HS2 Phase 2b: Crewe – Manchester Environmental Statement Consultation

20th April 2022

CPRE’s view: improving the existing network is a higher priority than building new high speed rail

The Government has introduced a Bill into Parliament to seek authorisation for the construction and operation of a new high speed railway, as part of the HS2 network between Crewe and Manchester. As part of the supporting material an Environmental Statement has been prepared and published in accordance with Parliamentary rules. CPRE responded to the recent consultation on HS2 Phase 2b: Crewe to Manchester Environmental Statement consultation by the end of March deadline.

As a long-standing countryside champion CPRE agree that electrification of rail is important and the most efficient means of mass transportation. Although CPRE is supportive of strategic investment in rail, CPRE has consistently flagged problems with HS2 and environmental impacts including, among other critical issues, harm to tranquillity, landscape character, visual amenity, and ecology.

HS2 planning notice on bridge 176 on the Trent and Mersey canal warning of closure of the towpath | Becca Nelson

Too many rail services on the network of northern towns and cities are diesel and a priority for levelling up must be to improve the existing conventional rail system. CPRE has repeatedly urged the Government to increase investment in strategic rail to tackle unsustainable car travel dominance and its associated negative impacts, such as greenhouse gas emission, congestion, air, and noise pollution leading to high incidence of respiratory disease and early death.

Previously CPRE queried why alternative options including investing in the existing rail network with less environmental harm than that associated with Phase 2b: Crewe to Manchester route, stations, and other associated development in rural areas, therefore, CPRE remains opposed to HS2 Phase 2b.

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Whatcroft: site of proposed HS2 viaduct Becca Nelson