Responding to Consultations
The City Council is a Statutory consultee and as such we respond formally to all HS2 consultations. So far we have responded to:
- The national consultation on the principles of the Y-shaped HS2 network, and the detailed proposals for the London to Birmingham section of the route, in July 2011;
- The consultation on the scope and methodology for the Environmental Impact Assessment in May 2012; and
- The Safeguarding and Property Compensation Consultations in January 2013.
We’re expecting to be responding to further consultations in future including:
- The draft Environmental Statement for the Birmingham to London route in Spring 2013; and
- The national consultation on Phase 2 when this is launched in 2014, though the proposals don’t directly affect Birmingham there are potential wider implications in terms of our connectivity to northern cities, which is just as important as connections to London.
On 4 April 2012 HS2 Ltd published the ‘HS2 London to West Midlands EIA Scope and Methodology Report’. The report was subject to public consultation.
A detailed appraisal of the technical elements of the proposed EIA scope and methodology was carried out and the City Council submitted a response to HS2 Ltd on 31 May 2012.
On 25 October 2012 Patrick McLoughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport, announced the launch of two consultations related to the HS2 route between London and the West Midlands; one on Property Compensation and another on Safeguarding. These consultations closed on 31 January 2013.
The Property Compensation Consultation set out the Government’s proposed package of measures for owners and occupiers of property along the HS2 route between London and the West Midlands. The Government considers its proposals to include:
- a streamlined system of advanced and voluntary purchase to simplify the process for property owners in the safeguarded area and provide greater certainty for those property owners outside the safeguarded area in rural areas;
- a sale and rent back scheme, to allow homeowners whose property will need to be demolished to sell their homes but remain living in them as tenants until the properties are required for the railway;
- a hardship scheme, to help those with a need to move during the development of HS2 but who are unable to sell their home despite being outside both the safeguarded area and the voluntary purchase zone;
- a series of measures designed to provide confidence for those in properties above tunnels (before and after surveys, settlement deeds and subsoil rights); and
- a framework for working with local authorities, housing associations and tenants affected by HS2, to agree a joint strategy to replace any social rented housing which is lost.
Safeguarding directions are intended to protect the line of route from conflicting developments and are an established practice for large infrastructure projects. The Safeguarding Consultation is aimed primarily at local planning authorities along the line of route, who will be aware of relevant planning issues in their areas and to whom the directions would apply.
The City Council submitted responses to both consultations which were approved by the Cabinet in January 2013 after extensive internal consultation and with input from Councillors. Copies of the consultation responses are available from Democracy in Birmingham (please use the meeting search function, change “meeting body type” to “Executive (Current)”, change “meeting body” to “Cabinet” and enter 14/01/2013 into both date fields).
Following completion of the EIA process, HS2 Ltd intends to consult on an HS2 Environmental Statement in Spring 2013.
The Environmental Statement should describe in detail the environmental, social and economic impacts associated with the proposed HS2 scheme for the route between London and the West Midlands. It should also set out the measures to avoid, reduce or remedy any significant adverse effects generated by the scheme.
This will also include consultation on the Code of Construction practice which will explain how the HS2 Ltd will develop the line in a way that builds on the best practice established by recent large infrastructure projects, and will follow those practices at the time construction starts – currently planned for 2017.
The Draft Code will be in two parts. The first will contain the standards that must be adhered to on all sites along the route to reduce the impact on the neighbouring communities and the natural environment. The second part of the draft Code will contain tailored local plans developed in association with local authorities and statutory bodies like English Heritage and the Environment Agency and will enable contractors to work with local communities to minimise disruption.
Phase 2 Exceptional Hardship Scheme Consultation
Alongside the Phase Two announcement on 28 January 2013, the Government has launched a consultation on the Exceptional Hardship Scheme for Leeds, Manchester and the proposed Heathrow spur. The scheme aims to assist eligible residential and small business owner-occupiers whose property value may be affected by the initial preferred route options for Phase Two of the network. These proposals do not affect Birmingham.