National Trust secures £1.5m fund from HS2 Ltd to enhance special Staffordshire landscape
The National Trust is pleased to welcome a number of commitments from HS2 Ltd in response to concerns raised by the conservation charity.
The commitments include establishing a group with a £1.5m fund for additional environmental enhancement measures in an area around the Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Staffordshire.
The commitments were given by HS2 Ltd after the National Trust raised concerns to Parliament about Phase 2a of the proposed railway and the potential impacts on the Shugborough Estate within the Cannock Chase AONB, and the surrounding area.
Dr Ingrid Samuel, Historic Environment Director for the National Trust, said “HS2 is planned to pass through an area in Staffordshire which encompasses nationally and locally important landscapes including the Cannock Chase AONB, Tixall and Ingestre Conservation areas, and a number of Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
“The successful integration of HS2, including the Great Haywood Viaduct, within this landscape requires careful consideration and is a key concern of the Trust. We are pleased HS2 Ltd has recognised the role that the Group has in achieving this important aim.”
The ‘Trent – Sow Parklands and Cannock Chase AONB HS2 Group’ - which includes Staffordshire County Council, Natural England and the Canal & River Trust – has been coordinated by the National Trust to assess the impact of HS2 on the area.
The commitment from HS2 Ltd to formally support the Group will also allow it to take this work further. For example, the Group will develop design principles which could be applied to HS2 works in the area, provide advice to HS2 Ltd on design and work in partnership to harness local knowledge.
As well as establishing the Group HS2 Ltd also provided commitments that solutions to limit noise from the Great Haywood Viaduct will continue to be explored and for further dialogue with the National Trust as the construction programme becomes clearer.
Andy Beer, Regional Director for the Midlands at the National Trust added: “Shugborough is an historic parkland estate of exceptional significance, enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. HS2 Ltd have a chance to ensure this precious and much loved place does not suffer damaging and permanent effects from the new railway and we will continue to play our part to ensure this happens. The commitments offered are a key step in the right direction.”
The hybrid Bill for Phase 2a, which will give HS2 Ltd the powers to construct and operate the railway, is now at Select Committee stage and the Trust had been preparing to present evidence about concerns to the MPs on the committee. Despite the progress noted above, there are other issues regarding this section of the railway which still need resolved and on which the committee will hear evidence over the coming months.
The National Trust has been engaging with HS2 for nearly a decade with 15 properties potentially affected by the operation and construction of the various phases of HS2.
For more information, contact Press.Office@nationaltrust.org.uk