Council to petition HS2


Government plans for a high speed rail line through Northants will be petitioned by a number of local authorities.

Last week South Northants Council, a member of 51M a group of 19 local authorities committed to opposing HS2, voted to call for the Government’s select committee to change elements of the plan.

The council will ask the committee to consider noise standards, visual impact and intrusion, local design standards, construction issues and the height of the rail line following discussions with parish councils and local opposition groups. It will also petition on the specific isssue of the A43 fly-over at Brackley and the impact on the tranquility of the district at key locations.

Councillor Rupert Fordham, portfolio holder for economic development and regeneration, said: “It is really important that parliament is made aware of the impact of HS2 and the strength of feeling against it, and that if it proceeds there are realistic proposals of mitigation in place.

“We are committed to help local residents and businesses who will be affected by the planned route, and the petition will, we hope, go some way to help reduce the impact on so many peoples’ lives and livelihoods.”

SNC has ‘locus standi’ meaning it represents all of those affected within the district and will only petition on matters where it has a ‘reasonable’ chance of success to protect taxpayers.

So far the council has allocated £100,000 to its opposition of HS2. This money, pooled with funds from other members of 51M, paid for an independent technical and legal consultancy for the case against the plan.

Specifically the council’s petition calls for a drop in noise levels where noise mitigation is needed to take into account the greater increase in noise in rural areas. It also asks the government to look again at the ‘largely urban’ design of the scheme, recommending its rural surroundings are taken into account.

The council is asking for commitments on which roads would be used during the construction phase and the specific times compounds and construction sites would be accessed.

Finally concerns there is no height restriction for the proposals will be also be voiced, with the council asking for one to be put in place.

A second reading of the bill is likely to take place in late April or early May.