High speed rail would ‘devastate’ Belper countryside

Plans, which could see high speed trains whizzing through Belper countryside, have been slammed by councillors.

As reported in the Belper News, proposals have been put forward to make Derby the East Midlands destination of the HS2 high speed rail network.

The idea, put forward three weeks ago by Labour controlled Derby City Council is to link the line, set to run super fast trains between London and the north of England by 2032, with a station in the city instead of Toton, as previously mooted.

Leader of the city council Paul Bayliss says this would bring “thousands of jobs for the region” and a £500 million boost to the ‘areas’s’ economy.

But the route of the line north of Derby would likely carve through countryside in between Belper and Ripley.

This, according to councillor Steve Freeborn, who is also a member of Amber Valley SOS, would mean a devastating loss of countryside.

He said: “I can see why Derby City Council would like to have a station near them - it would undoubtedly help their economy. But the consequences for us in Ripley would be to see a high speed rail link built straight through our community without any benefit whatsoever.”

Councillor Freeborn said the economic case for a station at Toton makes more sense for the Amber Valley arae and would have less of an impact on our green spaces.

“What we should be doing now is campaigning to get really good high speed links into Toton from Alfreton,Derby, Langley Mill, Ilkeston and Ambergate,” he added.

Derbyshire County Council’s deputy cabinet member for jobs, economy and transport, Andy Botham, said: “If you take the line north out of Derby, instead of out of Toton, you are going to be cutting through a vast swathe of heritage land.”