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

2020 News >>>

17-Jul-2021

Leather Lane - latest

Read the report, Sign the petition & support the campaign (more...)

 

11-Jul-2021

Amersham Vent Shaft - You said, We didn't

Meet the new design ... somewhat reminiscent of the old one, perhaps - just a metre off the top, when we asked for a short back & sides.See this page for details of the three online "You Said, We Did" events (26th, 29th July, 2nd August)

10-Jul-2021

Accusation of Fraud

Press Release

In his letter to Simon Case (the Cabinet Secretary), Lord Berkeley said:
‘The project has been promoted and procured by deception and possibly fraud from the start ten years ago, a process that has allowed the project to proceed in stages to ensure that the true costs only came out when it is too late to change or cancel.  
‘Parliament would expect that the true costs and time for project delivery should be placed before it for its scrutiny and debate in a timely manner during the Hybrid Bill process, so that it can have an opportunity to affirm its support for the project or otherwise.
‘I therefore conclude that the HS2 Phase 1 Bill received Royal Assent only because Parliament was misled multiple times over the last five years either by omission or misinformation, and that this misleading has continued with Phase 2A -  for a project now expected to cost £142 bn, ten times the original estimate.’

The supporting evidence for these allegations can be read here. (Daily Telegraph)

02-Jul-2021

Princes Risborough - dustbin for HS2 ?

By pure coincidence (obvs), this new constituency contains nearly all the above ground HS2 construction in Bucks, conveniently removing it from the adjoining (Tory) safe seats ... (Chesham Society)

30-Jun-2021

The Environment Bill

"It is fascinating that HS2 gets only passing references in a Bill on the environment. Perhaps this is because no one really wants to study the matter in detail and be forced to admit what a dreadful effect it is having, and will continue to have, on our environment and what a huge mistake it will turn out to be." ( Lord Framlingham )

28-Jun-2021

Tunnelling and the EA

"if he will make it the policy of the Government to instruct the Environment Agency to install a comprehensive inspection regime for HS2 tunnelling operations beneath the Misbourne Valley" Christopher Chope

Rob Butler MP supports Bucks CC decision

I’ve written to the Planning Inspectorate to support Buckinghamshire Council's decision not to approve High Speed Two Limited (HS2 Ltd)'s application for lorry routes in Wendover." (BFP)

25-Jun-2021

Protesters cost us £75m - Thurston

(Thats nearly as much as my bonus !) If HS2 would make some attempt to reverse the worst aspects of the design, rather than displaying a pathological aversion to the slightest alterations, then there would be less to protest about.
(Mail, Guardian)

Whistleblowers

" I have lots of evidence, because Ministers over the years, the Permanent Secretaries and the chief executives of HS2 have either told what I would call lies or misled Parliament by hiding that they knew the true costs. One HS2 employee actually gave evidence to a Select Committee, saying, “If we told Parliament the true cost, they would never give approval.” Where is Parliament on this, keeping an eye on it?" (Lord Berkeley)

24-Jun-2021

Wendover News

 

22-Jun-2021

Cummings - Garbage ?

Former chief advisor Dominic Cummings is facing questions over whether he withheld details of cost hikes relating to land acquisitions on HS2 which may have influenced Johnson’s decision to press ahead with the project.

Cummings wrote: “A garbage model/graph was fed to a PM making a [more than] £100bn decision (which he blew despite us pointing out such absurdities in the ‘evidence’).” (NCE)

21-Jun-2021

HS2 budget increase

... but only another £1.7bn - peanuts (compared to whats in store) (The Bulletin, Daily Mail, Spectator)

An HS2 spokesperson said: “ FT Today’s reports indicate that the project’s budget has increased by £ 1.7bn, which is absolutely not the case.
“The HS2 budget for the first phase remains at £ 44.6 billion. This includes unforeseen circumstances, including unforeseen events such as Covid-19. HS2 remains within this budget and is not projected to exceed it under current circumstances. No additional money from the Treasury is required for this.

... and if you believe that ...

‘Colne Valley Western Slopes’ project approved

an ambitious scheme which will use material excavated from the Chiltern tunnels to create 127 hectares of new chalk grassland, woodland, wood pasture and wetland habitats around the tunnel’s south portal.
(Wendover News, Bucks Herald, Railway News)

Wendover Cut n Cover Tunnel - questions from Baroness Bowles

See Wendover News, or (TW4U)
Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4, Q5, Q6  
- High Speed 2 Railway Line/ Tunnels/ 21 Jun 2021/ Hansard Written Answers - Baroness Bowles of Berkhamsted

18-Jun-2021

LibDems take Chesham and Amersham

(BBC, Politics Home, Guardian, UnHerd , CAPX ... )

A 25% swing from Conservative to LibDem has ended the long running Conservative domination of the constituency, and underlines the personal support which allowed Dame Cheryl Gillan to retain the seat for so long. The charisma free Conservative candidate made a poor attempt to show any passionate opposition to HS2, and saw his vote slump by 20%.

We congratulate Sarah Green on her victory, and hope she will oppose HS2 (in opposition to the policy of her party) with the same determination that Cheryl showed. We look forward to meeting her to discuss future strategy, and if the Conservative Association are in need of counselling, we are happy to oblige.

The LibDem takeover of Amersham TC, following the disruption caused by work on the Vent Shaft at the end of Whielden Lane, contrasts with the lack of any significant change in Chesham TC, which has yet to feel the full effects of HS2 construction (which has barely started) -suggesting that the HS2 effect is at present fairly localised. However, the recent proposed changes to planning legislation, together with the disastrous Chiltern and S. Bucks local plan (now withdrawn) may well have caused a backlash among voters who bother to read these things. Some will be outraged by the prolongation of lockdown, others upset that it will soon end - by positioning herself as the anti-Tory candidate, Sarah gained votes all round, and despite the vaccine success, there is a lot not to like about present government policies.

A party claiming to protect the Green Belt (& AoNB) while voters could see it being ripped apart all around them was asking for a greater suspension of disbelief than even J K Rowling dared, and deserve what they got.

 

15-Jun-2021

Wendover Dean Viaduct approved

Bucks Council approved a schedule 17 submission it could do 'nothing' to stop from HS2 Limited and EKFB to build the Wendover Dean Viaduct. (Bucks Herald)
Wendover PC complaint about noise guarantees.

Chiltern Tunnel

More concerns about the tunnel ...

Independent Construction Commissioner

Report, 1st quarter 2021

14-Jun-2021

'Garbage' data from HS2 ? Surely not ...

Boris Johnson signed off on the £100 billion High Speed 2 rail line based on "garbage" data predicting an exponential increase in demand for the service, Dominic Cummings has claimed. (Adam Smith Inst)
but 'DfT doesn't recognise the evidence' ?? (New Civil Engineer)

27-May-2021

Weird Conservative petition ?

The Conservative Candidate Peter Fleet has launched this petition, against the Amersham Vent Shaft design; it is a bit odd ? Is he taking this seriously ?

  • The exact text of the petition isn't set out clearly
  • There is no illustration of the design which you are asked to petition against, although its not hard to find one ( eg here )
  • It will be sent to HS2 (who exactly ?) - but the VS design is developed in partnership with Align, the contractor, and the HS2 design panel have their fingerprints all over it. Might need a couple of CCs ?
  • Obviously nothing to do with the forthcoming election ...

However, we strongly recommend that you sign it, if only to show that HS2 is still a major concern in this area. You could even tick the 'keep me updated' box, if you feel that you are getting to few Emails these days ...

25-May-2021

Bats at Leather Lane !

How totally unexpected ... (more...)

21-May-2021

Candidates for the Chesham and Amersham by-election

Eight in all (BBC)

Bucks dont like the Amersham Vent Shaft design

Buckinghamshire Council is meeting with HS2, its contractor, Align, and the HS2 Independent Design Panel next week to discuss major concerns over the proposed design of the Amersham vent shaft...
Before we are in a position to agree a suitable design, which fits in with the historical character of Old Amersham and the nearby AONB, there need to be major changes." (Martin Tett)
[Bucks.gov, Bucks Herald, BFP) But the design panel think its loverley ...

Ask HS2 ...

Book your one-to-one online appointment and find out more about the HS2 works in the North Chilterns area
(Gt Missenden PC)
and if you find out anything useful - do let us know ...

 

18-May-2021

Questions to Rocket Man

(How the)  change in the demand for commuter train services that has arisen during the covid-19 outbreak... may affect (i) commuting and (ii) demand for HS2 in the long term. (Margaret Greenwood)

... what recent estimate he has made of the total cost of the HS2 programme.(Margaret Greenwood)
To you guv, £98Bn (2019 prices)

More trees (& birds) going

Yet again HS2 felling trees with live birds nests in (Twitter)

Wendover Mined Tunnel

The DfT's dedicated minister for HS2 Andrew Stephenson has confirmed that High Speed 2 (HS2) contractors have never conducted a formal assessment of an alternative proposal to build a mined tunnel in Wendover, nor have they ever been asked to. (New Civil Engineer)

Looks like Lord Berkeley was right

14-May-2021

HS2 "No longer a major issue"

Peter Fleet the Conservative candidate for Chesham & Amersham by election has told the local party that "HS2 is no longer a major issue for the constituency".
Shows how much he knows. Time to send a message to Boris ??
Or complete Peter's Residents Survey ?

13-May-2021

Chiltern TBM launched ? (BBC)

Thurston claims they are tunneling under the AONB - not quite ! Also, doesnt look like it is moving, yet

29-Apr-2021

The Wendover Mined Tunnel

Letter to Rocket Man from Lord Berkeley - have HS2 been telling porkies ? Surely not ... (New Civil Engineer)

Hybrid Bills -

How many times do we have to tell them the procedure is crap ... (Consultation)

28-Apr-2021

Chiltern Tunnel

Statements by the Chiltern Society & River Chess Association re Environment Agency approval -
and (later), Bucks Council and the Conservation Board (BFP)

HoL Questions

 Will the Minister make sure that HS2 is completely open about its activities, to reassure people living near the line’s route? In particular, will it publish unredacted results of all tests carried out near and under the mid-Chilterns aquifer?
Lord Jones

" HS2 is a nature-positive programme... " Really ??

27-Apr-2021

Jones Hill Wood setback

(Financial) help urgently needed.

22-Apr-2021

Wendover News

HS2 Update and Mitigation Action Group - Sched 17 approvals, Wendover Dean Viaduct

HS2 and Footpaths - Closures and Diversions

20-Apr-2021

Sarah Green wins FoI case

HS2 had claimed that ... if unfinished information was given to the public this could be misleading and involve greater public expenditure to correct false impressions.
The judges rejected these reasons saying that this approach almost entirely negates the possibility of the public having any input on the decision-making process in this kind of case, which goes against a large part of the reason for allowing public access to environmental information. (Change.org, StopHS2 , Hillingdon Green Party )

See also, the full judgement. Followers of our FoI requests page will know that the reasons for refusal which the court rejected are entirely typical of HS2s response to FoI requests, and it may well be worth revisiting some of these, in the light of this judgement.

Jones Hill Wood -

HS2 seek earlier hearing

17-Apr-2021

Jones Hill Wood - injunction at last !

Why do we have to take Natural England to court - rather than rely on their support ? (Save Cubbington Woods)

14-Apr-2021

Bucks turn down A413 closure

Proposals by Align to close the A413 for two entire weekends have been turned down by Bucks ! Keep taking the spinach, Martin !! (Bucks Herald, BFP )

Cavalry fail to arrive ...

It would seem that the injunction anticipated by the Jones Hill Woodland protectors has failed to arrive

Rt Hon Dame Cheryl Gillan MP

We regret to announce the death of our MP, Dame Cheryl Gillan -
a staunch defender of the Chilterns AoNB, and long time opponent of HS2.
At least she will not have to witness the ongoing destruction which she fought so hard to prevent

05-Apr-2021

Chiltern Tunnel Application

HS2 have applied to the Environment Agency for permission to construct the Chiltern Tunnels. Why would they leave it so late ? Surely not because they regard the EA as a useless bunch of tossers, like everyone else ?

02-Apr-2021

Leather Lane reopened

... in time for the holiday, but minus half a dozen trees (BFP)-

Photography - Keith Hoffmeister

The Conservation Board write
"Last week Buckinghamshire Council and the Chilterns Conservation Board met with HS2 Ltd’s designers - EKFB - to challenge them to review and modify their plans. EKFB has accepted this challenge and has now confirmed that they will not be cutting down as many trees as we originally thought."
At least not yet. Unless they move the bridge to the N. side of the lane, many more will go.

Sign the Petition                 Watch the Video                  Support the Crowdfunder

31-Mar-2021

Joe Rukin steps down

After 10 years, he deserves a rest

Natural England roll over & die ...

On 30 March, Natural England issued a bat licence to HS2’s contractors for works at Jones Hill Wood, Buckinghamshire... (More...)

As does a deer -

Killed on the A413; nothing to do with HS2 ??

29-Mar-2021

HS2 a fraud

... it still seems pretty clear that Ministers, Civil Servants and HS2 Ltd employees committed Fraud by Abuse of Position along with a few other things, it’s only right to put some of the issues on the record, especially as many of them have never been reported before (Stop HS2)

26-Mar-2021

HS2 workers attacked near Wendover

Nine HS2 security staff were injured after being attacked by a 30-strong group in Buckinghamshire on Friday night.
The attack took place close to the A413 road at Small Dean, Wendover, and spilled over into the road, police said. One person was taken to hospital after being punched and stamped by the masked assailants, HS2 said.
(Construction News , BFP, Bucks Herald )

We deplore attacks on HS2 security personel, who are mostly harmless. Take out your frustrations on the National Eviction Team.

Of course, by pointing out all that has been achieved through peaceful negotiation -

  •  
  •  
  •   etc

we could argue that there is no place for violent protest.

25-Mar-2021

Wendover News

HS2 mitigation group- concerned residents, local councillors and passionate engineers who have come together on a voluntary basis to investigate the detail of the current HS2 plans

Wendover Cricket Club - has suffered at the hands of HS2 from the outset of the project since 2017. Lengthy delays, u-turns, lack of communication and information until recently, long delays in being reimbursed significant sums of money … Not what you would expect, at all ???

HoL Questions

Risk of Noise exceeding limits, Cost of Old Oak Common (Lord Berkeley)

Chiltern Tunnel Approval

... whether the Environment Agency has given full approval for the construction works of the HS2 Chiltern Tunnel and, if so, when; what risk assessments have been made in connection with this approval in respect of the Chiltern Aquifer
(Lord Berkeley, at the request of the Chiltern Society)
Approval for the construction of the Chilterns Tunnel has not yet been granted, pending the finalisation of the necessary risk assessments and monitoring plans, which are in an advance stage of production and review.
(Baroness Vere)
but they got the important stuff done in good time, like naming the Tunnel Boring Machines

23-Mar-2021

HS2 facing Cost Pressures ! Stop Press !!

  • HS2 rail project is facing 'potential cost pressures' of £800million, minister says
  • Government report blames Euston protesters and effects of Covid pandemic (Daily Mail)

Stephenson said £400m of extra costs are looming “predominately due to slower than expected mobilisation of main works civils contractors, associated with delays to approvals of designs, planning consents, protestor action and some Covid-19 impacts.” (Construction Enquirer)

HS2 6 monthly report

Local Engagement - This January, at the Transport Select Committee, I heard first-hand how HS2 construction is impacting communities. The testimonies I heard were powerful and strengthened my resolute commitment to ensure that HS2 Ltd properly informs and consults communities...

Environmental Impact -The first report of the HS2 Ltd Environmental Sustainability Committee will be published in the autumn. The approach and content of the report will be informed by the Global Reporting Initiative methodology ...
The government has also given a statutory commitment to provide an impact assessment of construction on ancient woodland within the report, building on previously conducted assessments.

22-Mar-2021

Hard times in Denham

  • Denham protesters convicted (BFP)
  • Activists evicted (ITV News)

17-Mar-2021

Felling starts at Leather Lane

Pictures & Social Media links - here;

Great Missenden residents distraught ( BFP ); Stop HS2 ( + Link to BBC London News ); Independent, BFP again

... and stops again ? (19-Mar)

Since felling began on Tuesday, any further felling has come to a halt; most likely caused by the national attention we have created and the fact that HS2 have a lot of questions to answer to. (Change.org)

Crowdfunder -

Please help us to raise money to support Lawyers for Nature and Buxton Solicitors in their continued work to protect all woodland sites surrounding the HS2 project; making them accountable for the criminal destruction of wildlife sustained by the majestic Leather Lane Oaks and all other trees they plan to fell. (GoFundMe )

16-Mar-2021

Bucks fight back !

Buckinghamshire Council has refused to approve lorry route applications for HS2 Ltd due to a lack of relevant information and the Council’s concerns about the impact of increased HGV movements on the A413/A355 corridor from north of Wendover to the M40 at Beaconsfield. (Press Release, Construction Enquirer, Wendover News , BFP)

(The grounds for opposing a Schedule 17 application are very limited - see this presentation)

HS2 to appeal - well I never ... (Bucks Herald) Grant Shapps to decide, so we can be sure of a fair hearing !

15-Mar-2021

Chilterns AoNB - News Update

Jones Hill Wood; Bottom House Farm Lane, River Misbourne; Leather Lane trees

12-Mar-2021

Leather Lane - save the trees

EKFB met with The Lee parish council to discuss Leather Lane - see report, and (EKFB) slides .

"Why can the access road, construction compound and overbridge not be moved to the other side of Leather Lane, which is free of trees?
. If the road was built to the north side of the existing road, it would impact the copse of mature trees to the north west. This decision was part of our environmental assessments when designing the railway, taking into consideration the wider implications in order to come up with the best solution to minimise impacts and preserve as many trees as possible."

B*llocks - the 'copse of mature trees' to the north' is some scruffy woodland around an old chalk pit, which was left outside act limits, & would need filling in (£££!) if the new road went to that side. There was also to be a temporary spoil dump on that side, which is now reduced or removed. The settling ponds and Auto-Transformer station coulld be moved - by anyone with the slightest concern for trees.

 

Save the trees - sign the petition !

27-Feb-2021

Euston Tunnel protest ends

The final anti-HS2 activist in a network of tunnels in London’s Euston Square Gardens has been removed. They were the ninth protester to be removed from the tunnels, which were discovered on January 26. (Standard, StopHS2, Mail )

How HS2 bought the Police force

Back in 2018 a ‘special agreement’ was reached between HS2 Ltd and the National Police Force to avoid the cost implications of delays caused by protesting. They entered into an enhanced police service agreement, in which an organisation (HS2 Ltd) can pay for law-enforcement services. (XR)

26-Feb-2021

Wendover News

  • Action Group - Traffic, Flooding and Noise
  • HS2 and Me - "things had begun to change from the moment they announced the route of HS2. We hadn’t wanted to move but their plans made it inevitable as our home was to go."
  • HS2 Update - Meetings with Rob Butler MP, Lord Berkeley and Lord Randell.
    Transport MisManagement plan ...

23-Feb-2021

Bat Licence ?

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether HS2 has received a bat licence which permits the demolition of trees in Jones Hill Wood, Buckinghamshire; (Lord Berkley)
HS2 Ltd has undertaken surveys of the area of Jones’ Hill wood required for clearance and has sought a licence from Natural England to undertake associated works...
Works which are relevant to licenced approvals will only take place when those licenses and permission are in place.
(Baroness Vere)

16-Feb-2021

Protect Jones Hill Wood - Crowdfunder

See our Jones Hill Wood page

08-Feb-2021

HS2 consultation 'a sham' - well whoda thought it ?

Michael Fabricant has declared that HS2’s consultation which was forced on it by a House of Lords amendment to the legislation for Phase 2a (Birmingham to Crewe) and which was subsequently agreed to by the House of Commons is “a total sham and an insult to those living and working along the route.”
...
“This sly paragraph makes it clear that HS2 do not intend to take the consultation seriously.  This is in breach of the spirit of the law the Government has only just passed and its arrogance has been the hallmark of the way in which HS2 has consistently behaved. (Lichfield Live)

07-Feb-2021

Euston Tunnel Protests

A second anti-HS2 activist has been arrested after voluntarily leaving tunnels dug in secret near Euston station in central London.
Lazer Sandford was one of nine HS2 Rebellion campaigners who went underground on 27 January in protest against the £106bn high-speed project. (BBC; iNews, Standard, Camden New Journal)

27-Jan-2021

Stephenson responds to Chiltern Society report

Wasn't there a rumour about him holding HS2 to account - rather than making feeble excuses for their continuing misbehaviour ?

21-Jan-2021

HS2 now required to declare construction impact on woodlands and local roads -but not ours

HS2 Ltd will be required to publish reports on the scheme’s impact on ancient woodland, as well as giving local authorities more notice about road closures. The new measures are part of amendments made to the West Midlands to Crewe (Phase 2a) bill.
The amendments tabled by the House of Lords have now been passed by MPs. They require HS2 Ltd to publish annual reports regarding the construction impact of each phase of the scheme on ancient woodland. High Speed 2 (HS2) minister Andrew Stephenson said he has also committed to “wider environmental reporting” on the scheme’s impact. “I look forward to the first of these reports being published and I am committed to holding HS2 Ltd to account on environmental matters,” he said. (New Civil Engineer)

So why not introduce the same measures on Phase 1 - lots more lovely reports to look forward to ?

19-Jan-2021

Martin Tett writes to TSC

"I urge the Select Committee to insist that HS2 Ltd and its contractors do as they said they would when they set out their proposals to Parliament. Faced with the delivery phase of this unwanted project, the least we should expect is considerate, well communicated implementation. However, despite the assurances from HS2 that they will be a “good neighbour” we are not currently experiencing that ..." (Bucks.gov, Bucks Herald )

"Both Greg Smith, MP for Buckingham, and Mr Gaskin raised the need for independent oversight of the project and suggested the implementation of local sheriff style appointments, to be told by Mark Thurston, HS2’s CEO, that these roles were already in existence. No-one has seen these officers in Buckinghamshire." (Wendover News

Poors Piece fear eviction

Protestors have voiced concerns after HS2 Activity, including the use of drones to see what they were up to and visits from 'random' passers by suggests they will imminently move in on the site. (Bucks Herald)

15-Jan-2021

Area of Neighbourly Behaviour ?

The Chiltern Society have released a report on the first 8 months under HS2 rule, following Notice to Proceed - circulated to local MPs, members of the Transport Select Committee, and others of the great and good. HS2 is bound to be cancelled on Monday ?

HS2 respond to the petition

The usual collection of lies, half truths and b**locks. Have fun composing a refutation, I dont have time tonight, sorry.

03-Jan-2021

New petition taking off

The latest (admittedly of many) petitions against HS2 is now attracting attention. Stressing the collapse in rail useage, and climate concerns, it requests that the High Speed Rail bills (2016 & 2019) be repealed
(See also - Daily Express, BFP, Bucks Herald, iNews )


SIGN NOW  !                  ASK YOUR FRIENDS TO SIGN  !

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