HS2 Update 2 Jul 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 https://www.amershamsociety.org/topics/hs2/)

This E-update looks at the upcoming Select Committee appearances on the various Chilterns Tunnel proposals and a summary of the Select Committee visits to Buckinghamshire.

Select Committee update

The Select Committee is currently hearing petitioners from London (CFAs 5 and 6) and is scheduled to continue until Wednesday 8 July. From Monday 13 July until Wednesday 22 July the Committee will hear the case for the Chilterns Long Tunnel. This will consist of presentations from local authorities, including Chiltern District Council and Buckinghamshire County Council, from Monday 13 until Thursday 16 July as well as presentations from the Chiltern Ridges HS2 Action Group (CRAG) on Monday 20 July and the Residents Environmental Protection Association (REPA) on Tuesday 21 July. Other petitioners to appear on the Chilterns Long Tunnel are scheduled to include the National Trust and Conserve the Chilterns and Countryside. The most up to date schedule is at http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/hs2/Programme/2015-16/25.6.15_HS2_Committee_programme.pdf.

Following these hearings the Committee is expected to break for summer recess on 21 July. Please note this is all subject to change.

Select Committee Visits to Buckinghamshire

The Select Committee visits to Buckinghamshire took place on the 11 June (Aylesbury Constituency), 22 June (Amersham Constituency) and 26 June (Buckingham Constituency). The feedback we have received is that all of the visits went very well with the Select Committee finding them both useful and informative.

Buckinghamshire County Council in partnership with Local Stakeholders and Local Authorities produced a handout for each of the three days; these can now be found on our website as follows:

11 June handout (Aylesbury constituency): at http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/media/3280820/Day-1-Aylesbury-guide-HI-RES.pdf

22 June handout (Amersham constituency): at http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/media/3280825/Day-2-Chilterns-guide-FINAL-HI-RES.pdf

26 June handout (Buckingham constituency): at http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/media/3280830/Day-3-Buckingham-guide-HI-RES-ii-.pdf

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who contributed to the preparations and/ or turned out for these days. With only about a weeks’ notice for all the visit dates, there was a lot of work to do very quickly. Nevertheless, the turnout was incredible and I hope you all agree that the work paid off, and highlighted to the MPs the level of passion and concern held in Buckinghamshire.

Many of you were taking photos on the day. We would encourage you to consider using some of these in your petition presentations. We are currently considering the best way to collate photos from across the days and hope to make these available in due course.

Colne Valley hearings

On the 8 June 2015 Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC), South Bucks District Council (SBDC) and the Colne Valley Park Community Interest Company (CIC) appeared in front of the HS2 Select Committee. As stated in the previous update, BCC was scheduled to appear on Highways and Ecology issues. On the day of the Select Committee appearance BCC received assurances on Ancient Woodland and on Highways issues. We have requested a number of wording changes, after which we will share with Parishes, Local Members and other stakeholders. Therefore BCC only appeared on non-Ancient Woodland Ecology asks (biodiversity offsetting and habitat displacement).

SBDC appeared on the Colne Valley viaduct design arguing for an International Design Competition to take place for the design of the viaduct. The CIC appeared on a number of issues including the impact on tourism, landscape impacts and sustainable placement.

The full transcripts from these meetings are available at http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/hs2/oral-evidence/2015-16/080615_Uncorrected_PM.pdf and http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/hs2/oral-evidence/2015-16/080615_Uncorrected_Evening.pdf.

HS2 Response to Select Committee Interim Report

The promoter of the HS2 Hybrid Bill (the Secretary of State for Transport) has now responded to the HS2 Select Committees interim report. The interim report itself can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/hs2/Promoter's_Response_to_the_Select_Committee's_First_Special_Report_of_Session_2014_15.pdf. The response from the promoter can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/hs2/Promoter's_Response_to_the_Select_Committee's_First_Special_Report_of_Session_2014_15.pdf

Landscape Report

Buckinghamshire County Council has been working with a number of partners to produce a landscape report on the impacts of HS2. This report sets out the principles we think HS2 Ltd should be adopting in its design of the scheme. This report is now available on our website at http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/media/3198141/A-landscape-led-approach-to-HS2-in-buckinghamshire-and-the-colne-valley.pdf.

Buckinghamshire Compensation and Mitigation Panel (BCMP)

The BCMP meeting planned for 24 June was postponed due to the proximity to the visits. The next meeting will be held on 28 July. This meeting will likely discuss any assurances which the Councils have received by this point; include a highways update; and consider the Chiltern Long Tunnel ask given the July appearances.
Each CFA area has a community representative on the panel who should be feeding back discussions had at 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@bucksccc.gov.uk Tel: 01296 383463

BCC HS2 Webpages: http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/environment/hs2/
HS2 Blueprint MailboxHS2Blueprint@buckscc.gov.uk