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Professional Resources

Information for parish councils and communities

Environmental and transport related information which we think parish councils and communities will find useful.

News and Updates

Long awaited Integrated Rail Plan published  

On Thursday 18 November 2021 the Government published its Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) for delivering and sequencing major rail investment in the North and Midlands. This plan sets out how improvements to rail services will be delivered including high speed services and upgrades to existing lines.

The Government have committed to the following improvements:

Building of 3 new high speed lines

  • Crewe to Manchester (HS2)
  • West Midlands to East Midlands Parkway (HS2 East)
  • Warrington, Manchester and Yorkshire (NPR)

Electrification and upgrade on three existing main lines

  • Transpennine Between Manchester, Leeds and York
  • Midland Main line from London between Market Harborough and Sheffield
  • East Coast Main Line

Implications for Leicestershire

The IRP gives limited detail on the exact location of the high speed line planned to connect Birmingham to the East Midlands (HS2 East), but states the line will be built from the West Midlands with trains stopping at East Midlands Parkway. It says that high speed trains will continue on the Midland Main Line (MML) direct to Derby and Nottingham stations.

The IRP also states there will be full electrification of the MML between London and Sheffield. A large section of the MML runs through Leicestershire. From previous work with Network Rail, we understand that this electrification will require changes to some road bridges which cross the line, and new electricity supplies and associated substations.

Timeframes

The IRP outline delivery timetable (pages 133 and 134 of the IRP) appears to show:

  • delivery of electrification of the MML northward from Harborough – late 2020s
  • delivery of HS2 West to East Midlands – late 2030’s

Timescales are not defined, but a hybrid Bill deposit for HS2 through Leicestershire is stated to follow on from the Western Leg Phase 2b Bill (due to be deposited early 2022). This could mean a hybrid Bill for Leicestershire is deposited around 2024/5. The LCC HS2 service area will seek further clarification on this from HS2 Ltd.

Uncertainties 

  • There are no detailed plans for the East Midlands Parkway area, but it appears that this will be a stop for some high speed services as the IRP states “for HS2 to serve East Midlands Parkway” (paragraph 3.37) and “A shuttle could also operate from Toton to the HS2 stop at East Midlands Parkway” (paragraph 3.38) on pages 81 and 82. 
  • The IRP outlines a commitment to work with the Midlands Connect Rail Hub proposals, but there are no details (i.e. the Leicester to Coventry line improvements). 
  • No mention of the Ivanhoe (Burton-Leicester) Line in context of either the IRP or recent DFT restoring your railway fund announcements
  • There is no detail from the outcome of the 2019 Design Refinement Consultation (i.e. no more detail on Ashby Rail Head or the realignment of HS2 through Lount)
  • The IRP implies new paths on the MML and more frequent services but does not quantify what this could mean (para 3.39). 

Next steps

We'll be taking stock of the contents of the IRP document and will be in touch in the new year with further updates, however if you have any questions in the interim we'll be providing an update at the Parish Liaison event on the 1 December at 5pm in the North West Leicestershire Council Chamber (will also available online), please contact community.focus@nwleicestershire.gov.uk for more details.

High Speed 2 (HS2) – M42 closure over Christmas period

HS2 have advised Leicestershire County Council of the following road closure taking place over the Christmas period.  Whilst the works are outside the Leicestershire boundary, it may potentially affect you as a business or your personal travel plans.

Balfour Beatty VINCI is working in partnership with HS2 Ltd and National Highways to undertake preparatory works on the Marston Box which will require a one-week closure of the M42 Motorway between junctions 9 and 10.

To complete these works safely and efficiently the M42 motorway between junctions 9 and 10 will be closed from 9pm on Friday 24 December (Christmas Eve) to 9pm on Friday 31 December 2021 (New Year’s Eve).

A signed diversion route will be in place over this period with advance signage in place to help remind motorists of the closure.

For more details on this closure and diversion route, please visit: www.hs2.org.uk/marston-box.

Recycling and Household Waste Sites

Winter opening hours are now in operation for all available waste sites: 9am to 4pm, from 1 November 2021 to 31 March 2022.

All waste sites will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

  • Shepshed RHWS has now been re-opened for 3 days per week (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) from Thursday 4 November 2021. This site has been temporarily closed due to staff and driver shortages.  
  • Bottesford RHWS remains temporarily closed until further notice due to improvement and maintenance works. The nearest alternative site is in Melton RHWS. 
  • Kibworth is now closed for re-development and is due to re-open in late autumn 2022.  The nearest alternative sites are in Market Harborough and Oadby. For more information see Development of Kibworth Recycling and Household Waste Site
  • Somerby RHWS was closed due to improvement and maintenance works and had remained closed since due to staff and driver shortages. However, the Somerby site is scheduled to re-open 2 days per week (Sunday, Monday) from Sunday 14 November 2021.

The team apologise for any inconvenience or delays and thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

We’re doing everything we can to recruit operatives and HGV drivers. If you are interested in these roles and want to join a friendly team, please apply on the EMSS jobsite.

Please see the waste and recycling pages on our website for the latest information.

NHT Public Representative Survey – deadline extended 

If you haven’t yet been able to complete the survey, the deadline has been extended to 30th November.

The survey is designed to accept one response for each Parish Council so we would ask that, although the questionnaire is best completed by one person, the responses represent the overall views of the Parish Council on the Highways and Transport matters raised in the survey. 

Complete the NHT Public Representative survey

Alternatively, you can complete a paper copy of the survey:

NHT Public Representative survey  Opens new window

Please post your completed survey to Cassandra Haywood, Room 700, County Hall, Glenfield, Leicestershire, LE3 8RJ or scan and email it to cassandra.haywood@leics.gov.uk

Your support by participating in this survey to help inform the continuous improvement of Highways and Transportation in Leicestershire is very much appreciated.

Licence to cultivate 

In order to plant or cultivate on a highway verge you will need a licence to cultivate.  To apply you will need to make an applicaiton for a cultivation licence through our Contact us form

As highway verges are used by public utility companies to install and access their equipment, the licence ensures that those doing the work and that live in the environment are safe and those effected by the planting are happy with the works going ahead.  Experience has shown us that not everyone agrees with what is seemingly a positive development.

Leicestershire County Council take the safety of anyone working on the highway extremely seriously. An average of 70 people a year are seriously injured as a result of contact with underground electricity cables so it is imperative that any planting of bulbs is done so safely.

Find out if a road is unadopted

To find out if a road is unadopted in most cases you can use the Highway adoption status search it allows anyone to find the adoption status of any street in the County.  You can also use Find my street, which includes a map where you can click on any street to find the overall maintenance responsibility and classification.

As these are underpinned by two different datasets there may be discrepancies, these should be reported to hre@leics.gov.uk as well as any queries about highway status / extent.

HS2 update

Parliament resumed on 6 September 2021, but so far there have been no formal updates on the position of HS2.

It is anticipated that future proposals for HS2, including the section through Leicestershire, will be published in the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan (IRP). There is no confirmed date for the IRP publication However, it is likely to be sometime around the Governments autumn budget announcement, which is due on 27 October 2021.

Reflection on recent media stories

There have been some recent press articles about the HS2 eastern leg. The stories in the bullet points below, summarise this recent reporting

Wider HS2 media coverage

Just for general interest, below are some recent press articles relating to HS2, that you may find interesting:

If you have any questions about HS2 through Leicestershire, please contact Leicestershire County Council’s HS2 team via hs2@leics.gov.uk. We also continue to run informal virtual drop-in sessions on the first Tuesday of the month. If we can’t help, we can signpost you to HS2 Ltd or alternatively contact HS2enquiries@hs2.org.uk.

New Online Customer Contact Form

There is now a new online enquiry form for customers to contact the County Council’s Customer Service Centre (CSC). It is aimed at general public enquiries and can be accessed via our website, to enable the CSC to provide an improved service to customers.

The general public that use any of the email addresses below are being asked to use the online form to correspond electronically with the CSC.  

  • HighwaysCustomerServices
  • CSCBlueBadge
  • PassengerTransport
  • CustomerServices
  • Family

If you currently advertise any of these email addresses on your local websites, please remove them and replace them with the link to the online contact form.

Parish Councils can continue to use the CSCParishes email address, and the CSC phone numbers all remain unchanged.

New guidance - Licencing of apparatus over, along or across a public highway (S178) 

There is new guidance on the licencing process for any apparatus that you may propose to attach to a street lighting column owned by us.

Such apparatus may include (but not be limited to):

  • hanging baskets
  • seasonal decorations
  • banners
  • CCTV cameras
  • ANPR cameras
  • Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS)
  • speed indicator devices
  • wi-fi equipment
  • catenaries (a system of overhead wires above the highway used to support electricity cables)

Licencing S178 guidance  Opens new window

Also see Street lighting columns and structural testing

New traffic website

Highways receive a great number of enquiries about a variety of issues on the road, many of these are around parking, speeding and pedestrian safety.  

To help support communities in understanding what solutions are available, a new website has been developed to provide clear and straight forward guidance on the types of options that may be appropriate to address a particular issue as well as the criteria, process involved and potential costs.  

This new website has been designed to be easy to use and allow residents and communities to make informed decisions on the most appropriate and effective solutions that would benefit their community.  

The information on the website does not yet include all the information we would want to make available to our residents but will continue to be developed and we very much welcome your feedback and suggestions, please email trafficwebsite@leics.gov.uk.

The website Leicestershire Highways A Roads to Zebras is now live.

The intention is for this website to eventually include other key functions of the department providing a one-stop shop for road, waste and environment information and guidance.

Blue Heart Campaign update    

We are delighted to be the first Midlands council to join the BLUE Campaign for rewilding Britain’s roadside verges!

Over 700 species of wild flower grow on the UK’s road verges – nearly 45% of our total flora. And where wild flowers lead, wildlife follows – a multitude of bees, butterflies, birds and bugs. All enjoyed by 23 million road commuters. With over 97% of meadows destroyed since the 1930s, road verges are a vital refuge for pollinators and other wildlife (plantlife). This delightful show of the botanical potential of verges on our doorsteps has inspired and encouraged many more people to take local action to protect and enhance the way there local verges are managed.

Selected urban verges are to be removed from our annual cutting programmes, allowing the verges to flourish and develop. Building on the pilot success of the 2020 Urban Verge Wildflower Scheme, we are not part of a much bigger national campaign called the Blue Campaign.

This season will see almost 40 parishes display blue hearts highlighting their dedicated urban wildlife verges. The Verge Project gives local parishes and their associated communities the chance to play more of an active role in how their local verges are managed for local wildlife. Many of these verges historically have interesting wildflower species already, but due to a frequency in cut, they have been unable to flourish so have laid dormant for some time. 

Following a cessation in cut, these verges will be surveyed in June by our partners at NatureSpot for their wildflowers and grasses. Upon assessment of the verge surveys, management suggestions will be made to support wildlife friendly management of these verges. This usually includes implementing just one cut a year in mid-September, leaving the cuttings in situ for 7 days before removal, and/or the sowing of native UK wildflower species or plug plants from sustainable, local providence.

It also gives the local community the chance to get more involved with recording and enjoying the abundance of colour many of these verges offer, including a bespoke parish council wildplaces page, that showcases each of the parishes verges that are signed up to this scheme. In addition, all the wildlife data collected will feed into our county wide wildlife data, to help with future protection and enhancement.

Due to the popularity of the blue hearts, we are oversubscribed for this year and it is now too close to the grass cutting season start date to process any more applications, however, we are now collecting reserve contact details for our 2022 scheme. We are also looking to explore wider potential of sites for inclusion, including public open spaces in addition to roadside verges. If you would like to find out more and register an interest for 2022 please contact us at parishgrass@leics.gov.uk.

Street lighting columns and structural testing

See our frequently asked questions and a copy of the Licence Application Pack for attaching decorations and hanging baskets etc. for lamp posts:

Lamp post licence FAQ  Opens new window

Guidance notes for attachments   Opens new window

Non-destructive testing companies  Opens new window

Environment and Transport newsletter

Parishes and communities newsletter - winter edition 2021

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