Today (24 October 2013) I am publishing the command paper ‘The government response to the design refinement consultation: decisions and Safeguarding Directions for Northolt and Bromford’. This document sets out the decisions to tunnel the HS2 Phase One route at Northolt and Bromford, in light of the responses to the May 2013 design refinement consultation, and the decision to re-issue Safeguarding Directions for the Phase One route to reflect these additional tunnels.
In July 2013, following consultation, the Secretary of State for Transport issued Safeguarding Directions to local planning authorities (LPAs) along most of the route of Phase One of HS2, between London and the West Midlands. Safeguarding Directions protect the route of HS2 from conflicting development. At that time we were consulting separately on fourteen design refinements on the Phase One route. In particular, the Secretary of State for Transport proposed that there should be bored tunnels rather than a surface route at both Northolt and Bromford. As the nature of safeguarding in these areas would be very different depending on the option chosen it was decided to delay safeguarding these areas until the Secretary of State had reached the final decisions on the tunnel proposals following consultation.
Following careful consideration of the responses to the consultation, I can confirm the proposed changes to replace the surface sections of track at Northolt and Bromford with bored tunnels. In these locations tunnels are appropriate on the basis of cost, risk and environmental effects.
We are taking these decisions now in order to provide certainty to property owners in these areas as soon as practicable. Decisions on the remaining 12 refinements to the route will be published soon.
The purpose of safeguarding is not to prevent development along the route of HS2, but to ensure that any development that does take place is consistent with our plans for the railway. LPAs to whom Safeguarding Directions apply are required to consult HS2 Ltd on new planning applications in respect of land that is within the safeguarded area.
Safeguarding is also a trigger for statutory blight procedures under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. We do not expect that many properties within the newly safeguarded area will be required for construction of the railway because the route will be in tunnel. However, some land on the surface is affected, particularly for construction purposes, and owners of this land may be able to take advantage of the statutory blight provisions.
The command paper, The government response to the design refinement consultation: decisions and Safeguarding Directions for Northolt and Bromford, is available on GOV.UK.
Copies of the command paper are available in the House library.