HS2 Update 2 November 2015

We have received the following update from the Buckinghamshire County Council HS2 team:

(Note: previous Updates can be found on the Campaigns part of this web site at http://www.amershamsociety.org/index.php/campaigns/hs2-and-links)

This E-update looks at the upcoming HS2 Select Committee hearings and updates on the outcome from Buckinghamshire County Council’s hearings in front of the Committee.

Buckinghamshire County Council Select Committee hearings

Buckinghamshire County Council appeared in front of the HS2 Select Committee on the 12, 13 and 14 October 2015. The issues presented included Ecology, Traffic and Transport, the Community and Environment Fund and the Steeple Claydon and Calvert Mitigation Plan. On each day of the Committee the Council sent out a specific newsletter entitled 'Today at the Committee' and these can be found on our websites news page (at the bottom of the page) at http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/environment/hs2/news/

All of the hearings can be found on the Parliament TV website as follows:

Monday 12 October: at http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/762723eb-88af-46c4-bbd6-266fbab4fe43
Tuesday 13 October: at http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/852277e1-dbc7-4a56-b31f-52457950c4f4
Wednesday 14 October morning: at http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/171ef1d4-4022-4d2b-9f94-b5216cd30028
Wednesday 14 October afternoon: at http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/acc776b7-7a40-4ac6-ad31-5c6fda49b4e5

A number of issues that the Council was scheduled to be heard were either resolved or deferred due to Assurances or ongoing discussions with HS2 Ltd. This was especially relevant to the large number of Traffic and Transport points which we are continuing to progress with HS2 Ltd. We have reserved our right to reappear on these issues if we do not receive a satisfactory outcome.

It is also important to note that the Select Committee has not announced any decisions on topics presented by the Council. The Committee may wait until its final report to announce these which may not be until next year.

Select Committee schedule

The Select Committee is continuing to hear Buckinghamshire petitioners this week including representations from Wendover and South Heath. Chiltern District Council is also scheduled to appear this Wednesday 4 November on noise issues. The Committee then has a site visit to Camden before a recess on the 10, 11 and 12 of November. On returning on the 16 November the Committee will hear a number of Additional Provisions petitioners before returning to Buckinghamshire hearings on the 17 November. The full schedule can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/hs2/Programme/2015-16/30.10.15_Programme_Nov_Dec.pdf

Highways Assurances update

Following our appearance in front of the HS2 Select Committee the Council has secured a draft Assurance which is currently being finalised in detail with HS2 Ltd regarding capacity issues at 20 junctions throughout Buckinghamshire, with a further 40 junctions where safety assessments are required. This will inform the detailed measures that will be required to mitigate the impact of HS2 construction traffic as far as possible, which will need to be agreed by the Council and funded by HS2 Ltd.

The Council is working with HS2 Ltd to find a mechanism that can deliver an extension to the Stoke Mandeville bypass to link into the A413. These discussions are ongoing but delivery of this extension would help to relieve the huge amount of pressure predicted to hit the Aylesbury road network during construction of HS2.

The Council has secured Assurances to assess, and for HS2 Ltd to fund, any mitigation outside schools on construction routes. HS2 Ltd has made a commitment to have regard for the principals contained in “Environmental Guidelines for the Management of Highways in the Chiltern AONB” within the HS2 Ltd’s “Technical Standards – Roads” guidance. The Council has also secured an Assurance to state that the nominated undertaker will discourage all but essential construction traffic from using Turweston Village roads; discussions are ongoing about wording within this Assurance.

The Council has confirmed agreement that the following items will be taken forward through the Highways Subgroup:

  • Strengthening of rural roads prior to construction
  • Repairs to the highway during and post construction
  • Additional burdens on Public Transport, home-to-school

This funding for works will apply to roads and transport along the length of Phase 1 including Buckinghamshire

Remaining Petition points:

Having considered the land needed and design options for the B4443 / A4010 roundabout for the new Stoke Mandeville bypass; we are satisfied that this can be dealt with at detailed design stage. The Council’s request for a shared cycleway and footway on the new Stoke Mandeville bypass remains unresolved and the Council may return to Select Committee on this point, along with other matters that may not be resolved through negotiation on the assurances that have been offered.
HS2 Ltd has agreed to continue to work with the Council to deliver the Wilton Park Diversion / mitigate HS2 construction traffic in Beaconsfield but this does not include funding since the developer has an obligation to deliver the southern section and the County Council has secured funding for the northern section. Our work with HS2 Ltd is to ensure the road is constructed in time to enable HS2 traffic to use the new route rather than the old A355 and the congested London End roundabout.

Please note that at this time all of these points are draft until signed off politically. The County Council will be consulting all local members and relevant stakeholders before taking these through the political sign off procedure.

Non-Transport Assurances

The County Council received a number of assurances from HS2 Ltd on the following topics:

  • Public Rights of Way: including HS2 using the County standards for minimum widths of new or diverted footpaths and bridleways)
  • Ecology: including an extension to the remit of the Ecology review group
  • Waste: including a commitment to adopting a Waste Strategy with a 95% target for reuse of excavated material. It was also confirmed in Committee that the Sustainable Placement site at Shepherds Furze Farm has been removed and will not be used even for temporary storage. This was one of the ten main asks identified in the Buckinghamshire Blueprint.
  • Property: including clarifications on the impacts on Denham Country Park and work to change the land to be used for drainage at Wendover House School to limit impacts on the children at the school.
  • Flood and Water: including re-siting of a number of balancing points and agreement on baseline groundwater conditions.

The County Council will be consulting all local stakeholders on these points before Political sign off. We will then provide a further update on each specific assurance.

Compensation

The Chairman of the Select Committee, Robert Syms MP, has written to all MPs with reference to the Need to Sell Scheme; the letter can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/hs2/Correspondence/2015-16/151027_Letter_from_Chair_to_MPs_re_Need_to_Sell.pdf.

The Chair has also written to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, this letter can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/hs2/Correspondence/2015-16/151027_Letter_from_Chair_to_Mr_Paul_Smee_re_HS2_affected_properties.pdf.

HS2 Engagement Events

Following pressure from Local Authorities, MPs, Action Groups and local communities, HS2 Ltd has now committed to engagement events with affected communities along the route of the line. The first of these took place on the 16 October 2015 at Ballinger.

The next meeting is scheduled for Saturday 7 November from 11am – 4pm at Wendover Memorial Hall, Wharf Road, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6HF

The HS2 Resident’s Commissioner is now asking HS2 Ltd to hold more information events across each CFA in the coming months. When announced these dates will be in a future e-update.

Buckinghamshire Compensation and Mitigation Panel (BCMP)

The next meeting of the BCMP will be held on the 1 December 2015 from 3-5pm. The venue for this will be communicated to members as soon as possible.

Each CFA area has a community representative on the panel who should be feeding back discussions had at the BCMP. If you would like to know who your representative is or you are not receiving feedback from these meetings, it is important that you let us know. Local County Councillors are also invited.

Buckinghamshire County Council HS2 team:

Jackie Copcutt jcopcutt@buckscc.gov.uk Tel: 01296 383793
Darl Sweetland dsweetland@buckscc.gov.uk Tel: 01296 383463
HS2 Blueprint Mailbox HS2Blueprint@buckscc.gov.uk
BCC HS2 Webpages: http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/environment/hs2/