Press Release: High Speed Rail - Grand projet with the devil in the detail

Route of High Speed Rail 2

Government plans for a high speed rail network across England risk being decided without understanding the local impact on townscape, heritage, open space and footpaths which should shape the design speed and route from the outset.

This is the message from Civic Voice following debate among dozens of local voluntary civic societies along the possible route between London and Birmingham.

In a briefing – HS2 – is it making civic sense? – published today (Thursday 19 August) Civic Voice is asking the Government to address the local impacts of the development in choosing where and how fast trains should be travelling and not leave them till after all the major decisions have been made.

Tony Burton, Civic Voice’s Director, said “Decisions over a major new high speed rail route should not be made without a full audit of the cumulative impact on undesignated townscape, landscape, heritage, wildlife, buildings and the rights of way network.

“The Government has promised to put more power into the hands of local communities who feel threatened by major infrastructure and remote decision making. Civic Voice believes key decisions – such as the design speed of the line – should reflect the sensitivity of the frequently intimate landscapes and townscapes through which it passes.”

Civic Voice is also urging investment in high speed rail to support urban regeneration, shift travel patterns from road and air to rail and provide direct links through to the continent.

A copy of the press release is available here

A copy of the briefing is available here

More information on the High Speed Rail campaign is available here


Civic Voice works to make the places where everyone lives more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive. We speak up for civic societies and local communities across England. We promote civic pride. We are the new national charity for the civic movement and have a strong local presence. We believe everyone has the right to live somewhere they can be proud of. We know how people feel about places because we feel the same way. Civic societies are the most numerous participants in the planning system. Since its launch in April 2010 Civic Voice has been joined by over 250 civic societies with more than 65,000 members. Over 35 civic societies are involved in the debate over the high speed rail route between London and Birmingham. Further information is available at including how to join Civic Voice (£10 individuals) and contact details for local civic societies. More information on Civic Voice’s campaigns is available on our website at


Tony Burton, Director, Civic Voice (m) 07810 657729 (t) 020 7981 2881
Ian Harvey, Co-ordinator, Civic Voice (m) 07877 096968 (t) 0151 708 9920