Latest HS2 report receives mixed reception

HS2 stock image PNL-161002-115346001
HS2 stock image PNL-161002-115346001

A report into the building of HS2 from the House of Lords has received a mixed reaction from Warwickshire county councillors.

The House of Lords HS2 Select Committee published its findings last week. The report noted the importance of the Kenilworth Greenway, but claimed HS2 Ltd’s proposals were ‘satisfactory’ in minimising the damage to it.

It also said the ‘like-for-like’ changes HS2 Ltd promised to Burton Green, such as replacing the village hall, had to happen. But they warned HS2 could not be expected to ‘micromanage’ the replacement.

The report also recommended to curb the government’s power to forcibly buy land by changing parts of Clause 48 of the HS2 Bill, and criticised some of its communication with people affected by the route.

The council’s deputy leader Cllr Peter Butlin was pleased with changes to Clause 48, but remained cautious.

He said: “We welcome the fact that the committee has acknowledged the difficulties faced by communities along the route and that last minute communications from HS2 Ltd is an unacceptable practice.

“Despite the comprehensive set of findings from the Lords, several questions remain unanswered until HS2’s contractors are appointed.

“Meanwhile, we are still being asked to accept certain matters on the basis of trust.”

Cllr John Whitehouse, the council’s Liberal Democrat lead on HS2, said: “I am pleased that the committee has specifically recognised the importance of Kenilworth Greenway to the community and the plight of Burton Green.”

The Bill is expected to pass into law in 2017, and work on HS2 is expected to start later that year.

Read the full report here.