Revised plans have been revealed for the HS2 line in the Canley Brook area near Kenilworth.
The design changes, developed by HS2’s main works contractor Balfour Beatty Vinci (BBV) with its Design JV partners, mean that the railway will travel in a slightly shallower and longer cutting in this area.
This means that a viaduct can be built over Canley Brook, so it will only need a 80 metre diversion rather than the 700 metres in the original design.
HS2 said they hope it will, in its words, 'significantly reduce environmental impacts and avoid a major realignment of a local river, preserving the home of protected wildlife such as otters and bats'.
HS2 has come under much criticism for the damage it has done to the local wildlife and the Courier and Weekly News has published many articles on the many trees, habitats and woodlands it has knocked down, in order to build the high speed line through Warwickshire.
Designers have tried to rebuild habitats where they can - with varying degrees of success and failure - and they hope to create a wetland habitat either side of the realigned section of Canley Brook, as well as additional woodland, hedgerow and grassland habitat on both sides of Crackley Road Cutting.
Kay Hughes, HS2’s design director said: “As we continue design development of the railway and the areas around it, our designers and engineers are continually looking to optimise the best solution to benefit communities and the environment wherever possible.
"We’re pleased that these significant improvements to more effectively blend the railway into this valley in the Kenilworth area means that Canley Brook will remain in its existing position. This will minimise impacts on woodland, create wetland habitats and reduce construction work, which means a lower carbon footprint for the project.”
Grant Sharman, Landscape Architect from the Design Joint Venture said: “An important part of the design approach is collaboration between engineering and environmental disciplines, ensuring the engineering design responds to environmental drivers. The reduction to the river diversion has enabled an improved landscape and ecological response within the landscape setting.
“The landscape design includes enhanced earthworks providing better integration with existing landforms and increased land returned to agriculture. There are opportunities within the detailed design to refine earthworks, improve field patterns, acknowledge woodland structure and improve watercourse habitat diversification.”
Local people will have an opportunity to find out more about the revised plans at a webinar led by BBV’s community engagement team. Registration is here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/hs2-bbv-canley-brook-design-update-webinar-tickets-143073074417