Caroline Spelman participated in a debate in the House of Commons to secure amendments to the High Speed Rail (HS2) Bill that would ensure greater mitigation and further safeguarding of local residents and their properties which are to be affected by the construction of HS2 in the Meriden constituency.
There is a very strong argument in support of the economic benefits of the HS2 project, which is forecast to create 104,000 more jobs in the West Midlands region. However, whilst there are many benefits that HS2 will bring to the regional economy, communities in Meriden constituency have raised their concerns over the project and the impact it will have on their lives – particularly during its construction.
For that reason, Caroline has been working with local residents, regional parish councils, Solihull Council, HS2 Ltd and colleagues in Parliament over a number of years to ensure fair compensation and the best possible deal for local people in Meriden constituency.
Through these discussion, Caroline, together with her colleagues in Parliament, were able to identify a number of possible solutions to address the concern raised by the various communities over the environmental and operational impact of HS2. In turn, they were then able to submit a number of appropriate amendments which, if implemented will help safeguard communities.
These amendments sought to ensure that;
- On issue of speed and noise limitation, those living alongside the line would be ensures better protected by guaranteeing that maximum peak noise levels do not exceed 60DB at any point further than 200m from the centre line of the railway.
- Designated HS2 contract and construction vehicles would be prohibited from entering certain communities or areas in order to help ease potential delays and disruption for motorists and local residents.
- Parish and town councils would have a greater say over the conditions within the localised planning application for HS2, to ensure they influence the design of infrastructure they will have to live with.
- That the Secretary of State intervenes to prevent Diddington Lane in Hampton in Arden to being used by motorists as an alternative route to the new station.
Prior to the debate, Caroline further raised a Point of Order with the Speaker of the House of Commons, in protest of the length of time set aside for the final Commons reading of the Bill. During this time, Caroline asked the Speaker of the House of Commons to ensure that when the Bill is scrutinized by the House of Lords, that it is afforded greater time and due consideration to help ensure that a satisfactory number of amendments can be considered.
For a full list of the amendments tabled against the HS2 Bill, please visit the UK Parliament website.
A full list of the adopted amendments to the HS2 (London-West Midlands) Bill, will be published online on Thursday 24th March 2016.