Overview of High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) Phase 1, 2A & 2B

View over the lake towards the west front of the house at Claydon, Buckinghamshire.

The Government is developing a new national high speed rail network (HS2) connecting London to Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, the most significant transport infrastructure project in the UK since the building of the motorways.

Our project team, including rail engineering, landscape architecture and landscape planning experts, works with our regional consultancy and property teams to undertake thorough assessments of the potential impacts of the railway and it’s infrastructure on our places; promote improved treatments that benefit our places, the environment and communities affected; and, negotiate changes with statutory bodies, especially HS2 Ltd.

Phase 1 (London to Birmingham)

We have negotiated undertakings from the Secretary of State for Transport with regards to mitigating impacts on our places affected by Phase 1 of the route and these undertakings offer better protection for Hartwell House, Waddesdon Manor, Claydon House, Coombe Hill, West Wycombe Village and Bradenham in Buckinghamshire.

Following Royal Assent in 2017, HS2 are now entering further stages of design development. Our undertakings will ensure that the detail that emerges is right for our special places. We engage with HS2 Ltd and their contractors on technical matters such as archaeology, historic environment and ecology and we continue to feed into HS2’s Ecology Review Group. The Group monitors the effectiveness of the ecological mitigation provided by HS2 Ltd and has a role to assist in the delivery of ‘no net loss to biodiversity’ by scrutinising data and suggesting alternative sites where necessary.

We engage regularly with HS2 Ltd and their Main Works Contractors and Early Works Contractors. We are encouraging HS2 Ltd to design and build the railway to exemplary design and environmental standards and strongly believe that HS2 Ltd’s approach to the environment ought to be thorough and sympathetic.

Phase 2A (Birmingham to Crewe)

On 30 November 2015 the Government announced plans to create Phase 2A of the route from Birmingham to Crewe that would see this section built six years before the rest of Phase 2. 

Since then we have been working with experts to understand the impact of this section of the route on Shugborough. The route is due to pass less than 1km north of Shugborough on an elevated section, including the Great Haywood Viaduct. The route will be visible and audible from key points within Shugborough Park, which sits wholly in the Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding National Beauty. 

We have developed proposals to reduce the impact of HS2 on this area and have been negotiating with HS2 Ltd to ensure these are included in the plans for the railway. On 14 May 2018 we reached agreement with HS2 Ltd on this, which included securing funding for additional mitigation measures in and around the Cannock Chase AONB. Further detail can be seen in the below article ‘More success in HS2 negotiations for our places’.

Phase 2B (Birmingham and Crewe to Leeds and Manchester)

On 17 July 2013 the Government launched a consultation for the proposed route for Phase 2b of the high speed line, linking Birmingham with both Manchester and Leeds.

We are deeply concerned about the impacts of the route chosen for the line up to Leeds where it passes through the Hardwick Estate near Chesterfield, Derbyshire. We are also concerned about potential impacts on Nostell Priory near Wakefield, on Dunham Massey near Altrincham and Tatton Park near Knutsford. There could also be impacts on Calke Abbey and Staunton Harold Church.

We are working to develop our understanding of the vulnerabilities of these special places and the potential impacts of the scheme based on what we have learned from Phase 1 and 2A.

In December 2018 we submitted our largest ever consultation response to the Phase 2b Working Draft Environmental Statement consultation. This response included detailed comments about impacts at Hardwick, Nostell, Dunham Massey, Tatton Park, and on route wide HS2 policies such as their Green Corridor Strategy. A summary of our response can be found in the below article ‘Our Response to major Phase 2b HS2 consultation’.

In September 2019 we responded to HS2’s Design Refinement Consultation which included proposals for interaction with Northern Powerhouse Rail. A summary of our response can be found in our Autumn update article linked below.