Elephant

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

14-May-2019

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)

09-May-2019

Matt Bishop arrives at Euston (Bucks Herald)

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)

 

03-May-2019

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

29-Apr-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.

28-Apr-2019

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)

26-Apr-2019

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 ...

25-Apr-2019

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.

22-Apr-2019

Walking the Line

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

16-Apr-2019

Cancellation News

( Mind the Gap !)

03-Apr-2019

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)

01-Apr-2019

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

25-Mar-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 ??)

20-Mar-2019

HS2 will widen north-south divide and should be scrapped

A report by the New Economics Foundation finds that
"HS2 WILL EXACERBATE AND NOT REDRESS THE UK’S STARK REGIONAL ECONOMIC IMBALANCES" (Download the report from this page)

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.

18-Mar-2019

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 ...

09-Mar-2019

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 ??

08-Mar-2019

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."

06-Mar-2019

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

28-Feb-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.

26-Feb-2019

Steeple Claydon Sparrow Cull

Destroying countryside during bird nesting season is environmentally criminal and there is absolutely no need.
(Mix96)

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)

 

23-Feb-2019

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 )

20-Feb-2019

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

14-Feb-2019

Who runs HS2 ?

List of board members, minutes etc

13-Feb-2019

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 )

ALTERNATIVE PLANS REVEALED FOR HS2 STATION SITE

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)

12-Feb-2019

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 ?)

07-Feb-2019

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 )

06-Feb-2019

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

27-Jan-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)

 

25-Jan-2019

|Support Sarah Green

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

24-Jan-2019

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.

22-Jan-2019

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

09-Jan-2019

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.

07-Jan-2019

'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

On LBC

Older News >>>