Community and environmental groups could be offered input in the design of bridges and viaducts along the side of the high speed rail network. The initiative will be discussed at green summit that rail minister Simon Burns is due to host. It will bring many conservation groups and officials together at Whitehall to talk over the £33.1 billion scheme.
The Government continues to hail the new High Speed Rail system as the ‘greenest high speed railway in the world’, but critics are concerned that it will destroy the green countryside as it is slowly put in. Critics are particularly concerned with the impact of placing large viaducts spread out across the route.
For instance, the historic North Yorkshire Church Fenton farming village will be affected byte line due to the fact that it lies around the rail network. Many key opponent groups such as the Campaign to Protect Rural England have been quite vocal about their opposition to the project and will also be attendance at the summit.
One key concession that could get both groups to see eye to eye is if the Design panel of engineers and architects do some studies to directly understand how the environmental impact of the viaducts could be lessened.
During the first stage of the consultation scheme the rail will be put in between London and Birmingham. In order to get the work started, there were a number of concessions made that included the amount of tunnelling that will be used. It was decided that 22.5 miles of tunnel would be used instead of miles. In addition, the amount of viaducts and embankments was shrunk down to just forty miles; this was an overall 20% reduction compared to the original planned use of viaducts along the route.