This is the formal response from Ecclesfield Conservation and Local History Group to the HS2 route proposals. It has been agreed and endorsed by the membership at the Group's January 2014 meeting.

Question iv: Do you agree or disagree with the Government's proposed route?

The Group disagrees with the route proposals because :

a) of the likely effects on ancient woodland, esp. Smithy Wood (which is specially protected, irreplaceable, cannot be mitigated effectively, has already been severed once by the construction of the M1. Any further fragmentation is totally unacceptable

b) of the likely effects on Hesley Wood Pit tip, which will significantly disrupt the successful and effective restoration and after use of the site to Public Open Space (following the forthcoming coal washing operations) .

c) the proposed embankment from Meadowhall will be visually and environmentally disruptive, especially as it will be 4km long and 22m high

d) of the likely significant fragmentation and damage to woodlands, hedgerows, water courses and public rights of way and cycle routes (especially but not exclusively the Trans Pennine Trail and the Sheffield Country Walk)

e) of the deleterious effect on the successful achievement of the River Don (East) Living Landscape Strategy

f) of the likely extent of diversions and disruption to Blackburn Brook, a significant watercourse which is important ecologically, is of good quality and recovering very well from previous pollution and disruption

These are significant impacts and many of them will be irreversible or impossible to mitigate effectively.

Question vii: Comments on the Appraisal of Sustainability for the Proposed Phase 2 route.

The Sustainability Appraisal is inadequate because:

a) the appraisal is only at a coarse level and is superficial

b) the assessment of alternative routes is not adequate

c) the ecological appraisal is only based on statutory sites and takes no account of locally listed sites

d) there has been no real attempt to engage with local communities

e) the additional impacts from the re-routing of current utilities have not been considered

f) the disruption from construction (for  up to 9 years) has not been considered

g) the likely disruption to local access arrangements (both during construction and/or afterwards) is not mentioned

h) the extent of any economic benefits to local communities is unclear and has most likely been overstated 

Please acknowledge the safe receipt of the Group's comments and note that we wish to continue to be involved in further consultation and discussions on the proposed route for HS2. Engagement with local community groups should and must be an important component part of any further continued development of this project.  

Ian Deans

Chairman, Ecclesfield Conservation and Local History Group