HS2 Update 23 Jan 2016

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 recent HS2 Select Committee hearings including the combined appearance of the Buckinghamshire Council’s on 20 January 2016.

Select Committee Appearance and Agreements 20 January 2016
The text of the press release that the County Council issued on 22nd January can be found at the end of this Update.

Select Committee schedule

The Select Committee is nearing the end of its hearings. AP5 hearings are currently scheduled to take place at the beginning of February with the last day of hearings currently scheduled for 3 February 2016. Following the completion of its hearings the Committee will present its findings in an end of Committee report.

A HS2 Committee programme from the 11 January to 3 February can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/hs2/Programme/2015-16/15.01.16_Programme_Jan_Feb2016.pdf.

Select Committee Visit to Iver

The site proposed for the relocation of the Heathrow Express Depot in Langley was visited by 4 Members of the HS2 Select Committee on Monday 11 January 2016. The MPs also visited the highly impacted villages of Iver, Richings Park and Slough. The Committee heard about the existing HGV problem in Iver, how HS2 and other proposed schemes will exacerbate this problem and the aspirations for a relief road for the village. Local MPs Dominic Grieve and Fiona Mactaggart accompanied the visit.

Community and Business fund chair appointed

Cathy Elliott has been appointed as the independent chair of the panel overseeing the HS2 Community and Business funds. She is currently the Chief Executive of Community Foundations for Lancashire and Merseyside. The £30 million fund is aimed at providing additional support to communities ‘demonstrably disrupted by the construction of the planned high speed rail link between London and the West Midlands’. The fund is split into two schemes the Community and Environment Fund and the Business and Local Economy Fund. The County Council appeared in October 2015 in front of the Select Committee to set out how £30 million was an inadequate amount given the huge impact along the length of the line. The full story can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chair-recruited-for-30m-hs2-community-and-business-funds.

Buckinghamshire County Council HS2 Summit

The County Council will be holding a HS2 Summit on 24 March 2016 from (9.30 to 12.30) at Green Park, Aston Clinton, HP22 5NE. There are 150 places available at this event on a first come first served basis. Please email HS2Blueprint@buckscc.gov.uk to reserve your place.

Additional Provisions 5

The Additional Provisions 5 and Supplementary Environmental Statement 4 were published in December. The majority of changes within Buckinghamshire relate to the diversion of utility supplies. However there is a major change in the form of an extension to the Wendover Green Tunnel (which forms part of the Supplementary Environmental Statement for AP5). The deadline for petitioning was 8 January 2016. Some 25 AP5 petitions were submitted against AP5, these can be found at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cmhs2/addpetitions5/addpetcontents5.htm. The promoter has challenged 13 of these petitions, the list of those challenged can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/hs2/AP5_Locus_Challenges.pdf.

The County Council’s petition said that we were not convinced that the tunnel extension by 100m appropriately addressed noise and landscape impacts. The petition continues to support the community’s request for a mined or bored tunnel as part of a full bored tunnel through the AONB. The fall back would be an appropriately mitigated further extension of the green tunnel to the south. The Council also highlighted that HS2 have not provided details of the noise insulation they have said they would provide for St. Mary’s Church or the Wendover Campus School. The Councils petition can be found at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cmhs2/addpetitions5/AP500019_Redacted.pdf.

Buckinghamshire Compensation and Mitigation Panel (BCMP)

A meeting of the BCMP took place on Tuesday 1 December. At this meeting members discussed Additional Provisions 5, the recent Select Committee hearings and the impact of changes in the Wendover area. The date for the next meeting is 27 January, 14.00-16.00.

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.

Other News

Parliamentary committee to investigate report into HS2 complaints –details can be found at http://www.infrastructure-intelligence.com/article/jan-2016/parliamentary-committee-investigate-report-hs2-complaints?utm_medium=email&utm_source=transactional&utm_campaign=weekly-email.

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

Text of the press release that the County Council issued on 22nd January

HS2 concedes more mitigation measures to Buckinghamshire

A raft of additional mitigation measures and funding to reduce the impacts of High Speed 2 has been secured for Buckinghamshire.

The hard-won concessions came on Wednesday (20 January) in an eleventh hour offer from HS2 Ltd, when Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC) was back in front of the Commons HS2 Select Committee.

The County Council, working with district and parish councils, had made submissions to the Select Committee in October, which won mitigation measures for damage and disruption the high-speed rail line is expected to cause.
These included flood alleviation and monitoring measures, rights-of-way changes, school and public transport concessions, a pledge to recycle 95% of construction, demolition and excavation waste, and the removal of two controversial spoil dump sites from the plan.

Since then, said Leader Martin Tett, the County Council had been in tough negotiations with HS2 Ltd to secure measures required to further mitigate the damage and disruption that will be caused by the HS2 project. Martin said many millions of pounds would have to be earmarked by HS2 to pay for 19 additional assurances to problems the County Council and community partners had raised with the HS2 scheme. The County Council’s complete list of proposed mitigation measures for negotiation was based on the ‘Buckinghamshire Blueprint’, drawn up with the community and presented to the Government, including personal copies to Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne.

Martin said October’s offer of assurances came after many months of hard-fought negotiations by the County Council. Now, in addition, it has secured the major financial package, including £1 million for additional local mitigation and community use in the Steeple Claydon and Calvert areas. The concessions also allow the County Council to put forward an alternative to a controversial ‘haul’ road for HS2 construction traffic at Great Missenden. At Iver HS2 has agreed to work with other major rail and road schemes to minimise damage and disruption.

One key area could not be agreed, said Martin: the County Council remains convinced that a fully bored tunnel through the Chilterns remains the best solution for Wendover and the AONB, a measure for which the Select Committee is not yet convinced by the evidence. The Select Committee has asked HS2 to look at extending a ‘green tunnel’ near Wendover, but Martin said the County Council believed HS2 had not yet adequately met the Select Committee’s request. In particular, he said, the Council did not believe a convincing package of mitigation measures had been proposed to deal with anticipated noise problems for St Mary’s Church, The Chiltern Way Federation Wendover Campus School and residents to the north of Wendover.

Martin said: ‘While we are obviously disappointed at not yet convincing the Select Committee of the need for a fully bored tunnel through the Chilterns, I do think we have secured some real wins for Bucks. ‘There is good news for Great Missenden with the prospect of the haul road being moved and for Steeple Claydon with the removal of the spoil tip and moving of rail sidings, and an extra £1m for the community to spend in the local area. For Iver, the Transport Appraisal begins the job of hopefully bringing some relief from excess traffic. ‘Along the route we have made significant gains and I am proud of the way that parish, town, district and county councils have worked together to win these hard-fought concessions.’

Background notes

Details of the final mitigation offer from HS2:

  • HS2 has agreed to assess 71 listed road junctions and construction routes up and down the county where the council has either capacity or safety concerns. Where HS2 construction traffic is assessed to have an impact on those junctions then HS2 Ltd will pay for appropriate mitigation, such as temporary junction widening and improvements to junctions with signals, ahead of the main civil engineering works.
  • A further contribution of £480,000 has been secured for safety measures along the A4010 (Risborough-Aylesbury road) and A4129 (Risborough-Thame road) where these are to be used as a HS2 construction route.
  • The council also expressed concern that the Stoke Mandeville Bypass between the B4443 Lower Road and the A4010 Risborough Road will worsen traffic along the B4443 Lower Road and the Aylesbury Gyratory. HS2 Ltd has now agreed to fund BCC £150,000 toward the cost of the council undertaking transport modelling to establish the design of an extension to the Bypass.
  • HS2 Ltd will contribute the full cost of bridging the Aylesbury to Marylebone railway line.
  • HS2 Ltd has also agreed to fund £470,000 for a walking and cycling route along the realigned A4010 Stoke Mandeville Bypass.
  • The council also asked HS2 Ltd to provide an underpass on the Risborough to Aylesbury line and to secure the Network Rail approvals, which would then allow the council to construct a road, as part of an around Aylesbury network, in the future.
  • BCC also asked for funding towards additional CCTV cameras to link to its Automated Traffic Information System (ATIS) to help monitor and manage congestion in urban areas. HS2 Ltd has agreed to make available funding of £300,000.
  • The council also requested public access to land in south west Aylesbury in order to meet its aspiration of an Aylesbury Linear Park. A financial contribution of £500,000 has been offered by HS2 Ltd.
  • The proposed major Infrastructure Maintenance Depot (IMD) at Steeple Claydon and Calvert is a particular concern for the council. HS2 Ltd recognises that the construction and operation needs to be managed carefully in close consultation with the local councils and the local community. HS2 Ltd has agreed to provide a £1m fund, in addition to agreed mitigation measures for the area.
  • The council also raised the proposed increased car parking provision at the IMD and HS2 Ltd has said it will aim to reduce the size of this at the detailed design stage.
  • The council also asked for the provision of a surfaced cycle-way at Calvert, which has been agreed.
  • Two major issues dominated the eleventh-hour negotiations and were particularly tough to reach agreement on:
  • The council expressed concern regarding the impacts on Iver village, not only from HS2 but also from other major transport schemes in the area, making even worse the existing Heavy Goods Vehicle congestion. HS2 eventually agreed it would work with the other transport projects and each would make a ‘proportionate contribution’ towards mitigation measures. These would be based on a ‘Transport Appraisal’ to be funded by HS2. The County Council believes that an Iver Relief Road may provide the solution and HS2 Ltd has offered to meet up to £1,420,000 of future potential costs.
  • Local communities in Great Missenden and Prestwood expressed their concerns to the council about the proposal to provide a haul road for construction traffic from the Link Road roundabout on the A413. The council asked that an alternative haul road be provided further north. HS2 Ltd has agreed to this, subject to the council securing the necessary consents and that any alternative proposal doesn’t increase the cost.