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

2022 News >>>


HS2 restore flow to the Misbourne

Water flowing in the (currently dry) winterbourne near the Black Horse PH has been traced back to the Siltbusters across the A413. No way to treat a chalk stream ? (more...)


HS2 respond to FoI request

Fluctuations in the Misbourne, faults in the chalk - see FoI 23-5341


Old Oak Common - Lord Berkeley, Written Answers

  • what proportion of intercity trains are planned to stop at Great Western rail station ? All
  • what estimate they have made of (1) the total cost of construction at Old Oak Common Great Western rail station, and (2) the total time for construction ?
    £1.7Bn, 11 to 14 years
  • Who pays - HS2 or GWR ? HS2
  •  over what time periods rail services to and from Paddington Station will be disrupted due to construction ?
    (Ahh - youve got me there - Lord Gower)


North Chilterns Area update

Usual mix of community projects and road closures ... + a video of the works between S. Heath and Wendover.


More Sinkholes ...

This one is at Hyde End


Bucks Update & Forthcoming Works

Martin Tett, reacted to the announcement of the cancellation of the Birmingham to Manchester section of HS2 by saying, “having suffered all of the pain without any gain’ from Phase 1 of the project, Bucks should now receive significant compensatory investment.


Transport Questions -

( & see Lord Berkeley, 17-Oct-23, statement to HoL;
" What assurances can the Secretary of State give to my constituents in the Chilterns that HS2 Limited and its contractors will be better held to account?" (Sarah Green, 16-Oct-23)


Cancel culture

Latest news on (ex) Phase 2a ; reaction of the Chiltern Conservation Board (9-Oct)


Infrastructure and Projects Authority - Phase 1 ( & 2a ) undeliverable

The latest IPA report finds that "Successful delivery of the project appears to be unachievable. There are major issues with project definition, schedule, budget, quality and/or benefits delivery, which at this stage do not appear to be manageable or resolvable. " Obviously, this had nothing to do with Mark Thurston leaving last week.

A spokesperson for the Department of Transport said: "We remain committed to delivering HS2 in the most cost-effective way for taxpayers."

Last time this happened, nothing changed - so dont expect Jeremy & Richie to turn the money tap off (yet)

( See bbc, Daily Express, Telegraph, ...)





Sarah pops the question ??

I’m pleased that earlier today the Transport Minister agreed to meet with me to hear concerns about the oversight of HS2 (more ...)


Misbourne Sinkhole !

Totally unexpected ground conditions lead to teeny weeny ground reconfiguration in a field near the tunnel ...


Quedstions from Lord Berkeley ...


Ruislip again ...

Does the EA know what is going on ? Apparently not. HS2 might, but aren't saying.


HS2 - Environmental appreciation week

Euston - why were trees felled just before work was paused (Camden New Journal)

Ruislip - another grout fountain at the rugby club (BBC news);
ground conditions are especially “challenging” ( Ground Engineering )

Charndon - Bucks obtain TPO to control HS2 destruction in Sheephouse Wood (BFP )

Almost as if some pattern was emerging ??



Bucks Ccl report ...

To theTransport, Environment & Climate Change Committee (posted here 21st may)


Questions, Questions

From Lord Berkeley ...

  • Q "what capital departmental spending limits are set under the Spring Budget 2023 for the next three years" ?
    A "We are currently working through to finalise our budgets "
  • Q " what percentage of HS2 Phase 1 is complete" ?
    A "Mark Thurston, ... has recently stated that Phase 1 is approximately 40% complete."
    Nah, thats the % of the budget spent ...
  • Q what are the terms of reference of (1) Project Silverlight, and (2) Operation Blue Diamond; 
    A "ongoing   work to develop options ... on how the programme is phased and delivered"
  • Q "what (1) development, (2) design, and (3) construction, activities will be delayed for two years on HS2"
    A "The DfT is continuing to work through the implications of the funding settlement with HS2 Ltd. "
  • Q "how many new bridge structures will be constructed as part of HS2 Phase 1; and of these, how many have been completed." ?
    A "The total number of Bridges on Phase One is 261, 19 of which have been completed to date."
    An answer !! 19 is around 7.5% of 261, if anyone is interested...
  • "what is the percentage completion of construction in respect of HS2 Phase 1 of the Colne Valley Viaduct."
    A "It is not possible to give a percentage completion of the Colne Valley Viaduct as it has structural components that are constructed progressively ..."
  • Q " what is the percentage completion of construction in respect of HS2 Phase 1 of (1) Euston Tunnel, (2) Northolt Tunnel, (3) Chiltern Tunnel, (4) Long Itchington Wood Tunnel, (5) Bromford Tunnel, and (6) cut and cover tunnels."
    A Read it yourself - some bits were answered

Final score - Baroness Vere, 5.5; Lord B, 1.5. Better luck next time ??


Toil & Trouble ?

A new player takes to the Rugby pitch - this one bubbles. More on twitter, concerning the impact on the aquifer, and an FOI request from Mark Kerr - what chemicals are being released ?

An HS2 Ltd spokesperson said that the puddle was caused by air that has been “forced to the surface through waterlogged ground via a pre-existing borehole during tunnelling operations”.
They continued: “During tunnelling operations, our contractors are filling small gaps around the tunnel with grout which sometimes pushes air up to the surface. Additional air may also have escaped via the cutterhead of the TBM.
“Either way, we believe that the small volumes of air have migrated through a second sealed borehole, close to the other one, and as air has got close to the top of the borehole it has found natural gaps in the topsoil and grass of the field.  It is likely to continue for a period of time whilst tunnelling operations continue." (Ground Engineering )


Sometime, Never ?

Transport Update by Mr Mark Harper (where's Huw ??)
In rail, HS2 is making good progress, and we have already spent over £20 billion delivering Phase One (40% completed, allegedly. Original budget - £174 bn)
The Government is committed to delivering HS2 Phase 2a between Birmingham and Crewe. ... we will rephase construction by two years, with an aim to deliver high-speed services to Crewe and the North West as soon as possible. 
We remain committed to delivering HS2 services to Euston, and will address affordability pressures to ensure the overall spending profile is manageable. We will therefore take the time to ensure we have an affordable and deliverable station design, delivering Euston alongside high-speed infrastructure to Manchester. (presumably he means 'at the same time as' ? A pity they just cut the remaining trees down )
These are the difficult but responsible decisions we are taking, that put the priorities of the British people first, in controlling inflation and reducing government debt.

But don't forget - HS2 is on time & on budget

The Birmingham to Crewe leg of high speed railway HS2 will be delayed by two years to cut costs.
Some of the design teams working on the Euston end of the line are also understood to be affected. Transport secretary Mark Harper blamed soaring prices and said it was "committed" to the line linking London, the Midlands and North of England. ( BBC News)


Major Transport Infrastructure

(Adjournment debate) -
Nothing can prepare those communities for the misery they face on a daily basis.(Greg Smith, Buckingham)

Almost every community along the 5.9 miles of railway that are now being built through my constituency, from Aylesbury to Wendover, Stoke Mandeville to Dunsmore, is affected by traffic delays and long diversions, noise and dust—all of it caused by that construction project. (Rob Butler, Aylesbury)

HS2 construction is approaching its peak, and so, regrettably, is the level of disruption, with road closures, lorry movements and both visible and audible signs of construction in affected areas; I recognise that. While some unwelcome impacts on local people are unavoidable in major projects, I am determined as the Minister responsible for rail to ensure that HS2 Ltd and the East West Rail Alliance do their utmost to ensure that impacts are reduced as much as is reasonably possible. (Its Huw, again ...)


Transport Questions

What steps the Government are taking to prevent fraud associated with HS2 ? (Andrea Leadsom)
The Department requires HS2 Ltd to adopt and implement policies and practices to guard against fraud.... (Huw merriman) No Huw - we mean fraud perpetrated by HS2 ...


Foaming at the Mouth - in Ruislip

Locals expressed their concerns after HS2 tunnelling caused a mystery brown foam to spew out of the ground from underneath a west London rugby club.
Work on the controversial project was stopped for several hours on Saturday after dog walkers watched on in horror as the bizarre substance bubbled up at Ruislip RFC on Saturday. (Evening Standard)

Residents and campaigners have raised concerns over potential toxins seeping into the earth during its ongoing construction.
Sarah Green, from the Hillingdon Green Party, said along with residents, she feared a carcinogenic chemical, chromium-6, was being leaked into the environment. (BBC News)

Tunnelling specialist Bill Grose believes HS2 did the right thing by stopping the TBM while investigating and then stabilising the situation before carrying on the tunnelling.
He continued:.... "The TBM will be injecting drilling fluid, ie the foam, at the tunnel face to keep the face stable and to help remove spoil.  The drilling fluid will be under pressure and will therefore exploit any flow route, such as a fissure or other void at a lower pressure.  The borehole, if not fully sealed would provide a route to ground level for the pressurised drilling fluid."( New Civil Engineer )

However -

31 Ground Four essentially relies on the same issues as Ground Two, namely that HS2 has not properly assessed the risks of discharge on the water bodies.... The basis of this argument is that there is a risk of a discharge of a pollutant into the groundwater by reason of the tunnelling, and in particular the risk of grout not gelling and therefore polluting the water.
37 I am satisfied that HS2 and the EA considered the risk of discharge of bentonite and the risk of it getting into the groundwater. They took into account both the nature of the grout and the water environment and concluded that the risk of grout migration (with mitigation) was extremely low. I do not think any arguable point of law arises.
Judgement - Misbourne Environmental Protection vs the EA


Ecological impact underestimated

The wildlife trusts have issued a report showing that due to poor standards and an outdated methodology, the impact of HS2 on nature has been siginificantly underestimated . (Residents of the AoNB reached a similar conclusion by looking out of their windows)

""HS2 Ltd must stop using a deeply flawed method to calculate the value of nature affected by the construction of the route," she said. "It is astonishing that a flagship infrastructure project is able to use a metric which is untested and not fit for purpose." (Dr Rachel Giles, Cheshire Wildlife Trust - BBC report)

"HS2 Ltd has UNDER-estimated the value of nature that will be destroyed. Even worse, they’ve OVER-estimated the effects of planned repair work. " (Twitter)

"Throughout the progression of the HS2 project there has been a core focus on reducing the environmental impact to wildlife habitats and regional ecology. According to a report by the Wildlife Trusts, companies building the controversial rail line have underestimated these impacts due to Inconsistent mapping and modelling." (Rail Tech)



Not so HS2 ?

The number of trains running on HS2 will be almost halved and services will travel more slowly in a proposed shake-up of the £72bn line as ministers scramble to save money. (Telegraph)

Department for Transport (DfT) officials are working through “Project Silverlight” to find cost savings through delays and cuts on HS2 Phase 1, London to Birmingham. It is looking to curb excessive spending by benchmarking costs against other big rail schemes such as the Elizabeth line and HS1.
DfT officials working on “Operation Blue Diamond” are looking for cost-cutting across the entire HS2 project to save money in the next five years. Three suggestions have been put forward by this operation, all of which involve delaying the project by between two and four years. (New Civil Engineer)

Also in the Guardian, Daily Mail - but not the BBC - curious, that.

The tunnel vent shafts are specified so that only one train (in each tunnel) is in the gap between ajacent shafts. Half the number of trains need half as many vent shafts ?

Tony writes

a letter to Jeremy Hunt MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, on how to downsize and descope HS2, cancel its Euston station and leave most of the funding for the railways in the North and Midlands.


Knives out for HS2 - at last

A scoop by Harry Cole in The Sun - " £60billion high-speed rail project may not even go to central LONDON" - which was denied by the Chancellor (Construction News), but not the DfT who admit "HS2 is facing significant inflationary pressures (Belfast Telegraph etc)". Neither Birmingham nor Camden were best pleased, although for different reasons. Lord Berkeley again called for the whole scheme to be scrapped (BFP)


National Eviction Team bailiffs plead guilty -

to charges of affray and #GBH following an incident with #StopHS2 protestors.
(Twitter, ITV news , Leamington Observer) but noone else ??


Pollution in the Colne Valley ?

To ask HMG "how untreated HS2 waste water entered a winterbourne stream in the Colne Valley; and what the chromium levels are in this run-off." (Baroness Jones)

Chromium ? What Chromium ??

what assessment they have made of the levels of chromium-6 found at HS2 sites across the Colne Valley; and whether these are related to cement used in construction works. (Baroness Jones, 19-Jan)
Not sure where the chromium measurements come from ...

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