Quarterly reports on environmental impact, costs and progress

Part of High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:00 pm on 15th July 2019.

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Photo of Jeremy Lefroy Jeremy Lefroy Conservative, Stafford 6:00 pm, 15th July 2019

My hon. Friend is absolutely right, and I have had a number of similar cases. In fact I was about to refer to one involving a constituent of mine who does not mind being mentioned: Mr Jim Prenold has a farm that is bisected by HS2 and has been trying to negotiate a proper solution to the problem caused by HS2. After several years—it is now more than six years since the route was initially published—there is still no solution for Mr Prenold and his family. Again, I urge the Minister to instruct HS2 to sort this out. That can be done very easily and quickly, and with good will.

Let me return to a matter that has an impact on costs and is therefore relevant particularly to new clauses 1 and 4: the whole question of the reuse of soil from the line, about which my hon. Friend the Member for Stone is very knowledgeable. HS2 considers that it can reuse on the line something like 80% of the spoil from cuttings and other excavations. If that is the case, I welcome it, because it would cut down the number of lorry and truck movements required to take away the spoil and to bring in the new spoil needed for embankments and other works. But what we understand—this needs to be proven or disproven—is that the percentage of excavated soil that can be reused on the line is in many cases as low as 20% and possibly even less. Hon. Members can do the maths and understand that we are talking about hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of tonnes of spoil that have to be taken off site because they cannot be used on site, and which then have to be replaced by millions of tonnes of spoil for use on site. That has two major implications: cost, and impact on the transport network in our neck of the woods.

If my hon. Friend Jack Brereton were here, he would refer to junction 15 of the M6, which is already one of the most difficult junctions on the motorway network and needs to be remodelled. The number of truck movements through that junction will increase enormously if the figures about the use of spoil that are built into the provisions of this phase are not correct. The A51/A34 Stone roundabout would also be affected, because it is directly on one of the routes used by vehicles, as would many other parts of my constituency and the constituencies of my hon. Friends the Members for Stone and for Stoke-on-Trent South and the hon. Members for Stoke-on-Trent Central (Gareth Snell) and for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Paul Farrelly).