Intermediate shafts and headhouses are required at key points along the route of the tunnel. The tunnel boring machine will link these points as it progresses along the routes.
The shafts and headhouses are needed for the following reasons:
- Health and safety – it is essential to have access points to ensure the safety of our workforce during construction. The shafts are also used to access the tunnel for maintenance work once the tunnel is built and operational.
- Ventilation – ventilation equipment, in the form of fans, is required at some sites to cool the cables and regulate the temperature inside the tunnel.
It is our intention to build the tunnels and shafts under our permitted development rights, which means we do not need planning permission for the entire project.
However, there will be points along the tunnel route where we need to build headhouses to cover the shafts. We will need to seek planning permission for these if they are not on our operational land.
The headhouses will be designed in order to minimise their visual impact on the local area. For example, materials are being chosen to complement the surrounding environment in agreement with the local council.