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National Trust issues HS2 warning

HS2 High Speed Rail

The National Trust has warned of the dangers of starting on the second phase of High Speed 2 too soon.

Chancellor George Osborne last year announced that the Birmingham to Crewe leg of the rapid rail link would open in 2027 – just a year after the first phase from London to Birmingham.

The rest of the second phase - from Crewe to Manchester; and from Birmingham to Leeds - is not expected to be operational until 2033.

National Trust senior project manager for HS2 Ben Middlemiss said in the latest edition of the conservation body’s magazine: “We’re now looking ahead to Phase 2A of the route, between Birmingham and Crewe.

“We’re concerned that the design stage of this phase is being rushed and that at places such as Shugborough Estate, Staffordshire, communities and wildlife could suffer as a result.”

A spokesman for project promoter HS2 Ltd said: “Designs for HS2 are not being rushed. They are being developed according to the published timescale.

”In the autumn we will begin public consultation on the latest design and supporting environmental information for the line between the West Midlands and Crewe. HS2 Ltd takes its responsibility to communities and the environment through which the line will pass extremely seriously.”

Jim Crawford, infrastructure managing director at HS2 Ltd, told New Civil Engineer last month that the teams selected for the big contracts to build the route from London to Birmingham would form an “HS2 framework” that could be the starting point for allocating work on the Birmingham to Crewe section of the line.

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