Attending a half-day seminar on HS2 on Saturday 11th January organised by the Whittington & Fisherwick Parish Council and the Whittington and Lichfield District Stop HS2 Action Group, Michael Fabricant has echoed the message of the organisers: “It is essential that residents express their concern about the environmental effect of HS2 on our area and in particular the height of the line as it passes by Lichfield which should be lowered beneath the A38 and the West Coast Main Line.” says Michael. “The deadline for responses is 24th January – just a few days away – and residents should write as a matter of urgency to either the freepost address Freepost RTEC-AJUT-GGHH, HS2 Phase One Bill Environmental Statement, PO Box 70178, London WC1A 9HS or via email to HS2PhaseOneBillES@dialoguebydesign.com. It is important that you provide your full name and address.
“In my response to the Environmental Statement, I have taken a three-pronged approach. Firstly, I have pointed out the urgent need to lower the height of the HS2 line as it passes by Lichfield. Secondly, I have pointed out in a detailed critique why I believe the current route of HS2 is seriously flawed and is far more expensive and environmentally damaging than it might otherwise need be. And thirdly, I have indicated with that with others I will be putting forward an alternative route into and out of Birmingham that uses existing transport corridors and which will by by-pass Lichfield altogether.”
A copy of Michael Fabricant’s submission to the Environmental Consultation is reproduced below. “Residents concerned about HS2 can copy this information if they so wish” Michael adds.
MICHAEL FABRICANT’S LETTER:
In responding to the HS2 Phase One Environmental Statement, I say
1) With regard to the area around Lichfield District in Staffordshire, the current proposals contained within CFA22 are inadequate and unacceptable. I urge the Secretary of State and HS2 limited to implement the detailed mitigation proposed by Staffordshire County Council and as presented to the Secretary of State for Transport by me and others on 1st July 2013 at the Department for Transport.
In particular, the height of the HS2 line as it passes over the A38 and west coast main line immediately east of Lichfield is totally unacceptable and will cause environmental major damage visually, aurally, and by vibration in an historic area. One viaduct at Cappers Lane will be 4.5 storeys high and will be 215 metres long while another at Lichfield Road will be 3 storeys high and 850 metres long.
The line should be lowered by passing beneath the A38 and the west coast main line. The lowering of the line at that point will also benefit areas both to the south and to the north of Lichfield.
In addition, a number of storage compounds in the area, including one of 95 acres, will destroy previously unscarred areas of the countryside by the ancient City of Lichfield and the location of these need to be reconsidered.
2) More generally, HS2 is more environmentally damaging and less efficient than it might otherwise need be. The line as presently planned (a) is insensitively routed through previously unspoiled countryside unnecessarily damaging the environment including wildlife habits, ancient woodlands and waterways, (b) is far more costly than it need otherwise be because of the extra mitigation required to reduce some of the environmental damage arising from the current planned route, (c) does not use existing transport corridors unlike much of Phase 2 of the planned route and unlike similar lines in continental Europe which would reduce environmental damage and, therefore, constructions costs, (d) fails to connect to some existing major mainline stations, (e) fails to connect directly with which ever airport will be eventually chosen as the main airport hub for London and the south-east of England, (f) fails to connect, except via a slow freight line, with HS1and the continent and (g) fails to provides for sufficient public transport to disperse passengers arriving off HS2 trains at Euston.
3) Under separate cover, I plan to send you an alternative proposal for a route using existing transport corridors approaching Birmingham.