HS2 receives planning permission for green tunnel

HS2 has received planning permission from Solihull Council for the design of a green tunnel at Burton Green.

Warwickshire District Council had already approved plans for the southern end of the structure, which will feature a 400-metre green tunnel to conceal the railway.

Solihull Council’s approval of the northern section, where the railway exits the tunnel north portal into a 1.4 km cutting with retained walls, completes the planning approvals for this stretch of HS2.

A key aspect of the plans is the realignment of the Kenilworth Greenway, providing a link from Balsall Common to Kenilworth via Burton Green for walkers, cyclists, and horse riders.

The new Greenway will pass under Cromwell Lane and then traverse the roof of the green tunnel, alongside the railway.

Alan Payne, HS2’s senior project manager said: “We’re delighted to receive Schedule 17 planning consent for the northern section of the green tunnel from Solihull Council. We’re committed to maximising green space around the new high-speed railway and have worked with residents and authorities to ensure our tunnel design conserves, enhances and transforms the landscape in this area.

“The design for the permanent realignment for the Kenilworth Greenway and the landscape infrastructure created over the green tunnel is central to how we deliver this, linking the local community and railway with the wider landscape.”

The green tunnel’s design, including the realignment of the Kenilworth Greenway, was spearheaded by the Mott MacDonald SYSTRA Design Joint Venture, working on behalf of HS2’s main works contractor for the West Midlands, Balfour Beatty VINCI.

Construction progress includes work on the underground elements of the tunnel, such as widening historic railway cuttings and constructing tunnel wall panels. Future work will involve the continuation of tunnel excavation, demolition of Cromwell Lane bridge, and construction of tunnel roof slabs.

While construction progresses, HS2 has established a temporary route for the Kenilworth Greenway to ensure safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders.