Barnaby Briggs (Assistant Chief Fire Officer) introduced the report which followed on from the verbal update provided at the previous meeting of the Committee. Since the publication of the report, Barnaby Briggs was able to provide an update in respect of the proposed locations of the larger construction compounds in the County. These included sites at: (i) Kingsbury; (ii) on the M6 loop road, close to Coleshill Heath Road; (iii) the M6, close to the location of the new railway station; (iv) Kenilworth (A46); (v) Fosse Way, near to Offchurch/Welsh Road; and (vi) Long Itchington Way (Southam Tunnel).
Barnaby Briggs reported that Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service (WFRS) had provided support to Warwickshire Police during protests at Crackley, near Kenilworth. He emphasised that this was to enable access for police officers; WFRS did not participate in law enforcement activities.
In response to Councillor Cooke, Barnaby Briggs reported that HS2 Ltd. had communicated effectively with WFRS when temporary road closures were proposed. A WCC / HS2 Traffic Liaison Group (TLG) had been established to consolidate channels of communication. He advised that arrangements were in place whereby WFRS could utilise construction access routes on closed sections of highway if required, rather than face the prospect of lengthy diversions and the resultant effect on response times.
Councillor Reilly praised the response of WFRS to challenges posed by the HS2 scheme. He emphasised that the scale of the project was unprecedented, and that the construction phase of the scheme would set a rapidly evolving process in motion; the impact this will have on WFRS should be acknowledged.
Councillor Reilly advised that work was ongoing to examine the community safety impact of HS2. This included development of a dedicated Community Safety Strategic Assessment to consider the wider challenges of HS2, including its impact on the highway network, the effect on emergency services, and the implications of recent protests.
Councillor Kaur commented that she had witnessed protests in opposition to the HS2 scheme at Weston under Wetherley which had resulted in protesters straying into the highway, posing a safety risk. Barnaby Briggs advised that, although HS2 held responsibility for the security of their sites, instances of demonstrations ‘spilling over’ would need to be monitored by the emergency services.
Councillor Boad stated that HS2 was a contentious issue, attracting widespread opposition from residents. She commented that the construction phase would be in operation for many years, placing a burden on WFRS and local communities. She requested that WFRS continue to provide regular updates to the Committee.
The Chair indicated his agreement and requested that WFRS apprise the Committee of ongoing developments to be scheduled at future meetings.
Councillor Reilly drew attention to the additional risks posed by the construction phase of the scheme, including an increase in traffic. He stated that the Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) would need to be attuned to these risks.
That the Committee:
1. Notes the report and agrees the Service approach to operational planning for HS2 construction. ... view the full minutes text for item 7