HS2 - Local & National News

Compiled with the aid of Andrea Polden's daily HS2 News digest

For National HS2 news, visit the Stop HS2 News pages,
the Google HS2 news feed,
& the Stop HS2 "TV station" on YouTube


Andrew Gilligan appointed Transport Adviser -

And he doesn't much care for HS2 -

The journalist ... has long opposed what he says is a “disastrous scheme”, arguing for a slower, cheaper line to be built instead. (Grauniad)


All Change !


CoverUps - Costs

"Ministers mislead parliament over cost of HS2" (Lord Berkley)

"HS2 Challenges Grow" - HS2 chairman Allan Cook has written to the Department for Transport warning that all phases of the high speed project will cost more than £55.7 billion. According to the Financial Times, he has advised that they will cost a further £30 billion (RailNews, Express & Star , Bucks Herald )

CoverUps - NDAs

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) non-disclosure agreements, (2) settlement agreements, (3) compromise agreements, and (3) similar legal agreements that contain non-disclosure provisions, HS2 has entered into with former members of staff. (Lord Berkley)
Since 1 January 2017, HS2 Ltd has entered into 47 Settlement Agreements with employees who no longer work for HS2 Ltd as at today’s date. (Baroness Vere)
(Reply to) Point of Order (Ivan Lewis) -
In the event that a Member discovers he or she has inadvertently misled the House, it is incumbent upon that Member to correct the record. (John Bercow)

Nusrat Ghani (Parliamentary Under-Secretary Department for Transport) -
I would uphold my hon. Friend’s concerns if they were valid. As I have said to her, HS2 Ltd has not entered into any non-disclosure agreements with HS2 staff, but when it is business-critical, it needs to be able to have confidential conversations.


Harvil Road - Case dismised

"... after a three-month adjournment the prosecution had failed to demonstrate that any offence had taken place."

"Crucially for the protestors, the prosecution had accepted the defence evidence that the activities HS2 Ltd are engaged in at Colne Valley Park on the edge of London could seriously impact on the viability of water supplies to Greater London."

(Stop HS2, Guardian)


Legal Matters -

The Amersham Action group has contributed to the Crowd Justice appeals for these cases, which we feel deserve wide support -.

Harvil Road

The case against Sarah Green is due to be heard in Hillingdon Magistrates Court, at the end of this week - 17-19 July. Are HS2 Ltd acting legally ?

Valuations, CPOs

A campaign to obtain fair valuations on properties purchased by HS2. Help fund an 'Alternative Dispute Resolution' process, to highlight unfairness in the way HS2 value and acquire properties.

The Euston Wall Game

HS2 have "undertaken no risk assessment of the Park Village East retaining wall. And it confirmed that they had done no Environmental Impact Assessment for the Euston and Camden Cutting area since the bill was enacted in 2017" Ms. Granger-Taylor is requesting a Judicial Review of the refusal (by HS2) to publish an Environmental Impact Assessment of the current design. Should HS2 be unable to show that the design is safe, then the Old Oak Common-Euston section may be delayed or abandoned.



Threat to the Aquifer, Continued

Sarah Green is defending herself against a charge of aggravated trespass, by arguing that the pile tests being undertaken by HS2 at Harvil Road are unlawful, as they may pollute the aquifer (see this page for details). The European Commission have indicated that "The possibility to grant derogations [from the drinking Water Directive] (Article 9) for maximal 9 years was linked to the timescale for compliance (Article 14) of the directive. It expired for the United Kingdom in December 2012.", in which case any additional pollution of the aquifer would be unlawful.

See Sarah Green's Crowdfunding page for the latest information, and help defend this case.


FOI for Chiltern Tunnel Safety assessment refused - again

See this page for the sorry tale of this long delayed request.


Business Case, Costs and Spending

A House of Commons Briefing Paper finds that the estimated cost of HS2 (in 2015) was £9bn higher than the amount quoted in the Spending Review -

The subsequent estimates below have been derived from the National Audit Office (NAO) review of the scheme in 2016. When the 2015 Spending Review was conducted the total cost of the full Y-network was around £64.9 billion (in 2015 prices), with Phase 1 estimated at £27.18 billion and Phase 2 estimated at £37.8 billion.

Thus, there was around a £9.2 billion gap between what was available (per the £55.7 billion under the 2015 Spending Review envelope) and what it was estimated to cost. (p33)

See commentary on StopHS2 , Mix96 and Railnews

Liddington asks for a station

Aylesbury's MP says Buckinghamshire has been asked to bare (sic) the pain of HS2 but none of the benefit. (Mix96)



Oak Tree saved in Burton Green

A group of Burton Green residents have won their fight to save a 200-year-old oak tree from being felled as part of HS2 related construction.

Cllr Marshall added: “However, while the problem arose because of the insistence of Warwickshire County Highways to apply visibility sightlines for a permanent junction (whereas this scheme only requires a temporary one) we believe the whole crisis could have been avoided had HS2 Ltd consulted us properly many weeks ago. We will continue to pursue this matter with Sir Mark Worthington, the HS2 Independent Construction Commission who has already taken up the case at our request.



Boris to review HS2

The frontrunner told Tory constituency chairs at the weekend that he has asked Douglas Oakervee, the former chairman of the company building the line, to lead this assessment. (Daily Mail , Independent, Birmingham Mail )

Presumably Lord Adonis wasn't available ?


Conservative Leadership Race

Which candidates can be trusted to scrap HS2 ?


HS2, Colne Valley and the threat to London’s water supply

"I asked two Parliamentary questions to raise the campaigners’ concerns. The answers confirm that the old landfill site is under the control of the Environment Agency, but they appear to be taking a hands off approach to regulation. It appears that the EA have not produced their own risk assessment but have asked HS2 to do it. "
(Baroness Jones of Moulscoombe)


Latest Design Panel newsletter (for March) released

Bringing Life to the Green Corridor (really?), Review of Wendover Tunnel Green Portal, Small Dean Viaduct, & Scheduke 17 review of the Wendover Dean Viaduct ... download this wonderful document & learn SFA about these and other topics.


Serious concerns with Hillingdon Community engagement

"It will come as no surprise but here in Hillingdon we have become beyond frustrated with the failings of our community engagement with HS2Ltd.
We have written to Mark Thurston and Chris Grayling and copied it to the Director of Community Engagement, both the Construction and Residents Commissioners along with our MPs.
We are not expecting any sweeping changes as a result but feel the need to raise the issues as far as we can.
I've attached the letter for reference and for any groups who might feel they would like to follow suit and highlight similar problems in their area.
I'm hoping if others do the same it might lend weight to the problems we all face and go someway to address the misconception in parliament that community engagement with HS2Ltd is successful."



Government has responded to the petition

The Government wants HS2 to be one of the most environmentally responsible infrastructure projects ever delivered in the UK, and managing its impact on the environment during construction is a high priority. The project will deliver a new green corridor made up of more than 650 hectares of new woodland, wetland and wildlife habitats alongside the line. More than seven million new native trees and shrubs will be planted to help blend the line into the landscape and leave a lasting legacy of high-quality green spaces all along the route. This will include more than 33 square kilometres of new and existing wildlife habitat - an increase of around 30% compared to what is there now. (Measured how ?)

For the complete load of bollocks, see the full response


House of Lords Committee "Rethink HS2"

Our 2015 report The Economics of High Speed 2 raised a number of questions that the Government needed to answer on High Speed 2. Four years later, these have yet to be answered satisfactorily.
The existing appraisal process for large infrastructure projects such as High Speed 2 is inappropriate. The appraisal method takes insufficient account of the transformative effect on local economies that the new railway may bring and it places too much emphasis on travel time savings. The estimated benefits of the project are very sensitive to demand forecasts for High Speed 2, particularly demand from business travellers, and the monetary value placed on travellers’ time. But the evidence behind both assumptions is unconvincing.
(Economic Affairs Committee - Full Report, Summary.)
Press - PoliticsHome, Sky

Harvil Road - Injunction Extended

Environmental protesters have been barred from land where they say HS2 is carrying out works putting almost a quarter of London’s drinking water at risk (Grauniad)


The Great British Transport Competition

The TaxPayers Alliance issue their report (launched by David Davis MP) on how best to spend the £50bn or more which would be freed up by scrapping HS2. One option would be to electrify the Chilten Line. More fancy graphics in the Daily Mail.

Strangely enough, the High Speed Rail Industry Leaders Group were less than happy with the result (Railnews, RailTech) Amys Morse, head of the National Audit Office, says "pretty soon now we will have sunk so much in buying land, building track and so forth that it will be very difficult not to at least go to Birmingham.' - but as the contracts are yet to be signed, there can be no reason to pay any companies for building track, if indeed they have done so.At least he is up to speed ???

Other News

  • HS2 have no idea how long it takes to get from their stations, to the eventual destination
  • HS2 will give football fans thousands of extra seats ahead of future cup finals - that must be worth £100bn then
  • Chiltern Line services disrupted by HS2 works (Mix96, Oxford Mail)


Matt Bishop arrives at Euston (Bucks Herald, Leamington Spa Courier)

He said: " I have walked 100 miles along the proposed route of HS2 and not one of the people I spoke to could see the point of building HS2, especially at a time when the communities I walked through are being told there is no money for the public services they rely on every day.

"Even though HS2 haven’t been given Notice to Proceed yet, I saw them ripping up countryside all over the place, which they seem to be doing just to make this white elephant harder to cancel. They have to stop this work now.”

Protesters force closure of works site

HS2 have closed a works site near the Buckinghamshire village of Steeple Claydon after protesters worked around the clock to peacefully obstruct de-vegetation work due to take place.(Buckingham Today)



HS2 consultation complied with the Aarhus convention

"The Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee found that the UK had not failed to comply with the Convention with regard to specific allegations raised by the communicants. However, the findings are nonetheless an important piece of “jurisprudence” of the Committee for specifying in greater detail the requirements for public participation in the preparation of plans/programmes." (ClientEarth)

(Case was submitted in April 2014; no need to rush these things ...)


Woodland Trust supports campaign to halt 'prelminary' works

"We fully understand the concerns of the councils as they mirror our own in respect of the ancient woodland due to be cleared later this year. While the enabling works are legal we question whether they are right given the project is under review."

Questions - April 2019


New petition !

With 'notice to proceed' delayed again, halt all HS2 enabling work immediately.

Support our local councils and local MP - sign now, and ask your friends to sign as well.


Harvil Road Closure this weekend

Harvil Road to be closed for Vegetation Clearance - good luck with that -

See Sky News report on the Extinction Rebellion protest to protect roadside trees - also Mail, Grauniad, Independent, Standard ...

Direct Action - Harvil Road and Steeple Claydon (StopHS2)


Bucks Councils demand halt to HS2 construction

Aylesbury Vale and Chiltern district councils and Buckinghamshire County Council said they were “pilling pressure on the government” to stop all current HS2 preparation work until the designs are approved, the full cost of the scheme made clear, and a ‘Notice to Proceed’ has been approved. (Rail Tech Magazine, StopHS2, Mix96 )

“This Council proposes that the Leader should write to Government to request that all enabling works for HS2 in Buckinghamshire should be paused until the Notice to Proceed to main works contractors has been approved..."

Dame Cheryl Gillan asks an urgent question -

"I have applied for an urgent question because my parish council unanimously have asked for a pause in HS2 and I'm extremely worried about the environmental damage that's being done to my constituency and the rest of Buckinghamshire before there is eventually a notice to proceed, when there are so many doubt over the project,"

But Nusrat says no ...


Harvil Road Case - from Sarah Green

The work for my case is progressing. Before the EU broke for elections we submitted a report to the EU commission via Jean Lambert London MEP highlighting our evidence of breach of Water Framework Directive by HS2 Ltd in the Colne Valley London. 
A compelling legal submission on the Admissibility of our Expert Witness has been submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service for my defence which is now 17th 18th and 19th July.
The story about the direct threat to the aquifer was published in the Mail on Sunday
This weekend 27th 28th April events are happening at Harvil Road where XR, Stop HS2, Green Party, Friends of the Earth and local campaigners are coming together the call for a halt in the destruction.
Please continue to support by sharing the crowd justice appeal and by visiting the Harvil Road Wildlife Protection Camp UB9 6JW.


Walking the Line

Matthew Gibson and his 72 year old mother are walking the route of HS2 (Mix96, StopHS2) Follow Matthew on Facebook.


Cancellation News

( Mind the Gap !)


Design Panel Newsletter - February

Understanding how all CDEs will integrate as part of a holistic design response, including their contribution to moments of 'human value'. For example, new viewpoints will be essential to gaining support from local planning authorities, and the overall perception of HS2 - a proud expression of the power and speed of high speed rail, carefully crafted to the landscape. ( 2 pages of similar bollocks, here)


Harvil Road - hearing postponed

The full hearing of the Harvil Road Trespass/Water supply case was postponed until July -
(The Canary, Birmingham Mail) - apparently leaving HS2 contractors free to continue with pile tests. Latest indications are that they will start at the other end of the viaduct, near the water ski club, but site preparations continue near Harvil Road. More about the Aquifer ...

Message from Sarah Green -

On Monday 1st April the District Judge postponed the case of aggravated trespass by obstructing 'lawful activity'. The prosecution had the previous Friday asked for more time to be allotted as a great deal more evidence had been submitted by ourselves and by the prosecution service. The DJ also attempted to rule out our expert witness but this was successfully argued against by my barrister Sailesh Mehta.
Where does this leave our case. Our case will now be heard on 17th, 18th 19th of July in Uxbridge magistrates Court. My barrister stated on my behalf, that we were prepared to proceed on Monday and by the time of the new trial the damage to the aquifer, which we are trying to prevent, may very well have happened. 
What we are doing now. We are forwarding evidence widely including to the EU, calling attention to the threats to the aquifer. We are monitoring the continuing destruction of the beautiful Colne Valley, and recording and registering habitat clearance and species annihilation. We are not giving up, more Freedom of Information requests and questions to ministers have been submitted.

Help defend this case - support the Crowd Justice appeal

Notice to Proceed Delayed !

Ministers have delayed approval for HS2 spending over worries about the project’s mounting costs. (Mail, Telegraph, Rail Technology). Estimates for Phase 1 still exceeding the budget, so cost pressures are likely to reduce expenditure on mitigation.

Construction and the release of funds to the contractors cannot happen until HS2 Ltd gets notice to proceed, by passing “Management Capability, Affordability of Contracts & Robustness of Revised Business Case” tests - who is marking their homework ?

Preparation Act - Expenditure

"Total expenditure under the Preparation Act for the period from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 was £115.5m against a budget of £134.7m, representing an underspend of £19.2m or 14%. "

(Mostly on property acquisition)

Questions - March 2019


Scrap HS2 !

The HS2 rail line should be scrapped for being too costly, says the former Treasury chief who first signed off its funding.(DailyMail)

Lord Macpherson, ex-Treasury permanent secretary, said HS2 would now fail a ‘rigorous cost-benefit analysis’. He added: ‘HS2 has always had a low economic return.

Other than the baying mob chasing the contracts to do so there really is no good reason to build it. (Adam Smith Inst)

Theresa May

still thinks its a good idea -
"The prime minister has reaffirmed her commitment to delivering HS2 in full and is expecting Royal Assent to Phase 2a at some point this year" (just after we leave the EU ??)


HS2 will widen north-south divide and should be scrapped

A report by the New Economics Foundation finds that

Even when wholly finished, with Leeds and Manchester linked to Birmingham and London, it is the nation’s capital that will capture more than its fair share of the benefits. HS2 will, according to HS2 Ltd’s own economic appraisal, reinforce the London-centric nature of transport investment and growth in gross value added.

It is not that high-speed rail or new north–south links are in themselves the wrong approach to take. But that this scheme, its escalating cost, its drag towards London, its extreme speed, its poor integration with the rest of the network, and its lack of strategic rationale in relation to the railways and transport and its meagre impact on road and air travel do not add up. Within the context of Brexit and stark economic and political inequality, and without clear strategy, HS2 increasingly appears wrong-headed.

Comments -

  • Daily Express - Multi-BILLION pound HS2 will widen north-south divide
  • Grauniad -  the plan for northern towns is managed decline
  • Wired - A scathing report calls for the UK's HS2 rail link to be scrapped
  • Stop HS2 - Report Calls for HS2 to be Scrapped
  • Friends of the Earth - The Opportunity Costs of HS2 (took them long enough ...)

Calvert Protest

596 people turned out in Steeple Claydon to lend their support to the petition which specifically expresses grievance at the way HS2 has communicated local vegetation clearance.


Wendover (Mined) tunnel - FOI refused

Specifically you asked to be provided with copies of the IPA and independent reports referred to in earlier correspondence ... it is our view that disclosure of the IPA report would otherwise prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs.

High Speed Heating ?

"Waste heat from HS2 could be used to keep hundreds of new homes warm in a sustainable way." Also in Tunnelling Journal

Yep, building a railway that uses 1.24 TWh / year is a really good way to heat a hundred or so homes ...


Greens take Haddenham & Stone from Tories (Mix96)

Conservative vote fell by 3%. Ind, UKIP (25, 14%) did not stand, Greens increased share by 36%. So how many UKIP voters turned Green ??


HS2 Fraud

Section 4 of the 2006 Fraud Act has never really been tested properly, and when you consider all the farms, businesses and household that are suffering financial losses as a direct result of the actions of HS2, it is difficult to argue that HS2 Ltd are not breaking it on a calculated and industrial scale.

We are asking people who have suffered direct financial losses as a result of HS2 Ltds actions to report them to the police for fraud. We would very much like to hear from people who do report them, as we would like to take a selection to the press, both nationally and locally.

Independent Complaints Commissioner

Reports 7 (July-September) & 8 (Oct-Dec 2018) released;
"I consider that the relationship between HS2 Ltd and local residents’ groups in Hillingdon remains challenging. Given the upcoming major works in Hillingdon, it is important that communications with residents should continue to be clear, timely and wherever possible, two-way."


Hillingdon - Rejection of Schedule 17 application overturned by Govt.

Chris Grayling and James Brokenshire, in a letter to Hillingdon Council and HS2, revealed that they had given the ecological work the go-ahead after overturning the authority’s decision to refuse permission.
(Rail Technology Magazine)

Hillingdon tuned down the Schedule 17 submission because

  • the design or external appearance of the works ought to, and could reasonably, be modified to preserve a site of archaeological or historic interest or nature conservation value.
  • the development ought to, and could reasonably, be carried out elsewhere within the development’s permitted limits.

HS2 appealed against this decision, but this appeal was refused -
With regard to archaeology, I find that the information available to the Council was not adequate. The design of the works ought to, and could reasonably, be modified to preserve a site of archaeological interest

But the transport and communities secretaries have overruled the council’s rejection, stating that they found “no legitimate basis for refusing to approve” the application.


Questions - February 2019


More destruction at Calvert Jubilee

BBOWT has received notice from HS2 that they intend to carry out clearance works at Calvert Jubilee. We have met with representatives of HS2 to make it clear that the scale and timing of the works will have a devastating effect on wildlife.


Steeple Claydon Sparrow Cull

Destroying countryside during bird nesting season is environmentally criminal and there is absolutely no need.

Where will the bodies be (re)buried ?

The Buckinghamshire Archaeological society[BAS] has raised concerns about how the human remains will be exhumed by HS2.(Bucks Herald)



HS2 Design Panel Report (Nov-Dec 2018)

Sod all about phase 1 ...

HS2 to exceed new WHO noise levels

Well who could have forseen that ? And after the sound booths they trundled round during the 'Consultation' -
( Telegraph, Mail )


HS2 - join our campaign to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

Today, we are calling for the Government to put an end to HS2 which will cut a swathe through some of our most beloved green spaces and local attractions.

Costs are spiralling out of control – we (The Bucks Herald) believe that now is the time to stand up and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

Naturally we welcome any additional support, but you have to wonder where they have been for the last 9 years


Who runs HS2 ?

List of board members, minutes etc


Wendover rejects Noise barriers

"The idea of yet another set of 2 meter, to 4 meter, to 6 meter high sound barriers north and south of Wendover was appalling. There are real issues from an environment standpoint, a visual standpoint and an advocacy standpoint. "
( Mix96 )


Plans for a hotel and office scheme, which would also feature student and residential flats, in Birmingham have been revealed. The scheme would be built on the site earmarked for the HS2 Curzon Street Station if the project doesn't go ahead.

California Trims Its High-Speed Rail Ambitions

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is scaling back the state’s decade-old plan to build a high-speed rail line connecting its major cities in the north and south. (Wall St Journal - subscription only)


Harvil Road, NewYearsGreen and the Aquifer

Whats happening at Harvil Road ? Why is Sarah Green charged with aggravated trespass ? Read all about it ...

Five car crash on Harvil Road (MyLondon)

11-Feb-2019 - The Great Train Robbery

C4 Dispatches, and fallout

(And HS2 employ how many PR companies to attract this sort of coverage ?)


Property cost 5 times over original estimate

A Freedom of Information Response from HS2 Ltd forecasts that the final total for the cost of land and property on the London to Birmingham stretch would be around £5bn, five times over the original budget presented to Parliament.
(Stop HS2, Bucks Herald )


Station contracts awarded

Last year, the tender shortlist for a construction partner for the two southern stations was released. In a clear signal of how work is progressing, this morning I am pleased to announce the intention to award these important positions to a Joint Venture between Mace Limited and Dragados S.A. for Euston and a Joint Venture between Balfour Beatty Group Ltd, VINCI Construction UK Ltd, VINCI Construction Grands Projets SAS and SYSTRA Ltd for Old Oak Common. 

Questions - January 2019


Wind Power for HS2 ?

Wind farms could be built along the route of HS2 in a major resurrection of onshore turbines in Britain, under confidential Government-commissioned plans. ( Sunday Telegraph). See report on HS2 power requirement

Let's please pull the plug on HS2

It’s time to pull the plug on this project. The money freed could go on desperately needed infrastructure projects, such as improving the roads. (Telegraph, again)



|Support Sarah Green

CrowdJustice are campaigning to protect our water supply (see 9-Jan) Help (£MONEY) is urgently needed ...


Chaos at the Crem ?

Bosses at Chilterns Crematorium, in Whielden Lane, fear mourners may be late to funerals, miss them altogether, or funeral processions may struggle to get to the site if HS2 works are not planned effectively. (BFP)

‘Nobody knows’ what final HS2 cost will be

Speaking to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee yesterday, Sir Terry Morgan said the HS2 project team may have to reduce the speed or the number of trains using the route. When probed on what he thinks the final cost to the project will be, Sir Terry startlingly said that “nobody actually knows yet,” prompting further concerns for the budget of HS2.

HS2 minister vows no 'betrayal' 

Chris Grayling (who else?) reiterated his backing for lines to Manchester and Leeds after the government's commitment to go past the Midlands was called into question.


Design Panel award for the Smalldean Viaduct - WTF ?

'The panel warmly welcomes the designs being developed by Eiffage Kier with Moxon Architects - finding much to applaud in how the design team has creatively embraced this sensitive context while meeting the demanding requirements of high speed rail.'

Funny, everyone else thinks its a bloody monstrosity ...

A letter to Lord Adonis

(From a loyal fan ?) Watford Observer


NewYears Green Protest

ACTIVISTS arrested for protesting against the HS2 rail development began their legal battle at Uxbridge magistrates’ court today. At the hearing the two defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges of aggravated trespass against them. Activists argue that the construction programme will also pollute local drinking water.


'White Elephant' cull ?

Big government projects seen as "white elephants" could be killed off under a fresh crackdown on public spending, Treasury minister Liz Truss has vowed. Which ones could she be thinking of ?
(Also -Politics Home, Daily Express)

Bin HS2 Now - Jacob Rees-Mogg


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