Bosses at the National Trust say current plans to build the HS2 high speed rail route close to historic Hardwick Hall are ‘wholly unacceptable’.
Denise Edwards, general manager at Hardwick Hall, said the route would cause ‘considerable harm on the historic landscape, local environment, business and communities around Hardwick’.
She was speaking after HS2 bosses revealed plans to go on the road as part of a public consultation into the proposed route of Phase 2b of the massive project.
The consultation launched yesterday marks a key stage for those impacted by Phase 2b, to respond formally to HS2 Ltd.
The National Trust has long recognised the consequences and effects of building and operating the railway near places in its care and has been engaging with HS2 Ltd over the last decade to ensure the wide ranging impacts of the railway are reduced.
Plans released yesterday appear to show significantly worsened construction and highway impacts at Hardwick in Derbyshire, where the route runs for 2.5km through the middle of the estate adjacent to the M1.
Denise said: “The current HS2 proposals near Hardwick are wholly unacceptable to the National Trust. They would impose considerable harm on the historic landscape, local environment, our business and the communities around Hardwick.
“We have put forward detailed mitigation proposals for Hardwick, to limit the impacts of the railway while creating opportunities for nature, people and the historic environment.
“I am disappointed that draft Environmental Statement in no way reflects our proposals or addresses the concerns which we have been raising with HS2 Ltd for many years. I hope this situation can be addressed in our ongoing engagement with HS2 Ltd.”
Ingrid Samuel, Historic Environment Director at the National Trust, said: “As the largest section of the High Speed 2 railway, Phase 2b has the potential to cause impact on large areas of the Midlands and North of England.
“The National Trust and many other communities and organisations have gone to great efforts to understand the implications and advise on solutions so it is disappointing to see that the plans laid out today do not yet appear to have taken our concerns on board.
“We recognise that designing the railway is a long process but I urge HS2 Ltd to really listen to those affected and take the required steps to ensure that this consultation is meaningful so that relevant amendments are made to the plans.
“If HS2 is to really be ‘more than a railway’ as has been stated, then HS2 Ltd has a lot more work to do for this ambition to become more than a strapline. We are committed to playing our part to help with this but HS2 Ltd has a responsibility to step up and lead the charge.”
An HS2 spokesperson said: “The Working Draft Environmental Statement we published yesterday sets out our commitment to minimising the impacts of the railway during construction and operation.
“HS2 Ltd has demonstrated its commitment to designing the scheme to be sympathetic to local context, environment and social setting. As work evolves we will seek to reduce harm to the historic environment and deliver a programme of heritage mitigation.
“We continue to work closely with the National Trust, and the team at Hardwick Hall and actively encourage them to respond to our public consultation. Feedback from the public consultations will play an important role in helping to shape the final designs for the railway.”