An arm of London’s new high-speed rail link, HS2, is due to pass directly through Trafford and council and residents have until the end of the month to respond to the government over it.
The part of HS2 which will affect the borough is expected to feature an airport station at Hale Barns and a section of the road known as the Golborne Link which will pass over the River Bollin, through Warburton and Partington and up to Warrington – connecting Wigan and the West Coast Mainline.
Trafford Council, organizations and local people only have until Sunday March 31 to respond to the government’s environmental impact statement for HS2, which is expected to carry around 300,000 passengers a day.
The massive 33,000-page government document containing highly technical information outlines the likely impacts Trafford will experience as a result of the high-speed rail link.
The council would have employed 35 people, including two specialist consultants at a cost of around £31,000, to help them respond to the document.
Trafford council’s political party groups had until this week to present their views to council for consideration as part of their response.
Councilor Dan Jerrome, leader of Trafford’s Green Party group, said: ‘Many people in this borough will not know this important consultation is taking place. The board has told us that they will be a quality assurance partner in this program. This means that what we ask for now will set the parameters for what we can ask for in the future. The time frame is simply too short for most people to engage meaningfully.
“We have a chance to negotiate a good environmental settlement for Trafford. Although HS2 offers a greener travel option and frees up capacity on local routes, it comes at a huge cost. We want the construction phase, the airport station and the damage to our green spaces to be limited as well. This matter will come before the full Trafford Council meeting on Wednesday 23rd March and we will continue to work to find the best solution for Trafford residents.
Controversially, it is understood there is also an ongoing dispute over who will pay for Hale Barns Airport Station. The government and HS2 are supposed to not pay for this but instead Greater Manchester local councils including Trafford could end up footing the bill or business investment could be used instead but that hasn’t not yet agreed.
The airport station should be connected to the Metrolink network as well as other local rail networks.
The council’s executive passed a report at its last meeting agreeing to allow the council to become Trafford to become what is known as a ‘qualifying authority’ – allowing it to have a greater role in certain matters regarding HS2 in the borough, including the ability to approve design and construction issues.
The construction of HS2 already provides hundreds of thousands of jobs across the UK. Its construction has the potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions from existing rail and freight transport, but taking trucks off the road and encouraging more rail commuters.
Trafford Council’s response to the environmental impact statement is in draft form. The executive report says the response will likely focus on air quality, climate change, community, health, historic environment, sound and vibration, protection of resident and business equipment, traffic and transportation and flood risk, among other topics.
If this phase of HS2 goes through the required parliamentary processes, construction is expected to start in 2025 and last until 2035. Then the line will be tested between 2035 and 2040 and full operations are expected from 2040.
A spokesperson for HS2 said: ‘The extension of Britain’s high-speed, carbon-free railway to Manchester will support 17,500 jobs and free up capacity on the congested West Coast Mainline, providing connectivity benefits , reliability and journey time to passengers in Scotland, the North and the Midlands. HS2 also provides the infrastructure to deliver Northern Powerhouse Rail which will radically improve rail links between towns and cities in the North.
HS2 offers a number of property programs to help people whose property or land may be affected by the construction of the railway.
Affected owners have already been offered 1:1 meetings to brief them on the programs in place, and support is available all day, every day via the HS2 Helpdesk.
To respond to the public consultation, click here.
Relevant information on this phase of HS2 which affects Trafford will be published on a dedicated section of the council’s website, which can be viewed here.
For more information on HS2 at Trafford, click here.
READ MORE about Trafford’s issues on our MyTrafford page.
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