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Planning restrictions along high speed rail route could be loosened

PUBLISHED: 14:14 06 July 2017 | UPDATED: 14:14 06 July 2017

High speed train

High speed train

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A consultation is being launched by the government on Monday

Planning restrictions along Kent’s high speed rail route, known as HS1, could be reduced by the government.

A public consultaton opens next Monday on the proposals to ease regulations which restrict development alongside or close to the route between London St Pancras and the Channel Tunnel.

Known as ‘safeguarding’, the regulations do not prevent development taking place near large-scale schemes like HS1, but do ensure that they allow access to, and protection of, the infrastructure itself.

During construction and early operation of HS1, it was essential to safeguard large parts of the network to ensure that the rail line could be completed and run successfully.

But since the route opened in 2007, the need to maintain all the original planning controls close to it has gradually reduced.

Among the proposals under consultation are reducing the safeguarding boundary next to the route from 60 metres to 30 metres, removing 53 per cent of the existing land next to HS1 from safeguarding restrictions and retaining safeguarding restrictions for all tunnels along the route.

Rail minister Paul Maynard said: “HS1 has been a success story for 10 years now, providing a high speed link between London and stations in continental Europe.

“These proposed changes will have no effect on the high speed service for passengers.

“They will simply reduce the restrictions on developments close to it.”

The final report is expected to be produced within three months of the end of the consultation, which closes on August 13.

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