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DfT considers measures to reduce ‘safeguarding’ controls around HS1

A public consultation to look into lifting development restrictions around the site of HS1 will be opened by the DfT on Monday.

The route, which was completed in 2007, runs between London St Pancras and the Channel Tunnel and is protected under planning regulations which stop development alongside or close to it due to its status as a ‘long-term infrastructure project’.

Though the measures, called ‘safeguarding’, don’t prevent development near large-scale schemes, it does stop access to the infrastructure to carry out developments.

Originally, large parts of HS1 were safeguarded to ensure that the line could be completed and run successfully. However, the DfT said that since the route opened, the need for the project to be safeguarded has reduced, and so the original planning controls do not need to be maintained at such a high level.  

The consultation will last for four weeks until 13 August 2017, and DfT say that the changes to be considered are reducing the safeguarding boundary next to the route from 60 metres to 30 metres, removing 53% of the existing land (equivalent to 14 square km) next to HS1 from safeguarding restrictions and retaining safeguarding restrictions for all tunnels along the route.

“HS1 has been a success story for 10 years now, providing a high-speed link between London and stations in continental Europe,” said rail minister Paul Maynard. “These proposed changes will have no effect on the high-speed service for passengers. They will simply reduce the restrictions on developments close to it.”

The final report on the consultation will be published within three months of the closing date for the consultation.

Top Image: HS1

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Sreevesjc   07/07/2017 at 13:03

One would assume that the remaining land offers enough space for quadrupling at a later date, at a sufficient distance from the running lines such that construction works do not affect the operational railway.

Mike Guerra   08/07/2017 at 08:25

By far the biggest problem with this change is the lack of maintenance facilities that would support a growth in traffic on HS1. With only Temple Mills and now no connection with HS2, there is currently only enough depot space to allow 10% of HS1 capacity. With the requirement for 400m trains the opportunity to build a sufficiently large depot within a short running time of St Pancras (so not congesting the line with stock movements) has already been eroded so that even if quadrupling was looked at there would be little point without the additional maintenance. With so much of the line underground between STP and Dagenham, the first opportunity to build anything sufficiently large is at the old Ford carpark, which was used as the London gritting salt store, and now will be used for housing. Then the line crosses the marches before diving under the Thames. I think the DfT (who were responsible for not vouchsafing enough depot space for HS1 in the first place) are failing to think long term, and so limiting the potential of HS1 to carry more traffic. Temple Mills is near capacity, and so even Eurostar will need to look at capacity elsewhere if they are to expand service post-Brexit.

Jerry Alderson   08/07/2017 at 17:48

As someone who has been a weekly Eurostar commuter at various times in my career, I have been seriously inconvenienced on a coupe of occasions. One was caused by an idiot Briton who decided to bring a WWII unexploded bomb n the boot of his car, an this was only discovered just as he arrived on the UK side, still fairly close to the Eurostar tracks. Result: delayed for three hours. When it was still on the third-rail network a garage with some gas canisters was located close to the line. A fire mean t that there was a change of an explosion. Result: no trains for 24 hours. Let's not create any excuses for closing HS1 because the DMZ is reduced.

Chris   09/07/2017 at 11:35

I've never seen that argument before Mike, only international services need to be 400m long for which there is both limited extra capacity and demand - an international service wouldn't necessarily need a depot this side of the Channel and it's hard to see a Eurostar competitor running enough extra services to justify one. There are however various options for stabling overnight for late arrivals/early departures.

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