2: Draft Environmental Statement for HS2 published
Yesterday HS2 Limited published the draft environmental statement for the HS2 project. The environmental statement provides details of the nascent design for the scheme along with the current thinking on the construction methods that will be used. It is also intended to assess the environmental impacts of the proposals and the measures that will be used to mitigate those impacts. The environmental statement assesses route wide impacts of the scheme but also provides area specific reports for each of the Community Forum Areas along the route.
In an unusual step, the environmental statement has been published in draft and is subject to a consultation process which started yesterday and will run until 11 July 2013. This provides a relatively short period of time for those considering the document to both digest its content and to comment on it.
It should be noted that whilst the provisions of the EIA Directive exempt development consent enacted in a Bill from complying, this only applies if the essential objectives of the Directive are nonetheless observed. Thus, HS2 Limited must undertake a full environmental impact assessment if future legal challenge is to be avoided (one of the grounds of the recent judicial reviews sought, unsuccessfully, to argue that it was unlawful for the Secretary of State to proceed by way of Hybrid Bill because of its unusual treatment under the Directive).
The draft environmental statement can be found in a dedicated consultation page on the HS2 website which you will find here.
In addition to the draft environmental statement HS2 Ltd have published a non-technical summary which is provided as an accessible summary of the findings in the main document. A draft code of construction practice for HS2 has also been published. This describes the construction standards and methodologies to which HS2 Ltd and its contractors will be expected to adhere.
Yesterday, on a busy day for HS2 news:
- The Department for Transport has launched a consultation concerning 14 significant ‘refinements’ to the HS2 route; and
- the National Audit Office has released a report reviewing the early programme preparation of High Speed 2, with some significant comments on the business case for the scheme.
Please visit again for upcoming comment from us on both of these publications.
17 May 2013