Yorkshire protesters 'could change HS2 route'

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Image caption,
Protesters are campaigning against a proposed 40ft (12m) high viaduct in Woodlesford

A director of the HS2 rail project has said the proposed route could be changed if protesters make a strong enough case.

Ian Jordan said that the planned route was "by no means a forgone conclusion".

Mr Jordan is visiting Leeds to talk to home and business owners who claim they will be affected by the £40bn rail scheme.

One campaigner against HS2 said he was "very sceptical" about whether the route would be altered.

Mr Jordan, who is the project director for the Leeds and Manchester sections of the route, said that changes might be made after the consultation process was finished.

He said: "We will reflect and advise the secretary of state whether there are ways in which we can improve what we are currently proposing.

"We'll be open to doing things better, if we find ways of doing things better and that might mean making changes to the route."

Woodlesford resident James Lynch's home is next to a proposed 40ft (12m) high viaduct.

'Difficult to believe'

He was due to meet Mr Jordan as a member of the protest group Swillington, Oulton, Woodlesford, HS2 Action Together (SOWHAT) but said he was very sceptical about route changes.

He claimed that consultations on the HS1 route in southern England produced few alterations.

"The experience of people on phase one is that they ask for changes and mitigation and very little is done.

"There's not been a single mile of proper tunnel built outside London apart from a few miles within the Chilterns in phase one.

"The idea that HS2 will suddenly change the route I find a little difficult to believe."

SOWHAT is campaigning to have the route moved to follow the region's existing railway lines and motorways.

HS2 is designed to carry trains running at 250 mph (402 km) from London to Leeds and Manchester via Birmingham.

The proposed line from Birmingham to Leeds is expected to open in 2032-33.

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