HS2 anger over plans to build pylons across Staffordshire beauty spot
Written by The Newsroom on June 11, 2019
The company behind the High Speed 2 railway line being built from London to Birmingham has come under fire for agreeing plans to build huge pylons across a Staffordshire beauty spot.
The high-voltage line is intended to run from just west of Newborough to the HS2 line near Stockwell Heath, across the Blithe Valley just south of the Blithbury Reservoir.
Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant has said he is “disappointed” that the HS2 Parliamentary Committee has approved plans to build the huge pylons as a cheaper alternative to underground cables – reports Birmingham Live .
The entire HS2 scheme has increasingly come under scrutiny for the amount it is costing the Government.
A suggestion that the astronomically expensive project could be scrapped drew angry responses from its supporters earlier this week.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss confirmed that the next Conservative leader and Prime Minister would consider whether to go ahead with the proposed £56bn rail network, which includes two new stations in Birmingham and Solihull.
Mr Fabricant is calling for buried power cables to support the railway line through Blithfield, arguing that they will preserve the natural beauty of the countryside.
(Image: HS2 Ltd and Chris Jackson/ Getty Images)
He said: “I am disappointed that the HS2 Parliamentary Committee has come out in favour of pylons as opposed to buried cables to provide power for the HS2 railway line at Blithfield.”
The MP added: “Given the cost of the railway is likely to be in the region of £100 billion, £65 million is neither here nor there.
“But with the cost and time over-run of Crossrail, I hope that a new Conservative Prime Minister may be chosen who shares my doubts about the whole viability of the HS2 programmme and will stop it in its tracks.”
In July 2018, Mr Fabricant branded the plans as an “further desecretion”.
He said at the time: “HS2 have just announced plans to erect a high voltage power line with massive metal pylons – not in their original plan – from just west of Newborough to the HS2 line near Stockwell Heath.
“This will be yet a further desecration of beautiful Staffordshire countryside by HS2 as the pylons will march across the Blithe Valley just south of the Blithbury Reservoir which is used for sailing and other recreation.”
The Committee published its report on June 7.
In making their decision, the Committee argued: “We accept that the proposal in AP2 for the siting of overground pylons between Parkgate and the Newland Auto Transformer Feeder station contained in AP2 is the best option for provision of electricity to the railway.
“The cost differential is £65 million.
“Although the area is rural in nature, it is an undulating landscape and so the pylons would appear at differing heights and thus not make a huge impact on the landscape.”
Birmingham MP Steve McCabe (Lab Selly Oak) was among those who were appalled at the suggestion that the Government might ditch the entire HS2 scheme.
Speaking earlier this week, he said: “This would be a real betrayal and evidence that the next Tory Leader whoever it may be can’t be trusted to look after the interests of our region.”