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High Speed Two

High Speed Two (HS2) is the government's project for a new high speed rail line.

HS2 through West Northamptonshire

High Speed Two (HS2) is a high speed rail network which will connect major cities in Britain. Phase One of HS2 will provide a dedicated high speed rail service between London and the West Midlands and is expected to be open between 2029 and 2033.

The route of Phase One passes through West Northamptonshire for a distance of 20.7km.

Further details of the route are available on the HS2 interactive map.

HS2 legislation

The HS2 Act has already granted deemed planning permission for the work to construct Phase One of the HS2 network and includes powers to: 

  • build and maintain HS2 and its associated works
  • compulsorily acquire interests in the land required
  • affect or change rights of way, including the stopping-up or diversion of highways and waterways (permanently or temporarily)
  • modify infrastructure belonging to statutory undertakers (such as utility companies)
  • carry out work on listed buildings and demolish buildings in conservation areas
  • carry out protective works to buildings and third-party infrastructure

The HS2 Act is available to view on The National Archives website.

Northamptonshire County Council and South Northamptonshire Council both petitioned parliament and following negotiations with High Speed Two Limited, a set of formal commitments called 'undertakings' or 'assurances' were agreed which must be delivered by the scheme.

These are all included in the register of undertakings and assurances.

The role of the council

The permission granted by the Act for the construction of the railway is subject to a number of conditions requiring High Speed Two Limited to obtain the consent of approval of Local Planning Authorities along the route for certain matters.

Schedule 17 submissions

Schedule 17 puts in place a process for the approval of certain matters relating to the design and construction of the railway. This requires that High Speed Two Limited must seek approval of these matters from the relevant authority.

These matters are:

  • building works (permanent, above-ground buildings)
  • other construction works (earthworks, road vehicle parks, screens, transformers, telecommunications masts, pedestrian accesses, fencing/walls, lighting)
  • matters ancillary to development (construction camps)
  • road transport routes (to be used by large goods vehicles)
  • bringing into use (to ensure that appropriate mitigation has been incorporated)
  • site restoration

Lorry route Schedule 17s

Approval by the Local Highway Authority (LHA) is required for construction routes where Large Goods Vehicles (LGV) (over 7.5 tonnes) movements exceed 24 a day (to or from the site). The consenting authority is the one where the items are being transported to or from.

As with planning Schedule 17s, there are limited reasons for refusal. However, conditions can be agreed with High Speed Two Limited on relevant grounds to:

  • preserve the local environment or local amenity
  • prevent and/or reduce the impact on road safety or free flow of traffic
  • preserve a site of archaeological, historic interest and nature conservation value

Schedule 4: temporary highways works

HS2 temporary works include road closures, alterations and diversion of any highway.

Examples of temporary works also includes:

  • temporary accesses
  • site access signing
  • details of traffic management
  • junction improvements

Temporary works are those in place for the duration of construction of the railway, which can be up to 10 years in some cases.

If these works were included within HS2 Act, then High Speed Two Limited/their contractors have to consult with us. 

If these temporary works were not in the deposited plans then they have to gain consent from us. We have 28 days to approve and we cannot unreasonably withhold consent.

The limited grounds are that we may have regard to road safety and free flow of traffic only. If we do not respond in the 28 days then the application is treated as being approved as submitted.

Schedule 4: permanent highways works

Examples of permanent highway works include new permanent accesses, construction or realignment of roads.

If these works were included within the HS2 Act then High Speed Two Limited/their contractors would need to seek approval within 28 days.  If not shown on deposited plans, then consent would be sought (within 28 days)

As with the temporary works, if we do not respond during the time period then it is treated as being approved/ granted. Again, we can object but only on grounds of local amenity, road safety or free flow of traffic.

HS2 Planning Forum

We attend the HS2 Planning Forum and its associated highway and heritage sub-groups which are independently chaired and attended by local authorities along the route.

Minutes and documents from the Planning Forum can be found on the HS2 Phase One Planning Forum pages.

Latest construction updates

High Speed Two Limited and their contractors are responsible for building the railway and keeping local residents informed through regular information events and advanced work notices. 

Details of what works are planned and are available on the HS2 website.

All queries and complaints relating to construction should be logged through the HS2 helpdesk.


We continue to engage with local residents, High Speed Two Limited and their contractors as well as adjoining local authorities. This will ensure the best outcomes are achieved for West Northamptonshire and that the impacts of construction are minimised as far as possible.

Last updated 06 July 2023