Portishead Branch Line – MetroWest Phase 1

The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.

Portishead Branch Line - MetroWest Phase 1

Received 26 February 2020
From The National Trust


The Proposed Portishead Branch Line (MetroWest Phase 1) Order Planning Inspectorate Ref: TR040011 The National Trust is Europe’s largest conservation charity with nearly six million members. Established 125 years ago, its primary purpose is to promote the preservation of special places for the benefit of the nation. The Trust is the custodian of several historic properties in North Somerset and Bristol, including Leigh Woods, which is adjacent to the proposed rail scheme (see applicant’s Land Plan). Close to the station at Pill, the Trust own a small estate at Failand, as well as the Victorian Tyntesfield Estate. Viewing the rail scheme from Bristol we own land at Shirehampton which overlooks the Avon Gorge. The Trust is aware of the longstanding challenges of managing traffic within Bristol and encouraging more sustainable travel opportunities. We broadly support the upgrading of the railway line to facilitate the passenger rail line subject to the following comments. As described in Section 4 Compulsory Acquisition Information, we hold land inalienably and have been having discussions over the necessary rock works for safety purposes and the risk matrix adaptations caused by the upgrade to a passenger line. The ongoing liability for managing rock fences is significant and we have agreed that where possible these should be placed on Network Rail land. The Trust acknowledges that MetroWest has agreed to leave us in no worse position as to access to our land through the works to Quarry Underbridge 2 The proposed works will have an environmental effect on the flora and fauna that is endemic to the Avon Gorge. We are pleased to see mitigation works included within Section 6 and that whilst there are large losses of habitat on National Trust land, proportional to the scheme, the total area in the SAC is small. It is to be noted that no works can commence until agreed with Natural England. It is to note that within the compound area and haul road for the works to Quarry Underbridge 2 are Leigh Woods Whitebeams, unimproved calcareous grassland, Gloucester hawkweed, and fingered sedge, Bristol rockcress can be found close to the location of where materials will be stored. We expect the compound area within this location to be as small and possible and that loss of species caused by the ramp and these works are mitigated for. We would expect a survey of this specific area prior to works commencing and after works have finished to monitor ruderal species development and for non-native species. The National Trust do not expect these works to have a major impact on our visitor business. The Trust broadly supports the proposed upgrading of the railway line requests that the issues raised in this representation are given appropriate weight and attention through the DCO process, including through the use of Requirements where appropriate.