High Speed 2 rail link, London to Birmingham and Scotland

ClientDepartment for Transport
Key PersonnelTony Clothier, Guy Laister, Fiona Parry, Nicholas Moult Project
Project typeAppraisal of Sustainability in Flood Risk and Water Resources for route options
SkillsetFlood Risk Assessment, hydrological modelling, hydraulic processes, Geo-hydraulic processes, Appraisal of Impacts on Ground Water Resources, Appraisal of Impacts on Surface Water Resources, local and international laws relating to water, GIS mapping and presentation
StatusOngoing, in consultation

Water Environment Limited was engaged as a specialist sub-consultant to Temple Group for the appraisal of route options for the High Speed Rail link to Birmingham. The client was the Department for Transport.

The proposed link between London and Birmingham crosses approximately 50 main rivers and passes through several major Groundwater Source Protection Zones of major strategic aquifers for the supply of water in the Thames Valley. The nature of the high-speed line places severe limitations on changes in vertical and horizontal track alignment, and consequently it was not possible to avoid these features completely.

We were required to consider the impacts of the proposed high-speed railway line on the rivers, lakes and strategic aquifers, with a view to identifying the route with the lowest impact and therefore most sustainable solution. A quantifiable means of measuring the impacts was designed and route options were measured and appraised on the basis of these measurements. This required a detailed understanding of current and emerging legislation for water resources and flood risk such as the emerging EU Water Framework Directive and PPS25, as well as a comprehensive understanding of the hydrological, geo-hydrological, and physical processes which determine the physical impact on rivers and aquifers.

The Appraisal of Sustainability is currently being considered by the Department for Transport, with a view to public consultation in Autumn 2010. Water Environment will be required to respond to any queries and suggestions which may arise out of this process.