Full Council agrees to petition Government to gain the maximum benefits from HS2

20 May 2022

At Cheshire West and Chester Council’s full Council meeting on Thursday 19 May, Councillors voted to petition against the HS2 Phase 2b: High Speed Rail (Crewe – Manchester) Bill 2022. Petitioning against the Bill is the process to make sure the voices of residents are fully heard at national Government level. 

This is the biggest infrastructure project in a generation. The construction of HS2 Phase 2b will have a significant impact on the lives, communities and countryside of west Cheshire for many years. It is vital that the Council conducts continuing detailed scrutiny of HS2 to ensure that the impact on the Borough is as minimal as possible.

The Council will oppose the scheme in its present form, working with the Government consultants to reduce the impact on the borough of the construction and operation of HS2, including of any other associated buildings and infrastructure to ensure it does not unnecessarily harm the Cheshire countryside or create unnecessary blight on residents, businesses and recreational facilities. 

The Council’s priority measures required of HS2 include mitigation, community advocacy, maximising the opportunities for deriving economic benefit and employment opportunities for residents, maintaining traffic flow, ensuring community safety and holding HS2 Ltd to account during the construction phase. 

Petitioning before the House of Commons Select Committee if necessary is the process the Council can use to seek early-stage commitments from Government for additional measures to help offset the massive adverse impacts on local communities and businesses.  These impacts will include construction and operation of the HS2 high speed rail line as it passes through the borough in addition to the planned building and operation of the depot near Wimboldsley.

Councillor Karen Shore, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport said:

“Further consultation will now start with residents and businesses directly affected by the HS2 plans. At full Council we confirmed the intention to petition but not the details of the petition. Together we can provide a united position to protect the interests of the area.

“Submitting a petition is our opportunity to formally present the case to the Government and seek commitment for additional mitigation measures before the Bill becomes law as an Act of Parliament.

“We are working closely with other local authorities and will assess opportunities for collaboration and pooling of resources to maximise the region’s response to the Bill.

“Petitions may also be submitted by individuals, groups of individuals, or organisations directly affected by the Bill.” 

The Council supports the general principle of HS2, with the economic and environmental benefits it will bring. Petitioning against this Bill aims to influence decisions and to make sure the concerns of residents and businesses are heard at the highest level. 

Added Councillor Shore: 

“We need reassurance that certain measures will be put in place to help with the negative impacts on our communities, businesses, local services as well as on our natural and built environment. 

"We have been working closely with HS2 Limited, about these impacts in addition to helping ensure that maximum opportunities are made available to businesses and the local workforce.”

It is anticipated that the Bill could have its second reading in Parliament in early summer 2022, followed by a period of approximately 25 days for petitions to be submitted which could be before July 2022.

For details about how the borough will be affected plus questions and answers there is an HS2 page on the Council’s website:
www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/hs2.

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