Concerns raised over proposed HS2 route

It is a positive development that the HS2 proposals show that there will be links through Yorkshire that will bring economic growth in the area and jobs to local people.

However, I do have grave reservations about the exact alignment and route of the proposals.

The plans show that the proposed rail link alignment is in such close proximity to Cold Heindley Reservoir and Wintersett Reservoir that urgent questions need to be asked about the impact on an area with such outstanding beauty that is enjoyed by so many. Even though the new HS2 route will not become fully operational until 2033, the publication of the proposed HS2 route plans will result in uncertainty for many local communities and the forthcoming period will create issues of blight for those who live and own property in the affected areas.

The impact of the published plans is already being felt in my constituency and in many other communities along the proposed route and I know there will be many people within my constituency who are deeply concerned by the proposals.

I was surprised to learn that a significant part of the HS2 planned route is within my constituency as I had no knowledge of this in advance and the Secretary of State for Transport made no effort to contact me about the proposed alignment and route. Indeed, the first time I heard of the proposals was after the Minister’s statement in the House.

From the details of the route published (please see the link provided below) it is clear that a node (marked M on the attached map) is situated in my constituency but as it stands neither I nor my constituents have any further information regarding the nature of this feature.

Immediately following the announcement of the Government’s proposals, I have been in touch with the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Chairman, Councillor James Lewis and local residents to hear their concerns. I have now written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin in order to gain clarification as to details of consultation and also any compensation for properties which may be blighted by today’s announcement.

The proposed route map can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/hs2-phase-two-initial-preferred-route-plan-and-profile-maps#route-map-west-midlands-to-leeds

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