Venue: Online via Webex
Contact: Joe Suffield Democratic Services
Apologies were received from Councillor Ted Richards, Councillor Diane Howell and Councillor Tim Hodgson.
Councillor Diane Howell was substituted by Councillor Paul Thomas. Councillor Tm Hodgson was substituted by Councillor Andy Hodgson.
Declarations of Interest
To receive notification of any declaration of pecuniary and/or conflict of interest from Members.
Councillor Adeyemo made a declaration of interest, on the basis he worked for a company on the panel of insurers in regards to the construction of HS2.
Questions and Deputations
To answer questions, if any, asked by any resident of the Borough pursuant to Standing Orders.
Requests to make deputations to the Board were received from Sheila Cooper, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England Warwickshire, Andrew Burrow and Richard Lloyd.
Sheila Cooper made a deputation on behalf of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England Warwickshire about the damage caused by the construction of HS2 on ancient woodland, ecosystems, ecology and biodiversity.
The Senior Engagement Manager for HS2 refuted the claim that HS2 environmental work was not undertaken to the highest possible standard, and instead they adhered to strict guidance, licensing and compliance measures, as well as the environmental minimum requirements as set out in the High Speed Rail Act. It was recognised that it was a large construction project which required vegetation clearance. In response to the monetary value of the project as mentioned in the deputation, a response would be circulated.
Also, the Senior Engagement Manager explained that there the Infrastructure and Projects Authority comments were in relation to a snapshot in September 2019. This was prior to the Oakervee Review, Major Projects Review Group and government assurances about HS2 Ltd capabilities, prior to notice to proceed. The preparatory work over the past 12 months had ensured that the cost and schedule estimates for Phase 1 were robust.
Sheila Cooper responded that a number of other organisations and committees had made similar comments to the Infrastructure and Projects Authority. The Senior Engagement Manager explained new HS2 board members had been recently appointed to strengthen the oversight of HS2 and to improve greater discipline to the project, as there was always room for improvement.
Richard Lloyd made a personal deputation which covered the following points:
· There had been a number of problems with information on footpath closures, inaccurate closure dates and no diversions had been provided.
· There was a lot of fencing erected by HS2 which was unnecessary and had disrupted wildlife, which had not been referred to in the environmental statement.
· There had been an increase of ragwort which could cause a number of problems if it spread.
· The footbridge over footpath M215 was unnecessary, and instead it could replicate the natural area with less restriction for the movement of wildlife.
· Quarry traffic did not use bridleway M218 and the gradient for the planned access road had a steep gradient.
· Requested that there was improved input on Schedule 4 applications and that Solihull Council influenced environmental and enforcement issues more stringently.
In response, the Senior Engagement Manager explained that HS2 used standard stock fencing in consultation with landowners and complied with environmental requirements. In relation to concern raised about the advanced diversion signage for the Heart of England public rights of way closure and the associated, it was requested that locations where signage was felt to be inadequate this should be raised with HS2 who would review.
The Community Engagement Lead for LM explained that the problem with ragwort would be addressed, there would be maintenance of the area in the future and spot checks of the sites.
The Group Delivery ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
To receive the minutes of the previous meeting held on 10th March 2020.
The minutes from the meeting held on 10th March 2020 were presented for approval.
Matters arising from the previous meeting:
The minutes from the meeting held on 10th March were approved as a correct record.
To provide an update on the current version of the Key Issues Tracker.
Updates were provided on the following items on the Key Issues Tracker by the Senior Engagement Manager for HS2. It was highlighted that a number of the items would be covered in the HS2 Programme Update.
The Traffic Manager provided an update on reference 18 – HS2 Road Safety Fund. This was a three phase approach, which started with an iRAP model to analyse potential future risk hotspots and included a traditional road traffic collision analysis over two years, both of which had been undertaken. The first element of the £2.345m award was due to go to the Decision Session for the Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Environment and Highways in September. This would look at a scheme in Hampton in Arden and Hodgetts Lane. Also, would look to introduce the commonplace portal to engage better with local communities.
To receive an update of the HS2 project from the Council’s Highway Services Division.
The Traffic Manager highlighted that there was the planned closure of the M42 between 7th until the 9th August 2020. The traffic would be diverted along the A45 and A452, and there would be measures to mitigate the impact on the network. It was noted that there would be localised traffic which would move off the strategic signed diversion route which could impact the local network. This would be tightly monitored.
The Board Members requested that the Schedule 4 Application Tracker included current and relevant applications.
To receive an update from HS2 Ltd.
The Engagement Manager for the Interchange Area for LM and the Senior Project Manager for LM provided the following update on the Interchange Area:
· There were three main works sites at the Interchange Area, to enable the network to be fit for purpose, both on the current road network and to create new routes on HS2 land. This would include the replacement of the roundabout outside Birmingham Business Park. Instead, a T junction and NEC Longabout would be created and a bridge over the A446.
· The M42 would be closed between Junction 7 and Junction 6 from the evening of the 7th August until the early morning of the 10th August. This would be to enable the bridge over the M42 to be moved into position. LM aimed to close the motorway for the shortest period of time possible and to minimise disruption. Diversions would be in place, free vehicle recovery would be on the diversion route, no major roadworks were scheduled to take place and there had been an extensive communications campaign. The Board were presented with further details about the bridge and other constructions works in the Interchange Area.
· It was planned to create another bridge over the A446 similar to that which would go over the M42. This was scheduled to take place over a weekend in October 2020.
· Traffic measures on the Northway Island, B4438, A452, A446 and M42 planned to continue until September 2020. This was as part of the Roundabout over the Trace bridges and highways development programme. The road network would be affected, however it would not all be at the same time and for different durations but HS2 would agree mitigation plans with SMBC to reduce any disruption.
· Members were encouraged to sign up to the HS2 in Solihull Commonplace (https://hs2insolihull.commonplace.is/) for up to date news on the scheme.
A Member asked how the bridge would be moved across onto the M42. The Senior Project Manager explained that it was built at the lowest height possible, it would then be moved to the height required to move it across and then the Self-Propelled Modular Transporters (SPMT’s) would be put into position to take the load. There would be a test move on the week commencing 3rd August 2020 and then a final decision would be made to agree to the move.
The Community Engagement Lead for LM and the Community Engagement Manager for LM provided the following update on the Green Corridor: