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Ashton & Rochdale Canals: HS2 impacts

HS2: Ashton & Rochdale Canals


The latest HS2 Phase 2b Western Leg Design Refinement proposals affect the Ashton Canal and Rochdale Canal in Manchester.

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.

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HS2 Phase 2B affects 16 inland waterways, both canals and river navigations, in at least 22 locations, including three canal restoration schemes.

Manchester Piccadilly Station

The proposed major changes to increase the size of Manchester Piccadilly High Speed Station will bring it closer to the Aston Canal, with the Main Construction Compound extending right up to the Ashton Canal, and road closures and works in the surrounding area further affecting the Ashton Canal and the Rochdale Canal.

The consultation also acknowledges (at 2.75) that:

  • During the operation of the railway, it is likely that both options would have an impact on habitats within and around the Rochdale and Ashton Canals. Work will continue to minimise these impacts via design development and the inclusion of suitable mitigation.

There will also be impacts on the users of the canal during construction and operation. Although this is an urban area where a greater level of background noise is expected, any major increase due for example to pile driving or overnight construction works would impact on canal users generally, and in particular on the popular overnight moorings on the closest sections of both these canals.


The Main Compound adjoining the Ashton Canal off Store Street should have substantial noise fencing to protect canal users and the canal’s habitat. Other measures to limit construction and operational noise impacts on areas around the station should recognise canal users as ‘receptors’ in all noise assessments.

Campaign updates

Waterway underfunding

Hundreds of miles of waterways – along with their unique heritage and habitats – are currently starved of funding and rely on constant lobbying by us to safeguard their future.

Waterway restoration

Restoring the UK’s blue infrastructure – our inherited network of navigable canals and rivers – is good for people and places.

Waterway businesses

The government needs to intervene at the earliest possible opportunity to save this vital sector of the British economy and what could be a core element of the British stay-at-home leisure and holiday sectors in the coming years.

Waterways affected by HS2

We’re campaigning to protect canals and rivers from the damaging effects of HS2, especially where the tranquillity of the waterways is under threat.