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

2021 News >>>

28-Jun-2022

Future events

Amersham Headhouse presentation, Leather Lane Bat Walk - see our Events page

22-Jun-2022

Wendover News

From the Wendover HS2 group

08-Jun-2022

EA halt work on the Wendover Green Tunnel (?)

"We understand that the Environment Agency has stopped any work on constructing the Green Tunnel and North Cutting due to inadequate mitigation for the Aquifer impact" (Wendover News)
So what has got into the EA ? Someone spiked their drink ??

North Chiltern Newsletter

HS2 set out the delights in store for the summer/autumn environment wrecking season

02-Jun-2022 - Roundup

Leather Lane

Significant progress made, at a meeting with EKFB, and other news

Ancient Woodland Transplantation doesn't work

"while plants grew in the translocated soil, the character of woodland at the receptor site was ‘profoundly altered’ from that of the donor site." (Felix, 31-May)

But we knew that ...

'Transplanted' Ancient Woodland, Bowood Lane

FOI fail

Has the Cabinet Office prevented the Public Accounts Committee from investigating HS2 funds ? They won't say.

Wildlife Trusts

The Wildlife Trusts are concerned that HS2 Ltd is threatening to prevent people’s right to peaceful protest with a legal bid this week. (see HS2 Injunction below)

12-May-2022

Chiltern Tunnel Fire

...was on a vehicle that transports workers into the tunnel to work on the tunnel-boring machine (TBM). While transporting three workers ... the car caught fire. The workers removed themselves safely from the car and attempted to extinguish the fire, but the engine exploded about 1.6km from the TBM.

The three workers followed safety procedures and sheltered within Cecilia’s safety chamber. Once the fire was extinguished and the situation under control, they were removed safely from the tunnel. Reportedly, they were within the safety chamber for a full 15 hours, from 7pm on Tuesday night until 10am on Wednesday morning (Construction News)

Sounds like a long walk in a tunnel filling with smoke ?

08-Apr-2022

Sarah Green MP criticises HS2 approach

"HS2 Ltd is failing to communicate transparently, exacerbating the already strained relationship with communities, who feel they are having this project imposed on them.
HS2 Ltd was treating interactions with people and environment like a tick-box exercise and doing only the bare minimum, she said. (BFP)

04-Apr-2022

Train Noise

what steps they will take to reduce train noise ... if it is found to be in excess of Environmental Minimal Requirements.
(Lord Berkeley)
in line with HS2 noise policy, all reasonable and practicable mitigation measures would be considered, with specific regard to acoustic performance, value for money, blah blah (ie, SFA)

Reuse of haul roads

what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allowing (a) haul and (b) service roads used in the construction of HS2 to become part of the active travel infrastructure once they are no longer in use. (Ruth Cadbury)
I have asked HS2 Ltd to explore the potential for the re-purposing of temporary construction routes into vehicle-free connections between rural communities that could connect with emerging local authority cycling and walking routes
Just the place for a quiet stroll in the countryside. NB there is no provision for noise abatement for recreational users of nearby areas.

03-Apr-2022

Latest Leather Lane campaign news - here

Residents 'a nuisance' warns watchdog

The firm behind HS2 has treated concerned residents as a "nuisance" and with a "lack of respect" rather than properly addressing their complaints, an official watchdog has warned.  He issued a report concluding that the firm was "dishonest, misleading and inconsistent" in its dealings with a family whose home it was attempting to purchase
(Daily Telegraph)

Smalldean Lane and the A413 (Ongoing)

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Obstructing the Highway ?

Following a long running campaign to have Smalldean Lane reopened, EKFB refused to do so, forcing pedestrians and cyclists onto the A413. EKFB then denied responsibility for the state of the road -
The safety of the A413 and the level of traffic on the A413 is not related to the HS2 project and therefore I would advise that you raise any safety concerns with Transport for Buckinghamshire. Many other vehicles and lorries use this road that are not operating on HS2 business.” - which prompted an examination of the works, since the proximity of the security fencing to the carriageway forces pedestrians into close proximity to fast traffic with a high proportion of HGVs. The fencing has been constructed on what was previously the footpath beside the road, a contravention of Sec. 137 of the 1980 Highways Act, and a criminal offence.

This report records the position of the fencing, and the relevant legislation (which has not been suspended within the HS2 act limits) It was submitted to Thames Valley Police, who declined to investigate, saying it was a matter for Transport for Bucks. TfB declined to investigate, suggesting that we contact the HS2 helpdesk (seriously ?) , who sent a reply from EKFB, saying that everything was legal - but without attempting to refute any of the points in the original complaint.

This prompted a further complaint against Thames Valley Police, and TfB, for failing to enforce the law. We are currently awaiting their response. We have no evidence to suggest that either of these bodies have actually taken the trouble to visit the site - but why hurry, it will be there for several years ?

02-Apr-2022

Leather Lane Oaks

Despite lack of support from DEFRA, the campaign has now reached a critical phase - see our Leather Lane page for details, and what you can do to help.

30-Mar-2022

Sarah Green - Easter Adjournment debate

Chalk Streams, HS2 & the Aquifer, Ukraine ...
" HS2 is being constructed with a complete lack of consideration for the environments it is destroying and people it is impacting"

HS2 seek an injunction against - everyone ?

HS2 sent an Email to everyone on the Stop HS2 directory ( + a few more) - but regrettably, they can't manage an Email account, let alone build a railway -
"A subsequent email was sent today at 15:37 which contained the N11 Defence Form.  Unfortunately within that second email your email address (with those of the other recipients) was included in the TO box rather than the BCC box meaning that your email address remained visible"

The Injunction applies to
"PERSONS UNKNOWN ENTERING OR REMAINING WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE CLAIMANTS ON, IN OR UNDER LAND ACQUIRED OR HELD BY THE CLAIMANTS IN CONNECTION WITH THE HIGH SPEED TWO RAILWAY SCHEME SHOWN COLOURED PINK, GREEN AND BLUE ON THE PLAN ANNEXED TO THE APPLICATION NOTICE (“THE HS2 LAND”) " (No need to shout !!)
All of it ? Everyone ? Plus 60 or so named defendants.

If you are an unknown person, pop along to the hearing (5th April, 10:30 am, Birmingham). Bit late to submit your defence, pity about that.

Will it stand up in court ??

Little Missenden Headhouse design approved

Having taken all of the feedback into account, HS2 Ltd submitted new, detailed plans... - for the way that it will mitigate the impact of the compound on the surrounding area. (New Civil Engineer )

24-Mar-2022

Jones Hill Wood - planning update

Let's dig a few ponds beside the dead trees

21-Mar-2022

DfT - Written Answers

"if he will take steps to require HS2 to reduce the avoidable mortality of trees it plants;" (Rachael Maskell) 
HS2 Ltd expects plant failures across its construction sites to be within the best practice guidance range of 5-15%.

Lord Berkeley -

"whether conventional UK passenger trains will be able to use the same platforms without modification" (TW4U)

"whether HS2 trains will be capable of using the standard UK Network Rail station platforms without modification." (TW4U)

"what is the expected time saving for (1) boarding, and (2) disembarking," (TW4U)

"which stations (1) on HS2 lines, or (2) elsewhere, will have platform heights of 1115mm above rail." (TW4U)

"what is the latest budget estimate for the Old Oak Common station on the Great Western Main Line; how many platform faces are included; and whether this is included in the overall HS2 budget as set out in the integrated Rail Plan." (TW4U)     £1.67bn (2019 prices)

"what is the latest design for the HS2 tracks and approach tunnels for Euston station." (TW4U)

"what assessment they have made of the stability of Parkway Tunnel and of the approach tracks to the Network Rail Euston station during the construction of the HS2 caverns and tunnels directly underneath; and what steps they have taken to guarantee that there will be no disruption to the rail services into and out of the Network Rail Euston station during the construction of these HS2 works." (TW4U)
"the Parkway Tunnels and Network Rail's railway tracks and systems have been the subject of Ground Movement Assessments by the HS2 Main Works Civils Contractor. The output of this assessment is currently being reviewed."

"how many HS2 station platforms are currently planned for its Euston station; how many trains per hour they can accommodate;" (TW4U)

Bucks HS2 update

The date for the Judicial Review on Buckinghamshire Council’s appeals against six HS2 lorry route decisions has been confirmed as 8-9 June 2022.

17-Mar-2022

Parliamentary Question

Will the Minister for HS2 please remind HS2 Ltd that its pledge to be a good neighbour is not just a slogan, and that it demands action? (Rob Butler, Aylesbury)

16-Mar-2022

Report to Parliament

Rocket Man reports "I can confirm that the project remains within budget and schedule in delivering Phase One (London – West Midlands) and Phase 2a (West Midlands – Crewe)," Would that be the official or actual budget ?

In his six month report to parliament yesterday, Andrew Stephenson said HS2 had used up an additional £500m of its £5.6bn contingency fund since his last update. (Building)

Independent Construction Commissioner report

"Construction traffic remains an issue of contention in Buckinghamshire and I remain in close contact with the communities and the contractors in this area."

New community engagement strategy

Old platitudes revisited

20-Feb-2022

Schedule 17 Submissions

Applications have been submitted for works between the North Portal (South Heath) and (almost) Leather Lane - see our user friendly guide (under arrangement)

Leather Lane Campaign

Have written a letter to DEFRA asking them to intervene to preserve the wildlife corridor - more

10-Feb-2022

Smalldean Conveyor

"As part of our plan to reduce HGV traffic on the local road network, EKFB will be constructing a conveyor system to move excavated materials across the A413, London Road" (Works Notice, BFP)

Just as well, the Environmental Statement scheme was undeliverable - 600 HGVs / day turning right from Rocky Lane ?? (AP4)

Wendover Tunnel - try again

 whether they will publish (1) the cost/benefit analysis, and (2) the additional independent analyses, on which they and HS2 Ltd based their decision to build a viaduct rather than a tunnel at Wendover. (Lord Berkeley)
No (Baroness Vere)

03-Feb-2022

BCR and Phase 2

... what steps his Department is taking to ensure the potential impact on cost, schedule and benefits of decisions made during parliamentary scrutiny of the HS2 Phase 2 hybrid bills is considered when making future decisions on the project as a whole, (Sarah Green MP)
Waffle (Rocket Man)

South Northants

 He will be aware that ever more areas of South Northamptonshire are now being ruined and dug up just in preparation for the line. What steps can he take to make sure that they do not become a place for fly-tipping (Andrea Leadsom, Banbury Guardian)
HS2 Ltd takes its responsibilities to secure and maintain land along the line of route extremely seriously... (Rocket man again)

30-Jan-2022

Wendover Tunnel

Why no Transport and Works order for Wendover ? (Lord Berkeley)
Usual Excuse (Baroness Vere)

Phase 1 planning forum (Nov 2021 - minutes just released !)

DW (WNC) noted that EMR Annex 1 and Code of Construction Practice section 5.1.2 states that regular meetings are to take place between contractor, nominated undertaker, LPA and representatives of the local community (Who, Us ??). He was not aware that such meetings are taking place. SG (HS2) to provide a response to the query at the next Planning Forum. Watch this space !

12-Jan-2022

Put on your Green tinted specs, its the Environmental Sustainability report -

April 2020-March 2021. 9 months to make it look halfway presentable ? Obviously, its all going really well, the badgers are really pleased to leave their smelly old setts for HS2. Bats - 2 mentions, Green Bridges - none (we forgot to build any ...) Jones Hill Wood ? see p20

and an Environmental Policy statement -

Objectives - Green Corridor
Create a resilient green corridor for both nature and people, that will conserve and enhance habitats, seek to achieve biodiversity gains through partnership working while designing mitigation to integrate into the character of the landscape
while dividing habitats in half from London to Birmingham

Community Experience Where reasonably practicable, minimise adverse impacts of HS2 construction and operation on people and the environment ... i.e. only when it doesn't cost us

HS2 to be powered by zero carbon energy ...

HS2 Ltd will work towards being zero carbon from 2035 through a number of new targets. They include:

  • Using 100% zero carbon electricity generation to power its trains – making journeys on HS2 zero carbon for emissions from ‘day one’.

HS2 presents the new FFe filter, to reject all those dirty fossil fuel electrons. Services will be suspended on calm days.

 

10-Jan-2022

Integrated Stations ?

...what steps his Department is taking to ensure HS2 stations are closely integrated within existing transport infrastructure (Sarah Green MP)
Work continues to ensure that HS2 stations across all phases are effectively integrated, through engagement with key partners (Rocket Man) (but without necessarily positioning the stations anywhere convenient)

01-Jan-2022

A happy and uneventful new year to you all -

- where reasonably practical.

- except Boris

'I hereby formally request you as Prime Minister to investigate my complaints [regarding a potential breach of the Ministerial Code - nothing to do with parties] in an independent manner... (Tony Berkeley)

Earlier News >>>