Outdoor enthusiasts will be pleased to discover the proposed route of phase two of the HS2 high-speed rail network from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds - which was unveiled by the Government today - avoids the Peak District and Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
There is more good news for walkers with the Department for Transport revealing that HS2 Ltd, the company responsible for developing the high speed rail network, is taking steps to limit the impact of the route on the footpath network and other rights of way.
A sustainability appraisal commissioned by HS2 Ltd to consider the potential impact of the high-speed rail route on people and the environment has taken the ‘potential severance’ of long distance walking routes into account.
The sustainability report also confirms HS2 Ltd aims to ‘avoid stopping up existing rights of way’ where possible and to ‘maintain access across the railway through the on-going design of the scheme’ working with local communities, authorities and relevant organizations.
Protecting the rights of way network and the beauty of the countryside are important to us and we’ve been working with the Campaign to Protect Rural England and other conservation and environmental bodies as part of the Right Lines Charter to convince Government that they need to do high speed rail well.
We’ve met with ministers and officials from HS2 Ltd, and we’re glad that they seem to have addressed many of our concerns with the northern stretch of the HS2 route. We look forward to working with them and the Department for Transport to ensure that the places people walk are protected as much as possible in the final plans for HS2.
There are 150 footpaths affected by phase one of the HS2 project which runs from London to Birmingham. We are still waiting to see if HS2 Ltd have responded to our concerns and considered plans for bridges and underpasses for these affected fooptaths.
You can find out more about the paths affected by phase one on our HS2 route map below or read more about our position on HS2. For further details of the Government’s plans visit www.gov.uk.