Following the Government’s announcement that the High Speed Rail project HS2 will now go ahead, the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) confirms that it will continue its decade-long campaign to protect the waterways from the worst effects of its construction and operation.
IWA has achieved several changes to the project since 2010 but continues to be concerned about its noise impacts on many waterways and potential damaging effects on some canal restoration schemes.
In 2014, the IWS persuaded the Government to change the route of the Handsacre Link spur near Lichfield to avoid two crossings of the Trent & Mersey Canal which may have caused environmental damage as well as disturb the tranquillity and heritage of the canal around Woodend Lock above Fradley Junction.
Working in conjunction with Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust, Lichfield Cruising Club and Canal & River Trust, IWA also secured assurances that HS2 will build a canal diversion and fund a replacement moorings basin at Cappers Lane in Lichfield when the bridge there is demolished for an HS2 viaduct.
Other changes IWA has campaigned for include lowering the height of the viaducts around Kings Bromley, additional noise fencing at Fradley and Great Haywood, and improvements to the design of the viaduct over the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal at Curdworth.
“Whilst many of these issues have affected the Lichfield area, IWA has also campaigned nationally by responding to the many consultations, attending exhibitions, meeting HS2 engineers and liaising with construction contractors,” says Phil Sharpe, IWA Lichfield Branch Chairman and a member of IWA’s Planning Advisory Panel. “IWA has petitioned Parliament three times and given evidence to both House of Commons and Lords Select Committees on a range of issues including the need for better noise protection at all the locations where HS2 crosses or runs close to waterways.
“Keeping up with HS2 by reading all the reports and examining all the relevant plans has been a massive undertaking but we will continue to engage with all the HS2 public consultations and to campaign for better protection for the precious environment of our navigable and restorable waterways.”