The Inland Waterways Association has welcomed the announcement by HS2 Ltd that two viaducts on Phase 2A of the new high speed line in the vicinity of the Trent & Mersey Canal in Staffordshire will be built to a lower height, resulting in reduced noise levels for people using the canal.
The change comes as a result of campaigning by IWA, which petitioned for the height of the route in this area, including the Kings Bromley viaduct, Bourne embankment and River Trent viaduct, to be reduced in order to limit the impact of noise on the canal. It would also reduce visual impact and construction costs. Staffordshire County Council and Lichfield District Council also petitioned on the issue.
HS2 Ltd published an evidence paper for the Government’s HS2 Select Committee which conceded that the heights of the viaducts could be reduced by up to 3.5m with landscape and visual benefits and a cost reduction of £3.3m. An agreement on these changes has been reported to the Select Committee.
IWA welcomes this news, not least as it demonstrates that active campaigning on the impact of HS2 on the waterways can be effective to bring about mitigation measures. IWA will now concentrate on producing evidence to the Select Committee on other outstanding issues, such as improving noise mitigation for all canal users at Fradley and Great Haywood.