22 December 2020

The HS2 Phase 2b Western Leg Design Refinement proposals affect the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal in the Wimboldsley area north of Crewe. Plans would also impact the Ashton Canal and Rochdale Canal in Manchester.

We are working to protect all waterway routes from the project, regardless of their current navigation status, as well as from disruption during construction. As compensation for environmental and heritage damage, we are also campaigning for improvements to waterways as part of the works. We have previously proposed a review of the whole route of the Western Leg to integrate it with Northern Powerhouse Rail. The route needs to take better account of subsidence risks; the landscape, noise and heritage impacts on the Trent & Mersey Canal in the Dane valley north of Middlewich; and noise and visual impacts on the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal.

Shropshire Union Canal, Middlewich Branch

A rolling stock depot over about 4 km around Wimboldsley will affect the historic environment of the Middlewich Branch. This is in addition to three viaduct crossings of the canal between Park Farm and Yew Tree Farm. Users of the canal will be subject to construction and operational noise impacts of the depot. We want to see additional planted bunding in the plans, to help provide visual and noise screening in this area.

Three viaduct crossings are proposed along the Middlewich Branch in the latest plans. These will impact on woodland habitats as well as the tranquility and character of the area. The viaducts will also impact on the setting of the historic canal bridge, Hughes Bridge 25, which is Grade II Listed. We successfully lobbied for a balancing pond near Park Farm to be removed to allow for more screen planting of the railway, but more changes are needed. Adverse visual and noise impacts need to be mitigated by sympathetic design of the viaducts and provision of noise barriers. To protect waterway businesses, We are also pushing for any stoppages during construction to be minimised. Stoppages should be avoided completely between March and October. In addition, the moorings, which will be lost under the viaducts should be compensated.

The new Clive Green Lane Overbridge will be near the historic canal bridge, Clive Green Bridge 24. We want to see a design, which respects the architectural tradition of Shropshire Union Canal bridges. They should also provide a minimum 3m air draught clearance over the canal. We also want to see access to the canal towpath for pedestrians and cyclists from Clive Green Lane as part of the works.

Ashton Canal & Rochdale Canal

Proposed changes to increase the size of Manchester Piccadilly High Speed Station will bring it closer to the Ashton Canal. The main construction compound, road closures and works in the surrounding area will further affect the Ashton Canal and the Rochdale Canal.

We want to see canal users included in noise assessments. We will continue to campaign for substantial noise fencing here to protect users and waterway habitats.

Find out more about our HS2 campaign.


HS2 Phase 2B – Design Refinement Consultation Response



Waterways Affected by HS2