ICE response to HS2 Phase 2b Western Leg design refinement consultation

This response sets out ICE’s views on the proposed design refinements to HS2. Please note that this response was finalised and submitted to HS2 before 11 December 2020.

  • Updated: 15 December 2020
  • Author: Emma Antrobus, Director, ICE North West

In principle, ICE supports the design refinements with some overarching observations:

  • This consultation has come at the wrong time. Design developments need to be progressed in conjunction with wider issues and rail announcements, specifically the Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) and Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR). Phasing these programmes ensures that the end solution meets the longer-term demands for the region and that the approach to delivery and commissioning is seamless.
  • Collaboration is vital throughout the design, construction and delivery of HS2. The regeneration benefits of HS2 are fundamental to its business case so lessons must be learned from previous projects, specifically:
    • whether the new proposals on number of platforms at stations are sufficiently future-proofed
    • whether station design has protected development considerations
    • if there is sufficient land-take for the land use opportunities around the assets to be maximised. Further land use opportunities mean that good community engagement will be even more important.
  • An Indicative Train Service Specification is required covering the HS2 network, NPR, the future capacity of the West Coast Mainline (WCML) and the total network serving south Manchester and northern Cheshire. This is needed to understand where future pinch points may occur, particularly on the tunnel section of HS2, and on WCML where the implications of freight served by Liverpool docks is a key element to the North West economy. There will also be a need to identify if specific services can no longer be run.
  • The net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target must be central to the second phase of HS2. The business case must demonstrate a sound whole-life carbon cost/benefit analysis for the scheme, alongside innovative low carbon construction methods.

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