Construction Works
in the AONB


North Chiltern Newsletter

A glimpse of the delights in store, for the next few months

What are they up to ?

There is a whole lot of planning going on, with a conspicuous lack of public engagement. Not many holes dug yet. See HS2Watch for construction site information (when available), or to make a complaint (to HS2). The Chilterns & South Bucks website lists schedule 17 applications recieved, and other local information. Works should be carried out in accordance with the Community Engagement Strategy (which has lots of nice pictures, so thats OK), and the Environmental minimum requirements, which includes the Code of Construction Practice .

Independent Construction Commissioner

 The Government has appointed an Independent Construction Commissioner (interim incumbent - Garth Epps) to assist with complaints arising from the construction of the railway. NB Any complaint must be made to HS2 in the first instance - see above.

"The Commissioner’s role is to provide independent, impartial decisions. This will be important in ensuring a fair and balanced approach to cases that cannot be resolved through the normal complaints process. The Construction Commissioner will also be able to provide advice to members of the public on how to complain."

He has produced three reports - in November 2016, April 2017 and September 2017 .

Local Transport Management Plan (LTMP)

The LTMP is being created by the Traffic Liaison Group, chaired by the HS2 (Central) traffic manager (Chris Casey). Members are from Bucks, Oxon & Northants CCs + Transport for Bucks & Thames Valley police.

Some minutes have been distributed to local councils (who asked for them), but none are published, as far as I am aware. The LTMP will be based on the Phase 1 Route Wide Traffic Management Plan. This makes no reference to traffic displaced onto alternative routes as a result of HS2 construction - evidently not their problem ?

Local Environment Management Plan (LEMP)

High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd and its consultant have produced Local Environmental Management Plans (LEMPs), a requirement under the Code of Construction Practice (CoCP). These plans are specific to each local authority area along the Phase One route. 20 LEMPs were published on 5th July (2017) & can be found here. Of local interest are

Executive summary -

"Everything will be lovely, where reasonably practical"

Independent HS2 Design Panel

"The Design Panel will provide independent advice and critique of the development of HS2 to help achieve its Design Vision."

conveyed in confidence to HS2, and HS2 will share the advice with external stakeholders, partners or more widely in the public domain; while HS2 will be biased to openly sharing design panel advice, the design panel will also provide a safe environment for early stage design discussions to take place in confidence

Really ?

Key Environmentally Sensitive Sites

As part of the LEMPs the Environmental Memorandum  requires the Nominated Undertaker to prepare site specific management plans for 'Key Environmentally Sensitive Worksites'

Those 5 worksites are 

  1. Colne Valley,
  2. Chilterns AONB,
  3. Berkswell Marsh,
  4. Bernwood Forest,  and 
  5. Radstone and Helmdon disused railway.

In response to an FOI request, these documents were not disclosed, since consultations are ongoing.

Chilterns AONB review group

This has representatives from HS2, CDC, AVDC, BCC, Chilterns Conservation Board, Natural England & is chaired by someone from DfT. Minutes from 8 meetings (April 2016-March 2017) are published here . A draft design guide has been commissioned from Land Use Consultants -

"the vision presented by the design guide is for the HS2 corridor through the Chilterns AONB to be a beautiful, resilient and connected landscape" (March 2017)

so they are presumably going to build the railway somewhere else.

The draft guide is now available (Dec 2017) - see Chilterns AONB Review page for details.

Colne Valley Regional Park Panel

This comprises

Minutes of meetings since October 2015 are linked from this page, first published Jan 2016 (well done !)

Planning Context reports

"... provide an overview of the High Speed Two (HS2) Phase One works in each local authority area."

[This document ] sets out the proposed programme for making requests under Schedule 17 to the HS2 Act. This document also meets the requirement of paragraph 9.2 of the High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Planning Memorandum (the “Planning Memorandum”), which states that the ‘…report is to include an indication of the location of the scheduled and non-scheduled works to which requests for approval are expected to relate.’

Contains a brief summary of the Environmental Statement, a table of dates for "Schedule 17" (planning) requests, and a reissue of the construction maps.

See this page for the full set, or download (pdfs) for Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern District, South Bucks .

What can Bucks CC do about it ?

Even as a 'Qualifying Authority', Bucks CC can do very little to regulate HS2 construction - see this presentation. The works which have been authorised ("Schedule 17 Approvals") are listed on the Councils HS2 Information website.