The impact of HS2 in Lichfield has been seen first hand by a group of MPs.
Members of the House of Commons HS2 Bill Committee visited the area as part of a fact-finding trip to the West Midlands.
Their visit included Hints, Flats Lane, Packington Moor Farm, Whittington Heath Golf Club, Cappers Lane Cruising Club, Streethay House Farm, Fradley Business Park, the Trent and Mersey Canal near Fradley Junction, Ashton Hayes and where the HS2 line will split to connect with the West Coast Main Line.
Chairman Robert Syms MP, Sir Peter Bottomley MP, Ian Mearns MP and Michael Thornton MP also met petitioners and were joined by House of Commons Clerks and officers from Lichfield District Council and Staffordshire County Council.
“The Committee took their work seriously and spent time observing the local geography and the impact the line will have on the area,” said Michael Fabricant MP. “They also had time to talk to locals.
“I accompanied them in their coach and was able to point out how the height of the line is so damaging to the Lichfield area. I made the bus stop on Darnford Lane at a high point so they could look down on Lichfield and the A38 and I explained the need for the line to go under the road and the railway line rather than over it.”
The issue of the impact the controversial high speed rail line could have was demonstrated by one of those the committee met.
Mr Fabricant explained: “An inspired visualisation was organised by a local farmer when we visited Streethay House Farm.
“To the amazement of the Committee, they flew a drone complete with GPS so that members could see for themselves the height of the line above the ground and then the height of the overhead train power lines over the fields. Several Committee members commented to me that it was one of the most effective demonstrations they have seen.
“With the weather being so sunny, Lichfield was shown off to its best and speaking with them afterwards, Committee members were left in no doubt as to how damaging the height of the line with all the necessary embankments, spoil dumps etc will have on the Lichfield environment and how this can be mitigated by tunnelling under the A38.
“The next steps are for the Committee to sit in Westminster and hear from the petitioners in a formal session unless HS2 agrees in advance to the petitioners’ requests.
“I believe that HS2 Limited might well agree to changes in the route that will protect the Trent & Mersey Canal, but engineering studies still need to be done to determine if they will agree to tunnel beneath the A38.”