The HS2 rail network and our waterways

 Canal and River Trust

Britain’s canals and rivers are experiencing a new renaissance, thanks to significant public and private investment and the effort of countless volunteers. However, the proposed route of the High Speed Rail Network (HS2) will change the waterway landscape forever, affecting 17 canals, three river navigations and four waterways planned for restoration. It poses a real threat to the future use and enjoyment of the waterways.

With our responsibility as the guardian and champion of the waterways comes the duty to rigorously and robustly protect and promote their interests. In that capacity, we have responded to the Government’s recent consultation on Phases 1, 2a and 2b of its plans to develop Britain’s transport infrastructure by constructing the High Speed Two rail line (HS2).

In the past our canals and waterways formed a fundamental part of our transport infrastructure. Today as well as providing strategic sustainable transport routes, they are important for leisure, recreation and tourism.  Much of the network dates back to the 18th century, and the Trust today cares for the third largest collection of listed buildings in the country.

Phase 1 (London to West Midlands) of HS2 now has Royal Assent and is due to start construction later in 2017. Phase 2a (West Midlands to Crewe) and 2b (Crewe to Manchester, West Midlands to Leeds) are currently in the consultation phase.

For further information please refer to the HS2 website

We recognise that new transport networks have always interconnected, just as Britain’s canal network did more than 200 years ago. However, the proposed route of Phase 2b crosses our historic waterways at various locations and we are seeking realignment to prevent this. We are also seeking to ensure that design and construction is carried out in a sympathetic and complementary manner.

The proposed route of Phase 2b includes potentially detrimental impacts if design and construction is not carried out in a sympathetic and complementary manner.  We have spelled out our concerns in detail in our consultation response, which you can read here – Canal & River Trust consultation response 

Where will HS2 intersect with the canals?

The following map of the UK shows the points at which the proposed HS2 route will intersect with canals.

Map of HS2

Last date edited: 7 April 2017