300m to the north of Pasturefields SAC, on an embankment, and is separated from the SAC by both the A51 trunk road and the Trent & Mersey canal. As mentioned above, the possibility of interference with surface water catchment dynamics is just that: “a possibility” – something easily determined by appropriate ground measurements. Even if ground measurements identified a potential impact, Natural England had already indicated that Corridor B was acceptable subject to mitigation by design. Potential design mitigation measures are set out in Appendix 4 to the HRA Screening Report.
4.3.8 As recorded above, HS2 Ltd was subsequently alerted to the many deficiencies in the described process and to the false reasoning that arose from it. Nothing has been done to correct this. We dispute and challenge HS2 Ltd's stated claim that carrying out the necessary investigation work could potentially take “a number of Years”. Guidance from the Planning Inspectorate (who are normally responsible for overseeing the approval of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects) is that developers should allow 13 months for HRA assessment. Separately, a proposed development has come forward (already notified to HS2 Ltd) that is much more threatening to Pasturefields SAC (a 196 berth narrow-boat marina at Shirleywich). The proposed marina is immediately adjacent to Pasturefields SAC and requires deep excavation with considerably greater prospect of disturbing the surface-water catchment dynamics than does HS2 Route B. The marina application has been referred to Natural England who have indicated that a 12 month period of monitoring of boreholes is sufficient to identify any potential threats to the SAC (Stafford Borough Council Planning Application ref: 15/22518/FUL refers). There is no reason to suspect that a railway line on an embankment, over 300m away, would require any more. It is to be noted that more than three years has elapsed since since HS2 Ltd's attention was drawn to the deficiencies in their reasoning – comfortably more than that needed for the necessary investigations to have been carried out. No action has been taken.
4.3.9 A misleading and distorted depiction is presented that, at best, can be described as “Red Herrings”. MOD Stafford and Norton Bridge Junction are only relevant for Route A. Route A was rejected at a very early sift yet MOD Stafford and Norton Bridge Junction have remained cited by HS2 Ltd in multiple examples of subsequent correspondence which related only to Route B and C. Sandon Park (a grade II listed Registered Park) is a privately owned estate with no public access. Route B has no direct impact on Sandon Park and comes no closer than 1km. The chosen route (Route C) moves out to about 2.5km from Sandon Park but, conversely, brings the route much closer to the more sensitive, publicly accessible, sites of Grade I listed Shugborough Park and Cannock Chase AONB. For Shugborough, Route B is 2.5km distant but reduces to 900m with Route C. For Cannock Chase AONB, Route B is also 2.5km distant but falls to 600m with Route C. On this criterion, Route B is the clear favourite. Hopton Registered Battlefield site, while important, is of low significance historically and the site context is already substantially degraded by the presence of multiple buildings owned by the MOD (see Fig 1). Route B, which passes at 300m to the north in a 15m deep cutting, is to be compared with Route C which passes at approx 650m to the south but in a cutting of less than half average depth.
Fig 1: Hopton Heath Registered Battlefield Site (Source: English Heritage)
As far as we can tell, Route B is superior in virtually all measurable respects to Route C.
There should never have been any question that Route B should have been taken forward as the preferred route, even though an Appropriate Assessment for Pasturefields SAC was required.
It is not too late to change:
HS2 Ltd must act immediately to formally bring Route B back into existence as an up-to-date, fully refined and optimised derivative of the original HSM03 (south of Weston) option so that, on confirmation of its superior status, there is time for it to be consulted on in advance of finalisation of the Phase 2a Hybrid Bill.
An Appropriate Assessment of Pasturefields SAC is an inevitable consequence and this must be commenced without delay. NB: We believe there is no real prospect that an Appropriate Assessment will identify any requirement for mitigation that would cost more than the saving in route cost nor, if started promptly, result in any delay to the planned completion date for Phase 2a.
5.3 Local alternatives considered before November 2015 – Great Haywood to Yarlet:
The work described is almost certainly wasted effort. This is because all the information provided by us at the Phase 2 Route Consultation was ignored and only minor adjustments to the IPR (Route C per section 4.3 above) were considered. Every route option examined therefore was more expensive, more environmentally damaging than Route B as well as being compromised through the failure to pick up on the prior notification that all routes would pass directly through the inland salt marsh at Ingestre/Tixall (with its probable linkage with Pasturefields SAC) and through the area around Marston that BGS identifies as prone to subsidence – both of which are avoided by Route B.
6.3 Local alternatives considered since November 2015 – CA2: Colwich to Yarlet:
As with 5.3 this is also mostly wasted effort. There is, however, an inkling of flexibility in thinking in that, amongst the route options studied, three of them (B5-7-3a, B5-7-3b and B5-7-4b) indicate some willingness to consider more radical realignments from the IPR than hitherto has been the case. All three are variations on a theme based on a 21 km section between Colton and Pirehill (the same section of track over which Route C deviates from Route B).
Regrettably, the one exercise that could and should have been carried out at this time was to evaluate a fully up-dated, optimised and refined version of Route B over the same 21km length. This was not done.
The failure to act on Route B is brought into sharp focus by comparison with B5-7-3a, which is one of the options that was studied. We have chosen B5-7-3a because, of the three variants mentioned above – which are all very similar – this is the one most closely related to Route B as it involves a surface crossing of Hopton Heath Battlefield site (the other two variants are tunnelled options)
B5-7-3a is an alignment intermediate to Route B and Route C. It lies to the east of the safeguarded corridor of Route C but to the west of Route B. It follows a not dissimilar alignment to Route B but with a more southerly crossing of the river Trent. This brings the route to the west side of the river Trent, near to Little Ingestre, allowing it to pass to the south of Pasturefields SAC (but significantly closer to it than Route C).
From information obtained under FOI 16-1586, compared with the baseline Route C, B5-7-3a is £36m cheaper to construct, results in a major reduction in demolitions required (from 49 to 19), removes impact on Ingestre Conservation Area and Ingestre Golf Course; has beneficial effects for Hopton (especially for noise and vibration); improved visual effects to Moreton House, Lion Lodge Covert and Great Haywood Marina; improved water course diversions and less impact on surface water bodies. The downside is that it would have major physical and setting impacts on Hopton Heath Battlefield site and has a greater probability of adversely affecting Pasturefields SAC.
Given the overwhelming benefits accruing to B5-7-3a, we question the value judgement of HS2 Ltd in rejecting this option simply on account of its negative effect on Hopton Heath battlefield site and the greater potential for it to affect the groundwater regime of Pasturefields SAC (something that we believe all routes have the capacity to do anyway).
Of more significance, Route B (had it been studied) would, we believe, have conferred very similar benefits while, at the same time avoided impact on Hopton Heath battlefield site as well as providing far easier construction access.
As has already been noted, it appears that it is only the reluctance of HS2 Ltd to undertake an Appropriate Assessment of Pasturefields SAC that is preventing option B from being taken forward.
We therefore restate our position that the Appropriate Assessment process must be started and that:
HS2 Ltd must act immediately to formally bring Route B back into existence as an up-to-date, fully refined and optimised derivative of the original HSM03 (south of Weston) option so that, on confirmation of its superior status, there is time for it to be consulted on in advance of finalisation of the Phase 2a Hybrid Bill.
Q2 Response: Part C: Appendix: Draft Code of Construction Practice (CoCP):
Our response is guided by the footnote on Page 6 of the printed consultation response form which states that: “For consistency of approach across the HS2 scheme, the measures set out in the Draft CoCP for Phase 2a are likely to be amended from those on Phase 1 only where there are particular geographical reasons why they should do so.”
We take, at face value, that the Nominated Undertaker will adhere to the CoCP in all respects and that we will be kept informed and consulted on, as appropriate, throughout the construction phase.
Detailed comments on each of the environmental topics are given in our response to Q3 below.
One geographically-related issue raised locally with us is concern regarding the vulnerability to damage by vibration, during construction, of the numerous listed buildings that are within a few hundred metres of the route. Of particular concern is the Grade I listed church of St Mary the Virgin, Ingestre. This is 400m from the area of the works. Ingestre Hall (Grade II*) is closer, at 350m and Ingestre Pavilion (Grade II) closer still at 150m.
These important buildings are all in proximity to Hanyards Cutting (currently known as Brancote Cutting – see Q3 Part B “Nomenclature”, below). This is a substantial cutting, nearly 20m deep, in hard sandstone.
At paragraph 6.8.1 of Volume 1: Introduction and methodology, it is stated that: “Cuttings will be excavated using excavators, graders and scrapers”. However, we understand that while not expected, until geological surveys have been conducted, there is a possibility that blasting might be required if particularly tough ground conditions are encountered.
In the CoCP, at paragraph 13.2.24, detailed guidance is given with respect to the protection of buildings from damage due to vibration. The key observation is that referenced standards are specific to “Vibration sources other than blasting”
We understand that shock and vibration from explosive type events needs to be treated differently and that these may be encountered:
a) During certain demolitions
b) During excavation in hard rock conditions
c) During controlled detonation of unexploded wartime munitions.
All are geographically dependent.
Such situations are not addressed and, while the CoCP makes it clear that the Nominated Undertaker is responsible for assessing any situation arising and complying with the advice on maximum vibration levels, we still believe there is scope for some statement that covers blast-type events.
Question 3: Please let us know your comments on Volume 2: Community Area (CA) reports : We welcome any information you may have on how the scheme may impact the local environment and community in your area and any opportunities you feel there may be to reduce these impacts.
Our response is in two parts: Part A on the report itself and Part B on the associated map book.
Q3 Response: Part A: Volume 2: Community Area Report CA2: Colwich to Yarlet
2.1.12 (Notable community facilities): In relation to Ingestre, please add: Little Ingestre House residential care home for the disabled, Ingestre Stables equestrian training and examination centre (which is Riding for the Disabled registered), Ingestre Park Golf club and Ingestre Orangery (currently undergoing HLF-funded restoration as a community facility).
2.1.19 (Committed development): We note that developments with planning permission or sites allocated in adopted development plans are not included in this draft EIA. However, we believe that this should mean that completed developments are included. Two housing developments known to us in the neighbouring community but not appearing on any of the maps of the Proposed Scheme are: The Shires, Main Road, Great Haywood (adjacent to land required for construction) and Devereux Grange, Little Tixall Lane, Great Haywood (approximately 500m distant – 100m if taken from an altered road). Between them, they account for 80 to 90 homes.
2.2 (Description of the Proposed Scheme): Please see our response Q3 Part B, below, for detailed comments on the proposed scheme.
2.3 (Construction of the Proposed Scheme): Our detailed responses to construction and construction compounds are dealt with elsewhere but some key issues are mentioned here because of their potential impact on the current proposals:
· The proposed route and all associated features between approximately Ch 206+000 and Ch 207+000 are constructed on the site of an historic salt marsh, see Fig 2, that is still being fed by active brine springs. Substantial surface and underground workings exist in this area that have been built over the last 250 years in an attempt to make previously unproductive marshland suitable for agricultural use. Natural salt dissolution under this area is not only producing an up-welling of saturated brine but also a volumetric loss of underlying ground amounting many cubic metres per year. See 10.3.8 below for more details.
Fig 2: Current & Historical Extent of Ingestre/Tixall Salt Marsh
· No access is possible to Mill Lane Satellite construction compound from the A51 end of Hoo Mill Lane as inferred from 2.3.32. All construction traffic must use Tixall Road. See 14.3.6 below for more details
· Only one main utility diversion is mentioned. No mention is made of other main utilities in the area that have been advised previously. See Q3 Part B for more details.
· Incorrect/inappropriate naming has been used for roads and other features in the area. See see Q3 “Nomenclature”, below for more details.
2.5 (Route section alternatives): See Q2 Part B for our detailed response. However, as noted at point b) of “General” above, our position remains that, should the project proceed, it should do so on the basis of a different alignment, generally following route HSM03 as described in the March 2012 Route Options Report – referenced as “Route B” in 4.3 of the Alternatives Report.
3.4 (Engagement – Local Authorities and Parish Councils): Contrary to the claim at 3.4.2 no direct engagement with us took place until 17 October 2016. This is more than one month after the draft proposals were published. Further, as noted under point a) of “General” above, we are very concerned to find that much of the information provided to HS2 Ltd in previous consultation responses, and other communications, has been overlooked or misrepresented in the Draft EIA.
3.5 (Engagement – Communities): It is with considerable concern to read that, in preparing the draft scheme proposals, HS2 Ltd has apparently failed to engage with the following:
These are key community facilities that will encounter intrusion/disturbance as a result of the construction and operation of the proposed scheme.
3.8 (Engagement – Informing the Proposed Scheme): As already noted at 3.4 above, no direct engagement with us took place between the Phase 2a route announcement in November 2015 and the publication of the draft EIA in September 2016. This and the fact that previous consultation responses appear to have been ignored means that the Proposed Scheme shows little evidence of having been “informed” by any input from us. This consultation response is therefore the first opportunity to contribute to the main themes for the Colwich to Yarlet area, set out in 3.8.2, which apparently emerged from the claimed stakeholder engagement process.
Our detailed responses are given under the individual topic headings below.
4 Agriculture, forestry and soils
4.3.2 (Geology and soil parent materials): An incomplete summary has been given. While mention is made of the Stafford Halite to the north of Yarlet, no mention is made of the halite deposits of the western edge of the Needwood basin to the south. These are the presumed source of the active brine springs that still emanate in the areas of Shirleywich, Pasturefields and the Lion Lodge Covert area of Ingestre/Tixall. Here, the salt of the Needwood basin has dissolved near outcrop and, consequently, the salt sequence is most likely represented by brecciated strata caused by the collapse and foundering of the sequence caused by the removal of the salt by dissolution. Further information is given in section 10, Land Quality, where the local geography is addressed more fully.
4.3.5 (Topography and drainage): Again, an incomplete summary is given. The complex drainage of the land to the south of Little Ingestre, including Lion Lodge covert and its surrounds needs special mention. This is the site of an historic salt marsh. See 2.3 and Fig 2 above.
4.4.15 (Permanent effects of construction – Impacts on agricultural and forestry land): It is not just land take that is involved but the usability of land that remains (whether untouched by construction or used temporarily and then restored). While severance is addressed, there is no mention of, for example, the effects on ground moisture conditions arising from permanent alteration of the water table and/or surface drainage characteristics arising from the principal engineering works. In particular, the creation of deep cuttings through sandstone aquifers, as in the vicinity of Upper Hanyards, has the potential to lower the the water table to the detriment of the adjoining farmland and woodland. See also Water resources and flood risk (15) below.
5 Air quality
5.3.6 (Receptors): To the list of “other receptors” should be added: Little Ingestre House Care Home.
5.4.9 Assessment of impacts and effects – Temporary effects): To the list of roads expected to see an increase in traffic flows during construction should be added Blackheath Lane. This is the means by which (we presume) construction traffic will, access Tixall Road from the A518, Weston Road. See also 14.3.6 below
Missing from this section is assessment of emissions from fixed plant and vehicles on construction sites, see section 3 of our response to Q4 below.
Formal Objection: Before addressing the specific points contained in the CA2 report we wish to formally object to the exclusion from the assessment, without reason or explanation, the very real issue of impacts on the community of generalised property blight. The statement in our May 2016 consultation response to the draft EIA SMR was as follows:
“We note that community impacts are being assessed on predicted physical effects. While important, the biggest single impact is that arising from generalised property blight caused by the proposals. The degradation of assets that are not required for the construction or operation of the railway is not part of the assessment. Furthermore, the magnitude, temporal and spatial extent of blight is driven by market perception rather than cold analysis of physical effects. The character of the community is threatened in a complex way depending on the nature of the blight, the Government's property compensation proposals and the personal circumstances of the individuals and families involved. It is difficult to see how a meaningful assessment of impacts on community can be carried out without taking this economic dimension into account. “
The Government's response, given at paragraph 4.9.2 of the EIA SMR Consultation Summary Report, published on 13 Sept 2016 says:
· Consultees requested that the impact of the Proposed Scheme on property or asset values or implications of property blight be considered.
· Section 9.1 of the draft EIA SMR states that property will be considered as part of the assessment. This includes, for example a loss of housing stock or associated land (for example gardens) as a result of the Proposed Scheme. The community assessment excludes financial considerations, such as loss of property value arising from blight [emphasis added]. No changes have been made in the revised EIA SMR to reflect this theme.
The widespread impoverishment of communities (except, perhaps, those within roughly 5 miles – 8km – of a HS2 station) and the resultant change in character of the communities arising from the replacement of long-term residents by short term tenants living in properties purchased under the Government's discretionary compensation schemes is of much greater impact than that arising from the whole or partial loss of properties that are required for the construction and operation of the scheme.
It is unacceptable to make a pretence of assessing community impacts while deliberately excluding the single most important contributing factor to the effect on communities.
6.1.2 (Introduction): As per 3.5 above, it is with considerable concern to read that, in preparing the draft proposals, there is no mention of HS2 Ltd having engaged with any of the following:
These are key community facilities that will encounter intrusion/disturbance as a result of the construction and operation of the proposed scheme.
6.3 (Environmental baseline): As already noted, we are extremely concerned at the failure to recognise (and presumably take into account in the preparation of the Proposed Scheme) important features of our community. At 6.3.2 of the CA2 report, a summary of residences at Hopton, Marston and Yarlet are given but nothing is said about Ingestre/Tixall. At 6.3.3 a comprehensive summary is given of Ingestre Park Golf Club but this is the only community facility mentioned. As mentioned at point g) of General, above, we have found it necessary to prepare a comprehensive list of properties within the parishes of Ingestre and Tixall. This has already been provided to HS2 Ltd in order that they may update their mailing list for the area. The essential part of that list, relevant to the environmental baseline for Community, is as follows:
There are 8 business properties, 106 residences and 1 church within 1 km of the proposed route. All will encounter intrusion/disturbance as a result of the construction and operation of the proposed scheme however only Ingestre Park Golf Club is directly affected.
The affected business properties are listed below, together with associated website addresses from which details can be obtained.
NB: Tixall Gatehouse is just outside the 1 km limit but shares ownership with Ingestre Pavilion.
The referenced church is the Grade 1 listed church of St Mary the Virgin, Ingestre, ST18 0RF: http://www.stmaryschurch-ingestre.co.uk/
6.4.5 (Assessment of Impacts and effects – Temporary effects – Residential properties): No breakdown is given of the 11 residential properties stated as being adjacent to the cited works. We cannot comment on the number of adjacent properties at the Great Haywood end of the viaduct but there are 7 residential properties in Ingestre that are within 250m of the works. What is of greater significance is that the conclusion that: “This would result in a major adverse isolation effect for the residents, which would be significant.” is not confined to the 7 residential properties immediately adjacent to the works but to the whole of Ingestre (74 residences). This is because the only access to Ingestre is via Ingestre Road. This originates at Hoo Mill Lane crossroads, which lies at the centre of construction works at the northern end of the Great Haywood viaduct.
6.4.10 and 6.4.12 (Temporary effects on Community and recreational facilities):
7 Cultural Heritage
General: We acknowledge footnotes #38 on p73 and #40 on p75 to the effect that the draft assessment of cultural heritage has taken into account the revised Ingestre Conservation Area boundary even though the accompanying CT-10 series map shows the old Conservation Area boundary.
7.3.7 & 7.3.8 (Non-designated Assets): An impressive list is given. We would welcome feedback on the results of all studies and investigations relating to features found within the parish boundaries of Ingestre and Tixall.
Specific comments are as follows:
1. 7.3.7, 6th bullet: As noted at 2.3 above, it is an established fact (not just a possibility) that a 1.5ha area of salt marsh exists at the southern edge of Lion Lodge Covert. This is a remnant of a much more extensive salt marsh which, from historical records, extended, we believe, to something in excess of 35ha but which has subsequently been drained. The brine springs that feed this area of marshland remain active, the emerging brine being intercepted and carried away by the extensive surface and sub-surface drainage, see Q3 Part A Fig 2 above. See also point 5 below. NB: The remnant salt marsh is host to rare plant species, including one not recorded in Staffordshire for nearly 100 years and to breeding lapwings and curlews, see 8.3.9 below.
2. 7.3.8, 7th & 8th bullets: The referenced 19th century saw-mill and accompanying office block has recently been developed. These buildings now comprise 10 residential units: Nos 1 – 10, Little Ingestre Barns.
3. Not mentioned but should be added: Lion Lodges (within 500m of the land required). The present lodges date from the 1930's when they were rebuilt on the site of earlier lodges, dating from the early 19th c, which, themselves, incorporated an ancient triumphal arch that was relocated from the pleasure grounds of Ingestre Hall.
4. Not mentioned but should be added: remains of 19th c (or earlier) tramway linking Hoo Mill with the Trent and Mersey Canal (within 500m of the land required). The tramway follows what is shown on present day maps as Hoo Mill lane on that part between Hoo Mill and the canal which is no longer open.
5. Known to exist from historical records but for which there are no known surviving above-ground remains is the Holy Well and Chapel of St Erasmus. This was a significant place of pilgrimage until the late middle ages. Following the Reformation, pilgrimage stopped, the chapel was demolished and the well (a naturally occurring mineral water spring containing salt and elements that gave it a sulphurous quality) was eventually lost to history. The location is unknown but is described in Robert Plot's History of Staffordshire (1686) as being close to Ingestre Marsh (see point 1 above).
6. Known to exist from historical records but for which there are no known surviving above-ground remains is the original 13c church of St Mary the Virgin, Ingestre (and possible accompanying burials). The church was described as being small and incommodious, and was, by the mid 17th c, in a state of ruinous repair. It was taken down and parts reused, when the new church (commissioned by Walter Chetwynd and reputedly designed by Christopher Wren) was built on a new foundation to replace it. The new church opened in 1676. The location of the original church is unknown but is believed to have been to the west of Ingestre Hall, possibly somewhere in what is, today, Church Field.
7. Known to exist from historical records dating to the 14th c but for which there are no known surviving above-ground remains is the deserted medieval township of Hanyate. This was on land belonging to Robert de Hanyate, described as being on the highway leading from Ingestre to Stafford – present day Hanyards Lane. The location is unknown but present-day Upper Hanyards Farm (due to be demolished under the present proposals) is a candidate site
7.3.9 (Cultural Heritage overview): The possible existence of ancient stone tools in the Trent valley river deposits is more than hypothetical. Two polished stone axe-heads have already been found locally – in the field between Hoo Mill Lane and Little Ingestre.
7.3.17 (Cultural Heritage overview): We propose two minor additions to the summary for Ingestre: In the opening sentence: “.... Ingestre Hall was built in around 1613, on the site of an earlier medieval manor house, ….” In the concluding sentence: “... while the stables and other farm buildings have been subdivided and converted to residential use and the establishment of an internationally renowned equestrian training and examination centre.”
7.4.9 (Cultural heritage – Assessment of Impacts and effects – temporary effects): There is more than an historical relationship between Ingestre and Tixall. Over centuries the neighbouring parkland estates have evolved jointly and in harmony. They share landscape, heritage, social and cultural assets as well as being administered jointly. The Proposed Scheme intrudes on and completely splits apart the two communities; there being an enormous viaduct and high embankment, at the south, that transitions, rapidly, to a deep cutting in the north. The cutting will create a scar in the ancient parklands in excess of 100m wide – but avoided if a tunnel is used.
Between them, Ingestre and Tixall host 13 listed buildings that lie within 1km of the proposed works. In addition to the noise, dust and visual intrusion during construction, there is the potential for disruption to the one and only means of access to Ingestre. The in-combination socio-economic impacts on the hall and church arising from all this disturbance could be profound (see 12 below).
With all the adverse factors mentioned, it is inconceivable that the effects and impacts on the area can only be considered to be “moderate”. We believe the temporary effects on cultural heritage will be “severe”. Please review.
7.4.12 et seq (Cultural heritage – Permanent effects): Please review and amend, taking into account all the points previously raised under Cultural Heritage (including the complete loss of the referenced remnant salt marsh, with its rare flora and fauna), and our recommendations on the alternative naming of features of the scheme as set out in Q3 “Nomenclature”, below.
In respect of the observation at 7.4.25 that: “The core area around Ingestre Hall, Church and Stables, however, would remain largely unaffected.” we would point out that while this might be true in terms of heritage assets, only 13 of the 74 residences in Ingestre are in this “core area”. The remaining residences are divided, in roughly equal numbers, between Home Farm Court, Ingestre Village and Little Ingestre, with a few outliers. In the wider sense, the Hall, Church and Stables is not the “core” of the community and, while the assessment of “largely unaffected” may apply to the Hall, Church and Stables in the longer term this is certainly not the case during construction.
In respect of 7.4.28 (summary of likely residual significant effects), the summary must pick up on the negative socio-economic effects on heritage assets as discussed in 12 below.
7.5 (Effects arising from operation): This needs to be reassessed to take account of the observations above and our detailed comments on the Proposed Scheme as set out in our response to Q3 part B, below.
8 Ecology and biodiversity
8.3.5 Environmental baseline – Existing baseline – Pasturefields SAC): This is an incorrect statement and is not valid as an existing baseline. The words used in the CA2 report mirror those of the site condition when it was first registered as a SSSI in June 1986, prior to becoming a SAC. Since then the condition of the site has deteriorated. Several species of saltmarsh vegetation have been lost and there has been no record, that we can establish, of any of the mentioned waders (snipe, redshank and lapwing) having bred there in the past 10 years. The official site designation in 2005 was “unfavourable, recovering”, a situation that had not changed when next reviewed in 2012. The current assessment is that the site is stable but in an unfavourable condition. The next formal review is not due until 2018.
8.3.9 Environmental Baseline – Existing baseline – Lionlodge Covert LWS): The CA2 report gives an incorrect and misleading representation of the facts. The referenced LWS corresponds with Staffordshire Ecological Record for site 92/84/70. The site was surveyed in 2014 and the ecological report submitted to HS2 Ltd, in draft form, in Dec 2014, as part of our Phase 2 Route Safeguarding consultation response. A copy of the final report was sent to HS2 Ltd in June 2015 following formal ratification of the site as a local Site of Biological Importance (SBI).
SBI 92/84/70 has two distinct parts (not recognised in the CA2 report or on the accompanying CT-10 series map): Part A: Broadleaved, mixed and yew woodland (Lion Lodge Covert) and, Part B: Inland Saltmarsh (open wet grassland immediately south of Lion Lodge Covert). The salt marsh is 1.5ha in extent and is described as Poor, Semi-improved. The salt marsh is entirely within the land required for the proposed scheme and will be destroyed if the project proceeds as proposed. 4ha of the broadleaved woodland portion of the SBI (approximately 25%) will also be lost.
The salt marsh part of the site is non-designated yet is potentially of national importance. The following three paragraphs are taken from the site report:
“The site also is host to Stiff Saltmarsh-grass which has not been recorded in the county since 1923 and is a significant record for the country. This species is nationally scarce and normally confined to coastal locations. At present there is only one other inland site in Britain (in Cheshire) where the species has been recorded in modern flora accounts.
Breeding Northern Lapwing have been recorded on the grassland in 2013 and 2014. Eurasian Curlew were also recorded in 2013 and 2014 and were also displaying breeding behaviour, although breeding has not been confirmed on the site. Lapwing and Curlew are UK Species of Principal Importance (SPI) which have been identified for priority conservation action.
Due to the potential importance of the saltmarsh area as a remnant Annex 1 habitat type (a habitat type which is listed on the European Union’s Habitats Directive and is considered to be a European priority for conservation), a detailed, appropriate geo-hydrological survey of the site is recommended to ascertain the nature and extent of the current edaphic conditions the site supports.”
8.3.15 (Environmental Baseline – Existing baseline – Ponds): Mention is made of 17 ponds within CA2, that are wholly or partly within the land required for construction. We flag (again!) Saltspring Pool, on the southern edge of Lion Lodge Covert (details provided to HS2 Ltd, initially in August 2013, repeated in our Phase 2 Route Consultation response in January 2014 and as marked on Fig 2 as part of 2.3 above) and trust that this is included as one of the 17.
8.3.18/Table 4 (Environmental Baseline – Existing baseline – Relevant species): It is with considerable concern (and frustration) to find such a trivial assessment presented in the CA2 report. The report may be a draft document but there is no excuse for it to have failed to take into account detailed information already provided to HS2 Ltd as part of our January 2014 Phase 2 Route Consultation response. This response contained (at Appendix 5) a 23 page wildlife report for Ingestre & Tixall. There is no evidence that any of the content of this report has been used.
8.4.1 (Effects during construction – Avoidance and mitigation measures): Please see our response at Q3 Part B below for detailed comments. Here, we flag the apparent absence in the proposals for any “green bridge” provision at either Ingestre Underbridge or at the overbridge at the top of Hanyards Lane (currently referred to as Tixall Bridleway 0.1628 Accommodation Overbridge but which should be renamed as set out in Q3 “Nomenclature”, below). Provision of appropriate measures to mitigate the effects of severance of wildlife access is something we believe is essential.
8.4.3 et seq (Effects during construction – Assessment of impacts and effects): This needs to be reassessed to take account of the observations in the preceding paragraphs of this section and our detailed comments on the Proposed Scheme as set out in our response to Q3 part B, below.
We single out 8.4.4 (Pasturefields SAC) for special mention because, as is already known to HS2 Ltd, since shortly after the announcement of the IPR for Phase 2 in January 2013, we have disputed the claims made by HS2 Ltd on the grounds that the HRA for Pasturefields SAC was deficient on numerous counts and that HS2 Ltd has failed in its duty to the taxpayer in refusing to properly examine an alternative route alignment that is lower cost and has reduced environmental and community impact than the current proposal. Please refer to Q2 Part B above for more detail.
In respect of 8.4.24 & 8.2.25 (Other mitigation measures) we request that HS2 Ltd fully engage with us, before the EIA is finalised, to ensure that we can give proper consideration to any proposals that might be brought forward.
8.4.26 (Likely significant residual effects): The only effects listed relate to areas of habitat that are permanently lost to the railway. No mention is made, whatsoever, to effects on nearby habitats whose characters are permanently changed as a result of the building the railway. This includes:
Formal Objection: As for section 6 (Community) above, before addressing the specific points contained in the CA2 report we wish to formally object to the exclusion from the assessment, without reason or explanation, the very real issue of impacts on health caused by generalised property blight. The degradation of asset values, changes in community cohesion and a feeling of entrapment for those who have lost the freedom to move away to escape the impacts of construction and operation of the scheme, without incurring substantial financial loss, has already created severe mental stress. This will only get worse once construction starts.
As with Community, it is unacceptable to make a pretence of assessing health impacts while deliberately excluding the single most important contributing factor to anxiety/mental ill-health.
9.3 (Environmental baseline): In line with this objection, we propose that mapping of loss in property value due to HS2 be used as a proxy “health determinant” to be considered alongside data from the Office of National Statistics and the Association of Public Health Observatories.
9.4.24 (Assessment of impacts and effects – Ingestre Park Golf Club): The assessment that, in the face of the loss of function of the Golf Club: “no adverse effects on community health and wellbeing are predicted”, is almost certainly wrong. While it is true that the golf course is not open to the public as place providing an accessible green space, the whole community will lose the social amenity provided by the clubhouse restaurant, bar and meeting-room facilities which are used regularly for community events. This is especially significant as there is no other convenient place for the local community to socialise. Also, the Golf Club is an important place for local employment and, while the numbers are not high, they are significant in terms of local employment opportunities. The loss of the Golf Club as a community resource and place of employment will definitely have a negative impact on health and wellbeing in the area.
NB: We note that, with regard to Ingestre Park Golf Club, the assessment is for the scheme “as currently designed” and that, from 6.4.27, HS2 is continuing to work with the Golf Club. We are aware that one option under consideration is relocation of the Golf Club to an alternative site. Should this happen there are many implications. We request that HS2 engage with us before any final decision on the relocation of the Golf Club is made.
9.4.35 (assessment of Impacts and effects – access to emergency services): We note the very general statement about seeking to reduce effects on emergency response times as far as reasonably practical. This is too weak. Ingestre requires special attention because:
10 Land quality
Yet again we find it necessary to register our concern that important information about the area, already provided to HS2 Ltd in previous consultation responses and other correspondence, has been ignored. As a consequence, the current scheme proposals have (apparently) been developed without taking this information into account. This has led to mistakes having been made.
10.3.11 through 10.3.14 (Environmental baseline – Bedrock Geology): As as already been noted at Q2 Part A section 4, above, an incomplete summary has been given. While mention is made of the Stafford Halite to the north of Yarlet, no mention is made of the halite deposits of the western edge of the Needwood basin to the south. These are the presumed source of active brine springs that still emanate in the areas of Shirleywich, Pasturefields and the Lion Lodge Covert area of Ingestre/Tixall. Here, the salt of the Needwood basin has dissolved near outcrop and, consequently, the salt sequence is most likely represented by brecciated strata caused by the collapse and foundering of the sequence caused by the removal of the salt by dissolution.
10.3.17 through 10.3.22 (Environmental baseline – Groundwater): Not mentioned is the Sherwood sandstone outcrop between Ingestre/Tixall and Stafford. This is a probable groundwater recharge point for the aquifer that is believed to provide the artesian pressure that drives the brine springs referenced in the preceding paragraph. Abstraction from this aquifer and/or a reduction in artesian head resulting from dewatering in response to the creation of Hanyards Cutting (currently named Brancote Cutting – see Q3 “Nomenclature”, below) could adversely affect brine flow rates. This would be important for all ecological sites that depend on the sustained flow of brine, including the European protected site of Pasturefields SAC.
10.3.28 (Environmental baseline – Current and historical land use – Landfill sites): Five historical landfill sites are mentioned, however later, at Table 8, the list does not include the landfill site near Hoo Mill crossroads, at approximately OS grid ref: SJ991236. This lies within 250m of the proposed works. It is possible that this site has already been screened and eliminated as a potential source of contamination but we mention it in case it has been omitted in error.
10.3.34 together with 10.4.20 (Environmental baseline – Mining/mineral resources): We are concerned to see the possibility of mineral extraction (sand & gravel) taking place in the region between the western edge of Lion Lodge Covert and Hoo Mill. We request that we are kept fully informed of any developing plans to exploit these resources.
10.3.38, 10.3.39 together with 10.4.21 (Environmental baseline – Mining/mineral resources – Halite deposits): We agree that commercial exploitation of the halite deposits in the area is unlikely in the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, there remains a legacy issue from previous exploitation, particularly in the northern part of the CA2 area, where brine pumping in the Stafford area continued until the early 1970s. The BGS estimate that only about 10% of the volume of salt removed by brine extraction from the Stafford halite deposit has been accounted for by recorded subsidence. The route of the Proposed Scheme (Route C) passes through the area identified by the BGS where further subsidence may occur (see Fig 3). On the other hand, this area is avoided by the March 2012 route HSM03 (Route B).
Historical exploitation of the “broader solution zone … parallel to the line of the Hopton fault” – which we presume means to the east of the fault, corresponding to the western edge of the Needwood basin halite deposit that is responsible for the brine springs in the Trent valley – was never on a scale comparable with that in Stafford. The two largest extraction sites (Shirleywich and Weston) both ceased operation at the start of the 20th century. NB: The Weston saltworks was fed with brine that was extracted from the ground in Ingestre, from a well located at approximately OS ref: SJ977260.
Of more relevance, is the natural dissolution of halite that underlies the salt marsh at Ingestre/Tixall, over which it is proposed to build the route (see 2.3 Fig 2 above). Local measurements of brine concentration and flow rate at just one of the outflow points from the drainage network of the marsh gives a daily loss of 1.34 Tonnes (0.5m3) of salt. This is a minimum as there are several outflow points and not all were measured.
Apart from the corrosive nature of brine, it appears that HS2 Ltd has created for itself significant engineering challenges in maintaining track stability in the face of the loss of supporting ground amounting to several hundred cubic metres per annum.
Note ref Fig 3: This is based on Fig 1 of the BGS report that formed Appendix 6 of our response to the Phase 2 Route Consultation. At the time, the BGS Karst database did not include the Ingestre/Tixall saltmarsh mentioned at 2.3/Fig 2 of Q3 Part A above, so it does not appear.
11 Landscape and visual
11.1.3 (Principal landscape and visual issues in the area): Permanent landscape and visual effects are summarised at the 2nd bullet. We contend that the deep Hanyards cutting (currently named Brancote cutting, see Q3 “Nomenclature”, below) warrants mention as a significant issue.
11.2.2 (Scope, assumptions and limitations – ZTVs): The concept of a zone of theoretical visibility (ZTV) is understood but its application to construction and operation less so. In both cases it appears that the fixed structures of the railway will be included (except, it would seem, the overhead line equipment). For construction, the ZTV will also include the additional temporary effects of construction plant, temporary buildings and temporary stockpiles of construction materials (including temporary storage of spoil from earthworks) etc. For operation, the EIA SMR, paragraph 15.5.3, simply says: “the area over which the components of the Proposed Scheme (including trains) would be visible” It is the “including trains” part that requires further elaboration.
At the simplest level, a train could be represented as solid object extending (say) 4m above the rail head and this, perhaps, is all that is needed to define a ZTV. What is not explained in either the CA2 report or in the EIA SMR is how the dynamics of a moving train in the environment affects its intrusion. The visual impacts of the static components of the railway will be (and need to be) assessed completely differently from the dynamic components – i.e. the trains.
On Phase 2a, the proposed service operation sees, in our area, the passage of 24 trains per hour (one every 2min 30s on average), each train being up to 400m in length and travelling at up to 360kph. Unlike the fixed features, for which mitigation is proposed to help blend them into the landscape, the trains will most likely be bright, shiny and decked-out in the eye-catching livery of the chosen train operating company. The rapid motion across the landscape of a visually conspicuous object creates an environmentally intrusive feature of completely different character to that of the static infrastructure. We see no indication as to how this critically important aspect of visual intrusion is being addressed.
11.3.7 & 11.3.8 (Environmental baseline – Ingestre Riparian Alluvial Lowlands and Ingestre Park Sandstone Estatelands): We note that these Landscape Character Areas also include Tixall. The area covered is extensive and, as noted, is principally historic parkland. Although modified, we contend that the wider parklands remain essentially intact, together with the multiple historic buildings they contain (there are 13 listed buildings within 1km of the Proposed Scheme). We claim there is more than “remnant” historic features and do not support the assessment that the presence of polytunnels at the Canalside farm shop, grandstands at the county showground, an overhead power line and an 18-hole golf course as a sufficient detraction to warrant only a “medium to high” landscape value rating. It should be reassigned “High”
11.3.16 (Visual baseline – general): Detailed comments concerning viewpoints and proposed mitigation measures are given in our response to Q3, Part B below.
11.4.12 (Visual assessment construction) and 11.5.9 (Visual assessment operation): Both only include appraisal of “views south from Ingestre Park” (Paragraphs 11.4.16 and 11.5.16 respectively). Both conclude that there will be major adverse (significant) effects. In the case of operation, it is assessed (at paragraph 11.5.6) that, by year 15, landscape effects will only be slightly reduced through the establishment of landscape planting and would still be significant.
While we have no reason to dispute the analysis, we contend that the reference view-points chosen (Tixall Bridleway 0.1628, either side of the Hanyards Lane Overbridge) is a poor one in terms of the frequency of experience of the referenced views. Of far greater relevance to the visual importance of the landscape is views further south, where the Great Haywood viaduct and Trent North embankment intrude more prominently into the landscape and where the majority of both residents and visitors to the area will encounter the railway. A major shift in emphasis is required in assessing the visual impact for the final EIA.
The only direct impact on local employment is Ingestre Park Golf Club which will be unable to function in its current arrangement. The probable loss of this facility will have a major impact on local employment.
What is not addressed at all (but alluded to at paragraph 12.4.12) is the impact on businesses and community facilities that are not directly impacted but whose activities will be adversely affected as a result of the construction and operation of the railway.
All the businesses/community facilities set out at 6.3 above will, to some degree or other, be adversely affected. Most vulnerable are Ingestre Hall and St Mary's church both of which have to stand alone financially and for which the peace, tranquillity and historic setting of the area are central to their ability to raise funds. If the church cannot be financially sustained, it risks closure and, likewise, if Ingestre Hall cannot be operated effectively as a stand-alone profit centre, its long-term survival as a residential arts centre, under the stewardship of Sandwell MBC, will be in doubt. Ingestre Lodges, Ingestre Pavilion and Tixall Gatehouse are premium holiday lets that also have a heavy dependence on the peace, tranquillity and historic nature of their settings. They face considerable harm through lack of take-up. Ingestre Stables equestrian centre and Little Ingestre House residential care home have a lower sensitivity but nevertheless depend on an adequately high demand for their services to remain viable. These and other smaller local endeavours are critical to the socio-economic status of the area and all are under threat. It is absolutely essential that proper engagement takes place with the relevant authorities/owners to fully understand the potential impacts and concerns of these businesses/facilities and to agree mitigation and/or compensation as appropriate. It is essential that they are not driven to closure through no fault of their own.
13 Sound, noise and vibration
Ingestre is a quiet area that is prized by residents and visitors alike for its tranquillity. We have repeatedly objected to the basis for assessment of noise levels in which the lower cut-off for the equivalent continuous power level is 50dB for daytime LAeq. The typical daytime LAeq is currently in the low 30's dB (as your measurements should confirm) so, even the lowest contour on your maps corresponds to a sound level in excess of 15dB above current background. HS2 Ltd consider that an increase of 10dB above background constitutes a major impact (EIA SMR Table 41). Against this, an increase of over 15dB is very significant and will have a big impact on quality of life even though, at 50dB, direct adverse health impacts may be small. It is regretted also that only LAeq contours are given. For a proper appreciation of the the effects there ought to be contour maps showing peak values of noise generated during the passage of an individual train. This is what is heard, not some mathematically derived average.
Our detailed comments on the proposed mitigation measures are given in our answer to Q3 Part B below. However, we have reason to believe that not all factors relevant to the selection of proposed mitigation measures have been taken into account.
A notable shortfall in residential addresses that have received mail shots from HS2, at times when it has been claimed that all owner/occupiers within 1km have been written to, lead us to believe that HS2 may have underestimated the numbers of properties that lie within 1km of the route.
As is noted at 6.3 above, we believe that in Ingestre and Tixall, there are 8 business properties, 106 residences and 1 church within 1 km of the proposed route. All will encounter noise as a result of the construction and operation of the proposed scheme. Full details of all properties within 1km have been provided to HS2 Ltd via Joe Wilson, Stakeholder Adviser, Phase 2a. We ask that you properly map these properties into the landscape so that the resultant impacts on each of these, as receptors, is properly taken into account in the analysis and selection of mitigation measures.
14 Traffic and transport
14.2.2 (Scope, assumptions and limitations): Ingestre needs to be added to the list of affected settlements.
14.3.4 (Environmental Baseline – Existing baseline – Roads crossed by route): Mill Lane and Tixall Road (currently marked on some maps as Haywood Road – see Q3 “Nomenclature”, below) should be added to the list of roads crossed by the route (NB: Mill Lane and Tixall road terminate under the route at Hoo Mill crossroads so, technically, they are not “crossed”. Nevertheless they should be included for completeness as they will be affected to a similar, if not greater, degree).
14.3.6 (Environmental Baseline – Existing baseline – Local roads used for construction): With Hoo Mill Lane having no through access and Mill lane restricted by a low bridge (3.5m) all HGV traffic from the main construction compound on the A51 at Great Haywood to the two satellite compounds at Hanyards Lane and Hoo Mill Lane will have to travel north on the A51 to Weston, west on the A518 towards Stafford, as far as Blackheath Lane island, south on Blackheath Lane and then east on Tixall Road. Blackheath Lane is very busy, serving as a proxy eastern distributor road for Stafford, together with being the principal access to Weston Road Academy (1000 place secondary school), Staffordshire University (Centre of Excellence in Healthcare Education) and Stafford Crematorium. Major delays occur at peak times.
14.3.8 (Environmental Baseline – Existing baseline – Bus routes crossed): Important to the analysis but apparently missing from the list are the 841 and 841A services from Stafford to Uttoxeter and Stafford to Hixon respectively. These services use Tixall Road and are hence “crossed” by the route at Hoo Mill crossroads as well as on the A51.
Additionally, Tixall Road is used by school buses and by coaches carrying students to and from Ingestre Hall Residential Arts Centre – the latter also having to enter/exit Ingestre Road at Hoo Mill crossroads.
14.4.13 (Effects arising during construction – Assessment of impacts and effects – Access routes): No mention is made of the Hanyards Lane (Tixall Bridleway) satellite construction compound nor, as noted at 14.3.6 above, of the impacts on Blackheath Lane of having to route construction traffic for both Hanyards Lane (Tixall Bridleway) and Mill Lane satellite construction compounds along it.
14.4.14 (Effects arising during construction – Assessment of impacts and effects – Increased traffic flows): Tixall Road and Blackheath Lane need to be added to the list.
14.4.13 (Effects arising during construction – Assessment of impacts and effects – Temporary diversion of PRoW): Attention is drawn to our detailed comments in our answer to Q3 Part B regarding Tixall Bridleway 0.1628.
15 Water resources and flood risk
15.2.6 (Scope, assumptions and limitations – Study information): Once again we find ourselves having to express our deep concern at the failure by HS2 Ltd to take into account detailed information about the hydrology of the area that has been provided to HS2 Ltd over a period exceeding 3 years. This includes, most recently, our consultation response to the draft EIA SMR.
15.3.5 (Environmental baseline – WFD baseline – Water-course crossings): Missing from table 12 is the Hanyards drop inlet culvert.
15.3.8 to 15.3.14 (Environmental baseline – Geology): Please refer to section 10 above and our comments against 10.3.11 and 10.3.13 in particular.
With regard to table 13, if our understanding is correct, the Staffordshire Trent Valley sandstone comes to outcrop to the west of the area, not east as stated – indeed it is this outcrop that is cut into by the Hanyards (Brancote) cutting. See point 10.3.17 above.
15.3.18 and 15.3.19 (Environmental baseline – springs, GWTEs and Pasturefields): As has been reported to HS2 Ltd on many occasions, over nearly four years, the Proposed Scheme has been aligned right through the middle of an extant inland salt marsh that has a high probability of being linked with that of Pasturefields SAC. See section 8.3.9 (Ecology and biodiversity) above, as well as 2.3, Fig 2. There is indeed at least one groundwater-dependent terrestrial ecosystem (GWDTE) in the study area, adjacent to Lion Lodge Covert. In addition, at least some of the features identified as “springs” are probably saline in nature and furthermore, are not natural springs but simply discharge points for culverts that are part of the extensive drainage system for the salt marsh.
15.4 (Effects arising during construction – Avoidance and mitigation measures): As already noted, the Proposed Scheme does not avoid sensitive areas. Instead, the proposed alignment passes right through the middle of a GWDTE and then cuts deep into a primary aquifer that is almost certainly the source of the Artesian head that drives the brine springs at Pasturefields and Ingestre/Tixall. What is so disturbing (and frustrating) is that HS2 Ltd's attention was first drawn to this as early as June 2013 and has been restated many times since. Regrettably, this information has been ignored.
15.4.5 (Effects arising during construction – Avoidance and mitigation measures – Culverting): We note that there is no mention of Hanyards drop inlet culvert. More important, though, is the failure to understand the hydrology of the area of the ancient inland salt marsh in the Lion Lodge area of Ingestre/Tixall. This means that the proposed Lion Lodge Culvert and associated surface water drainage diversions will need a detailed review – but only after a comprehensive survey has been carried out to determine the exact nature of the extensive surface and underground drainage networks in the area. Alternatively, the proposed route is abandoned in favour of the cheaper lower impact route as discussed in Q2 Part B.
15.4 (Effects arising during construction – Avoidance and mitigation measures – Mitigation of ground water effects): The measures described seem more relevant to the management of the intrusion of water into excavation works rather than the preservation of existing ground water conditions. The fact that, at paragraphs 15.4.14 through 15.4.16, impacts are identified on nearby abstraction wells indicates that some draw-down in water table is expected. This implies that it is not envisaged that any form of cut-off structure will be used in association with Hanyards (Brancote) cutting. In view of the potential impact on Pasturefields SAC, this needs proper reassessment.
15.4.23 (Assessment of impacts and effects – Pasturefields SAC): The assessment is almost certainly invalid for reasons that have been provided to HS2 Ltd on many occasions. The key one being that the referenced HRA Screening report, dating from 2012, was prepared in ignorance of the existence of the salt marsh and associated brine springs, in Ingestre/Tixall, and the over-interpretation of limited available evidence that led, exclusively, to a shallow, near-surface, conceptual model of brine flow, whereas an artesian-driven deep ground-water origin is equally, if not more, likely. Evidence, including a detailed report by the BGS has been presented to HS2 Ltd together with guidance on (and demands for) further work to better understand the hydrogeology. This has all been ignored, no ground investigations have been undertaken and no attempt has been made to update the HRA screening report in the light of the new evidence provided. Consequently, the Proposed Scheme has evolved and been assessed on a misleading and unreliable basis.
The Proposed Scheme should be paused while the rationale for diverting the lower cost, lower impact, March 2012 route HSM03, away from Pasturefields SAC is re-examined. See Q2 Part B.
15.4.25 et seq (Assessment of impacts and effects – Flood risk and land drainage): For all the reasons previously stated, every aspect of the Proposed scheme, roughly between Ch 206+000 and Ch 207+000 needs to be re-evaluated.
More appropriate is to review the original decision to divert the route away from the March 2012 HSM03 route.
Q3 Response: Part B: Volume 2: Map Book CA2: Colwich to Yarlet:
Community Area 2 (CA2) extends from Colwich to Yarlet. The responses below are selective and cover only that subset of CA2 that encompasses the parishes of Ingestre and Tixall plus relevant parts of neighbouring parishes. The area corresponds, roughly, to the 5km section of the Proposed Scheme from Ch 205+000 at Great Haywood to Ch 210+000 at Staffordshire County Showground.
As noted at paragraph b) of “General”, at the beginning of this consultation response, our comments on the Proposed Scheme do not signify acceptance of this scheme. As set out elsewhere (see Q2 Part B above) we believe that, should the project proceed, it should do so on the basis of a different alignment, generally following route HSM03 as described in the March 2012 HS2 Phase 2 Route Options Report and referred to as “Route B” in section 4.3 of the Alternatives appendix.
As noted at the 4th bullet of 2.3 in Part A of our response to Q3, incorrect/inappropriate naming has been used by HS2 Ltd for roads and other features in the area. We propose and strongly recommend that HS2 change place and feature designations on the maps and at the relevant points in the text of the CA2 report, in line with the following:
CT-05-212 & CT-06-212 (Land-take & Scheme series)
CT-05-213 & CT-06-213 (Land-take & Scheme series)
1. At map square I3, delete “Ingestre Park”
2. At map square H1 (spilling into H2 and I1), add “Little Ingestre”. NB: The Wellington-boot shaped part of the complex that sits at OS grid Ref: SJ 98952445 is Little Ingestre House Residential Care Home. This should be added as a spot reference, marked “Care Home”
3. At map square E3, add “Ingestre Village”
4. At map square C1, add “Home Farm Court”
5. At approximately the meeting point of grid squares G4, G5, H4 & H5, add “Lion Lodge Covert”
6. At OS Ref: SJ 97602470, add spot reference marked “Ingestre Hall”
7. At OS Ref: SJ 97672470, add spot reference marked “St Mary's Church”
8. At OS Ref: SJ 97832467, add spot reference marked “Ingestre Stables”
9. At OS Ref SJ 98302422, add spot reference marked “Club House”
10. At OS Ref SJ 98452345, add spot reference marked “Tixall Manor Farm”
11. Lion Lodge Culvert is marked on CT-06-213 but is missing from CT-05-213. Neither map shows any access road to this culvert. An access road appears to have been provided for other similar situations.
12. We note proposed mitigation planting and mitigation ponds but request further detailed engagement about these before the scheme is finalised. It is not clear whether there is any form of “mitigation” that would off-set the loss of the remnant inland salt marsh – including the loss of Saltspring Pool (see 7.12 of our Phase 2 Route Consultation response and point 4 against map WR-01-203 below).
13. There is no indication on the maps of any utility diversion (or special provision for the protection thereof) in respect of either the BPA Thames-Mersey high pressure aviation fuel pipeline, or the Stafford Reinforcement high pressure gas pipeline that are crossed by the Proposed Scheme in this area and which we flagged in our Phase 2 Route Consultation response.
14. Further discussion about proposed scheme features is included as part the discussion, below, on the SV-01 series of noise maps.
CT-05-214 & CT-06-214 (Land-take & Scheme series)
· All necessary inter-farm traffic and agricultural machinery movements
· Service/maintenance access to the mobile phone base station
· Service/maintenance access to the Upper Hanyards wind turbine
· Service/maintenance access to the covered reservoir (if still functional)
· Access to Ingestre Pavilion
· Access to Ingestre Wood for all relevant forestry management activities
· Access to the Charles Raby timber yard
· Integration of any utility services (if present) that otherwise would be severed
· HS2 maintenance access requirements in respect of Hanyards Drop Inlet Culvert
We strongly recommend that this overbridge is designed as a green bridge to facilitate wildlife movements between the predominantly open fields to the south and the predominantly wooded area to the north.
Having provided an overbridge that meets the above needs, its adoption as the path for Tixall Bridleway 0.1628 becomes a formality.
9. We note that Hanyards Drop Inlet Culvert is labelled on CT-06-214 but not on CT-05-214 (although the access road to it is shown).
10. We note the proposal to have a satellite construction compound at the top of Hanyards Lane. If this is retained in the final scheme we recommend that, in line with the reasons given at Point 8, it is renamed “Hanyards Lane Satellite Compound”
11. We have very serious doubts about the wisdom/practicality of locating a construction compound at the top of Hanyards Lane and using the existing lane as the means of access. The existing lane is a narrow, single track lane which is completely unsuitable for HGV movements, except on a one-at-a-time basis. Furthermore, the entry point for the lane, off Tixall Road, is extremely close to the busy, traffic-light-controlled intersection of Tixall Road with Blackheath Lane. Traffic turning into and out of Hanyards Lane is already problematic at times and this will only be made worse by the introduction of any significant additional traffic using the lane. We accept and note, at paragraph 2.3.22 of the CA2 report, that designated haul roads, along the line of the route will be used where practical. However, the report does not indicate, on a compound-by-compound basis, what proportion of comings and goings this will be. With an average attendant workforce of 25 at this compound (40 at peak) but, as yet, no indication of associated traffic movements, it difficult to assess the real impact. We request detailed engagement on this matter prior to finalisation of the Proposed Scheme.
CT-05-215 & CT-06-215 ((Land-take & Scheme series)
1. At OS Ref: SJ 95802502, add spot reference marked “Park Farm”
2. We note that Berryhill (South) Culvert is labelled on CT-06-215 but not on CT-05-215. No access road is shown on either.
CT-10-107 (Environmental Baseline series)
CT-10-108 (Environmental Baseline series)
LV-11-109 (Landscape Character series)
LV-11-110 (Landscape Character series)
General Observations on Landscape and Proposed Mitigation
Trent South Embankment, Great Haywood Viaduct and Trent North Embankment combine to form a continuous elevated section of route of 3.3km in length. The average rail height above grade over this distance is around 12m with a maximum of 17m. In addition, noise barriers of up to 3m above railhead are proposed (limited to 2m on the viaduct). The resulting 3.3km long, 15-20m high linear visual barrier will be a major intrusion on the landscape. Because of the proposed location at the confluence of the River Trent and River Sow valleys, in an area of relatively open landscape, this elevated section will have a major impact over a wide area, including views from the sensitive areas of Shugborough Park and Cannock Chase AONB.
There does not appear to be any attempt, in the Proposed Scheme to offer mitigation against the wider effects in the landscape of this intrusion.
A suggestion, for consideration, that we believe may go part way to addressing this, is for HS2 Ltd, as part of the scheme, to acquire land/permission to plant an avenue of tall-growing trees along the full length of footpath Tixall1/Colwich 28 which runs from the Bottle Lodge, on Tixall Road (by Tixall Court) to the White Lodge on Mill Lane, Great Haywood. Once established, we believe this would provide a good measure of shielding from the west that would benefit Tixall, Shugborough Park, Cannock Chase AONB and the leisure users of the Staffs & Worcester canal (including, in particular, the very popular section known as Tixall Wide).
This is not a complete solution but it could be part of a more wider set of proposals.
We would welcome the opportunity to discuss ideas with your specialists.
SV-01-107 (Operational Sound Contour series)
SV-01-108 (Operational Sound Contour series)
General Observations on Sound Contours and Proposed Mitigation
As noted at section 13 of Q3 Part A, above, the local background LAeq is in the low 30s dB so even the outer edge of the pale yellow contour represents an increase in excess of 15dBA above background. The impact on quality of life will therefore extend much further from the track than implied from the mapped contours.
Furthermore, it is not obvious that the mitigation measures of the draft scheme have been developed with a proper understanding of the distribution of residents in the two parishes. We note that the Church, Hall and Stables of Ingestre have been considered to be the “core” of the community but, as noted at 7.4.12 of Q3 Part A, only 13 of the 74 residences in Ingestre are in this core area. The remainder are distributed as: 19 at Home Farm Court, 13 in Ingestre Village, 16 at Little Ingestre and the remaining 13 as outliers. While the “core” area and Home Farm Court appear to lie a reasonable distance outside the lowest contour, the margin for the remainder, which account for more than half the residents, is much less so. A further 17 residences on the Tixall side, located closest to the Trent North Embankment, are also going to be particularly affected.
At least on the Tixall side, there appears to be an obvious immediate mitigation measure. This is to install noise barriers on the southern side of the track and not just the north. We are concerned that this was not done from the outset. We are looking, therefore, for the immediate implementation of noise barriers on the southern side.
We are puzzled also about the way it is proposed that noise barriers are arranged on the Great Haywood viaduct. It would appear that barriers of up to 2m height are proposed on the viaduct, on both sides, but in a configuration in which those on the north side run only 2/3rds of the way across the viaduct from the western end while those on the southern side run only 2/3rds of the way across the viaduct from the eastern end. Visually, and acoustically, this must be very odd. We strongly believe that you should implement barriers across the full length of the viaduct, on both sides, with those on the southern side being further extended to somewhere around the Ch 207+500 mark.
Sensitivity studies should be performed to test the effects of different barrier heights. These should include the effect of going higher than 3m on the northern side of the Trent North Embankment to determine the benefits to residents in Ingestre village and Little Ingestre.
This is a complicated subject area and we formally request that HS2 Ltd engage with us on this matter as part of developing the final design.
WR-01-203 (Surface Water Baseline)
1. The portion of the map defined by map squares F5, F6, G5, G6 needs detailed review, taking into account the information shown at Fig 2 in 2.3 of Q3 Part A.
2. At map square D6, Hanyards Lane Accommodation Overbridge (currently known as Tixall Bridleway 0.168 Accommodation Overbridge) is not labelled.
3. At paragraph 10.3.19 of the CA2 Report, it is recorded that there are six known groundwater abstraction points. Five of those listed are within the range covered by WR-01-203: Ingestre Park Golf Club, Staffordshire County Showground (two records), Upper Hanyards Farm and Lower Hanyards Farm. On the map, only two are shown: 03/28/01/0201 (which we presume is Ingestre Park Golf Club) and MD/028/0004/001 (which we presume is one of the two at the Staffordshire County Showground). The other three are missing.
4. We note the marking of ponds but do not see Saltspring Pool (on the southern edge of Lion Lodge Covert) as being marked. Saltspring pool does not appear on regular OS maps but has been advised to HS2 Ltd previously, as part of our Phase 2 Route consultation response. It is not large (only about 4.5m diameter) but is significant because of its depth (>2.5m) and saline nature (it is possibly an historical site of brine extraction). See Fig 2 at 2.3 in Q3 Part A.
Question 4: Please let us know your comments on Volume 3: Route-wide Effects: We welcome any information you may have on how the scheme may impact the environment at a route-wide level (i.e. on a geographical scale greater than the Community Areas) and any opportunities you feel there may be to reduce these impacts.
As previously, we respond using the same section headings as the report.
2. Agriculture, forestry and soils:
Paragraphs 2.2.1 through 2.2.4 address the total land take and the proportion of BMV agricultural land that is within this. We draw your attention to our response to Q2 Part B above and make the point that we believe that both total land take and, more importantly, the proportion of BMV agricultural land lost to the project would be reduced if Route B was used instead of Route C.
At paragraph 2.2.5, it is stated that: “It is estimated that there would not be any significant surplus of displaced agricultural soils arising from the Proposed Scheme.” This implies that at least some soils will need to be disposed to land fill or to remote regions of the HS2 project. No assessment is given of this quantity. Nor has any action been taken here, or in the revised EIA SMR, to address the point we raised at the earlier consultation on the draft EIA SMR that, when relocation of soils over considerable distances from their place of origin is involved, it is important that displaced soils are reallocated only to places which have soils of comparable structure and composition and that care is exercised not to introduce uncharacteristic (i.e. out-of-area) weeds, pathogens and pests. We would expect the final EIA to give some indication of route-wide movement of soils and the measures adopted to control what goes where (we note that the CoCP seems to deal only with local stripping, storage and reinstatement of soils).
3. Air Quality:
Paragraph 3.2.3 addresses emissions from fixed plant and vehicles within construction sites. While we accept that, at a route-wide level, this contribution is likely to be small in comparison with existing emissions, this is not going to be true locally, especially for sites of construction in quiet rural areas away from existing highways. It is to be noted that this topic is not currently raised under the local (CA2) assessment on air quality which deals only with dust and the consequences of altered highway traffic flows.
4. Climate Change:
HS2 is predicted, at best, to be carbon neutral after 60 years of operation (2087 for Phase 2a). This has to be set against the Government's own commitment to de-carbonise the UK economy by 80% by 2050.
No attempt has been made in the draft EIA to assess the contribution of HS2 to climate change nor of the magnitude of climate change that the design of the scheme must take into account to provide resilience. All this is deferred until the full EIA is produced.
In terms of the present draft EIA only the climate baseline conditions are set out. In this we have reason to doubt the figures given. We have not had the time to access the datasets that underpin the claimed climate statistics for Fradley to Crewe at paragraph 4.4.4 et seq. However, there is one statistic that just does not ring true and this then calls into question the validity of the other data. It is stated at paragraph 4.4.6, 3rd bullet, that the region experiences approximately six frost days per year. Common experience dictates that this is a gross underestimate and a spot check of Met Office summary climate data for the UK Midlands confirms this. The average annual number of days of air frost for Keele, Staffordshire, over the period 1981 to 2010 is given as 46. This is more in line with experience.
We have no comments – a local impact only: see point 6 of Q3, Part A, above.
6. Cultural Heritage:
Effects are principally local: see point 7 of Q3 Part A, above. However, cumulatively, they produce route-wide effects that are nothing short of a devastating loss to the cultural heritage of the country. Even though direct impacts on heritage assets has been minimised, a very large number will have their settings diminished. In this respect we draw your attention to our response to Q2 Part B above and make the point that we believe that there would be far less impact on the settings of heritage assets if Route B was used instead of Route C.
7. Ecology and biodiversity:
As already addressed at Q2 Part B and point 8 of Q3 Part B, above, we believe the ecological assessment of Pasturefields SAC and the undesignated LWS that is the remnant part of an historically larger inland salt marsh in Ingestre/Tixall, is fundamentally flawed.
Furthermore, while accepting that ecological surveys are on-going, we restate, from point 8 of Q3 Part B, that it is with considerable concern (and frustration) to find such a trivial assessment presented in the CA2 report. The EIA may still be in draft but there is no excuse for it to have failed to take into account detailed information already provided to HS2 Ltd as part of our January 2014 Phase 2 Route Consultation response. Our response contained (at Appendix 5) a 23 page wildlife report for Ingestre & Tixall. There is no evidence that any of the content of this report has been used either at the CA level or at the route-wide level.
As at point 9 of Q3 Part B above, we wish to formally object to the exclusion from the assessment, without reason or explanation, the very real issue of impacts on health caused by generalised property blight. The degradation of asset values, changes in community cohesion and a feeling of entrapment for those who have lost the freedom to move away to escape the impacts of construction and operation of the scheme, without incurring substantial financial loss, has already created severe mental stress. This will only get worse once construction starts.
It is hypocritical of HS2 Ltd on the one hand to link potential health benefits arising from the economic opportunities provided by local employment and the expenditure of earnings by construction workers in the area yet, on the other hand, to completely ignore the much more widespread and immediate negative economic effects caused by generalised property blight.
Considerable analysis is given in respect to the health impacts on those home-owners whose properties are required for the construction or operation of the railway. While their lives will undoubtedly be disrupted, with all the stress and emotional upset that this entails, they do at least receive full financial compensation. However, these are in the minority compared with those home-owners whose properties are not required yet have seen their property values reduced. Likewise, considerable effort has gone into describing the avoidance and mitigation measures that are proposed to limit adverse health impacts but the adequacy or otherwise of property compensation (probably the biggest single health mitigation measure available) is completely ignored.
The biased and unrepresentative analysis of health impacts therefore fails to properly represent the conditions on the ground. As noted at point 9 of Q3 Part B above, we believe that mapping of loss in property value due to HS2 should be used as a proxy “health determinant” to be considered alongside data from the Office of National Statistics and the Association of Public Health Observatories.
9. Land Quality:
We refer you to point 10 of Q3 Part B above, with particular reference to the issue of the crossing of the salt marsh in the Ingestre/Tixall area and all that derives from it.
On a route wide basis, we presume that, on the operating railway, there will be an on-going need for vegetation control and that the use of chemical herbicides will be part of this. The persistent and regular use of herbicides (or, worse still, a spillage of concentrate) could result in contamination of nearby land and watercourses. While contamination from other sources (e.g. an oil leak from an auto-transformer or from the trains themselves) is mentioned, nothing is said about herbicide use.
10. Landscape and Visual:
While accepting that most landscape and visual effects are local, we would point out that the assessments are all made assuming a ground-based observer.
The section of the country through which the Proposed Phase 2a Scheme passes is essentially rural, with historic landscapes and an extensive number of heritage assets and estate parklands. This, combined with the absence of controlled flight zones associated with any civil or military airports in the area, makes this part of the the UK a hotspot for recreational air-borne activities. There is a proliferation of light aircraft clubs, hot-air ballooning and other enterprises offering: gliding, hang-gliding and micro-light opportunities for the enthusiast and public alike. There is absolutely no doubt that HS2, and the construction phase in particular, will create an enormous and unnatural linear scar in the landscape, visible for miles, that will seriously degrade the pleasure currently enjoyed by this group of people.
This degradation of the countryside from an aerial perspective will be substantial and will be on a route-wide basis. We believe that it warrants proper assessment in the final EIA.
NB: A more creative use of tunnels, instead of deep cuttings, would be an important mitigating measure, much as has been employed on Phase 1 in the Chilterns.
11. Major accidents and natural disasters:
We believe that the assessment (and the revised EIA EMR on which it is based) remains seriously deficient in terms of the recognition and treatment of accidents arising from human error, vandalism, sabotage, or terrorism etc; which, collectively, we would suggest, constitute the greatest risk of leading to a major accident.
Apart from a few brief references (e.g. of HS2 Ltd's commitment to cyber security at paragraph 11.3.4, or to the fact that a derailment may have multiple causes, including; “malicious intent or human error” at paragraph 11.4.6), the whole topic is firmly rooted in “operational failure or natural disaster” as the cause of major accidents. This includes extreme weather (storm, flood, temperature) and ground-related incidents (subsidence, landslide, earthquake) etc.
Unless “operational failure” is interpreted in its widest sense; i.e. issues such as inadequate security measures in respect of public access to trains and other railway facilities, poor training or inadequate psychological screening/background-checks of HS2 employees etc., count as “operational failures” (as well as e.g. a broken rail or a signalling failure etc.) then the whole class of incidents that arise from inappropriate human action (with or without malicious intent) will be excluded. This seems to be a major omission from the EIA.
Paragraph 11.6.3 cites examples of hazards external to the proposed scheme that lie within the construction zone or are crossed by the scheme. To the list should be added “oil pipelines” (e.g. the Thames-Mersey high pressure fuel-oil pipeline mentioned above in Q3 Part B (point 5 under map CT-05/06-212). Possibly also “chemical pipelines” if piped hazardous products, other than oil and gas, might exist in proximity to the Proposed Scheme.
NB: Water would normally be considered non-hazardous but a breach to a major confined water course (whether e.g. a dam or major culvert that is part of the national water supply network or of a canal or embankment-contained river etc) with the potential to suddenly release very large quantities of water, would certainly place water in the hazardous category.
The appraisal that leads to the conclusion that the Proposed Scheme will have major beneficial effects seems unduly biased.
We are not in a position to provide any robust evidence for this but to conclude that, on a route-wide basis, the Proposed Scheme has the potential to create 1,010 full-time equivalent new jobs during construction and 415 direct and indirect jobs during operation while sacrificing only 10 (5 as direct losses and 5 as indirect losses) seems unduly optimistic.
As noted at point 12 of Q3 part A above, we believe that indirect effects in Ingestre/Tixall alone could be significant, the magnitude being critically dependent on the impacts on and degree of assistance available to local businesses. In Ingestre and Tixall alone there is the potential for more than 10 job losses, which is a significant portion of the very small number of local job opportunities for our residents.
13. Sound, noise and vibration:
We concur that this is essentially a local issue and that any route-wide effects would be picked up in the route-wide health impact assessment.
14. Traffic and transport:
Local issues are addressed at point 14 of Q3 Part A but we would flag, in particular, the potential negative impacts, during construction, in the wider regional network, on emergency medical response times – especially journey times to Wolverhampton and Stoke-on-Trent.
There will be some local residents who commute to work or whose work involves travel in the wider area and who might be concerned about the route-wide impacts of construction. We do not have information on the numbers that may be affected.
When the Proposed Scheme is in operation, benefits will most likely be negative overall. Much will depend on whether the Handsacre link to the WCML is completed as part of Phase 1 or be cancelled, as has been much speculated since the announcement of Phase 2a. Even if it is not cancelled, an indicative service pattern, including the effects of released capacity on WCML, indicates that HS2 will provide only a single, hourly fast (non-stop) Classic Compatible service to London, from Stafford, saving 15-20 minutes, with most other local and regional rail services reduced in number and/or made slower stopping services. If the Handsacre link is abandoned and/or the present indicative once-per-hour stop at Stafford is dropped, then no benefits will accrue. We wait with interest the assessment that is promised in the formal EIA.
15. Waste and material resources:
We note the extensive work reported and are pleased to see that HS2 Ltd expect to be able to reuse 99% of all materials arising from the works in the construction and landscaping of the scheme with only 1% going to landfill. The 1% nevertheless amounts (in round figures) to 270,000 Tonnes.
The balance of over 25 million Tonnes of generated material will nevertheless require processing, transporting, storing and eventually distributing and integrating into the works. This is an horrendous exercise. At paragraph 15.6.3 it is nevertheless said that “There is expected to be a net shortfall in excavated material” so, we presume, there will be additional excavated material imported to the region to make up the shortfall. The expected level of the shortfall is not disclosed.
What is required but appears will not be disclosed until the formal EIA is published, is just how and over what routes, the various movements of materials will take place. Until this is known we are not really in a position to express a view on it. We request, however, that HS2 Ltd seek to engage with us at the earliest opportunity, before finalisation of the EIA, to discuss in detail their ideas regarding the movement of men/women, machines and materials in our area of CA2.
16. Water resources and flood risk:
Local issues are addressed at point 15 of Q3 Part A above.
On a route-wide basis, we can only emphasise the need for due diligence, especially with regard to the cumulative effects of all activities in the River Trent catchment area.
The low-lying areas of Ingestre and Tixall, though not having a history of flood inundation are nevertheless precariously located on the edge of the River Trent/River Sow flood-plains. We do not want to see any activity during the construction or operation of HS2 (taking into account the effects of climate change on the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events) that raises the risk of flooding by any amount above that which would have occurred naturally had the Proposed Scheme not been built. We wait with interest the assessment that is promised in the formal EIA.
Review of HS2 Ltd proposed viewpoints with suggested modifications