HS2 Update 7 Dec 2014

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/)

Over the past couple of weeks the Select Committee have continued to hear petitioners, with a number of members of the public representing themselves. The committee members have also been on a site visit to HS1. This update will provide further details on the Select Committee, including advice regarding joining up petitioners.

Select Committee decisions

If you have watched any Select Committee appearances you might have noticed that the Select Committee do not make decisions immediately. Instead they wait until they have heard numerous petitioners, or for convenient times, before they make any decisions.

On 26 November the Select Committee announced their first decisions:

  • They rejected a tunnel proposal in Birmingham proposed by the British Car Auctions.
  • They accepted HS2 Ltd’s offer to prepare a paper on the property bond proposal.
  • A number of petitioners have argued on farm land-take. The Select Committee stated that they may come back to these broad issues, but they encourage HS2 Ltd to work up a licence model. This should allow farmers to retain a right of access and inspection onto land being acquired temporarily.

The full transcript for this session can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/hs2/26_11_14_HS2_Committee_Chair’s_statement.pdf.

Additional Provisions

In September HS2 Ltd released a number of additional provisions. These are amendments to the Bill and can be petitioned on. 31 of the 42 petitions on the additional provisions released so far are from petitioners in Buckinghamshire, and the full list can be found at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cmhs2/addpetitions/addpetcontents.htm.

We will include details of any other additional provisions in future updates.

Joint petitioners

On the 27 October the chairman of the Select Committee announced that they:

‘..are very keen to see petitioners in groups according to their locality, and where possible for them to appoint a lead petitioner to handle admissible issues to avoid repetition.’

We continue to encourage petitioners to group together as much as possible, and have been working at the recent local area meetings to co-ordinate petitioners. If more than one petitioner would like to appear on the same point, we suggest that they either appear as a witness on this point, or ensure they put a personal perspective on the point to ensure there is no repetition.

Register of undertakings and assurances

In October the Counsel for HS2 said that the first version of the Register of Undertakings and Assurances would be published online by the end of the year. Once this is online we will circulate a link to the document in our updates.

Damage valuation of the AONB

In support of HS2AA, REPA and CCB, Bluespace Thinking Ltd have developed a method of valuing the AONB. They hope to use this approach to put a more accurate value on the AONB, compared to HS2 Ltd who has valued it largely as low grade farmland. In order to complete this work they require assistance from residents to complete a survey. If you are interested in being involved please contact Hilary Wharf or Malcolm Griffiths at hilarywharf@hs2actionalliance.org or malcolmdgriffiths@gmail.com.

Buckinghamshire Compensation and Mitigation Panel (BCMP)

In previous e-updates we have discussed the desire to reconvene the BCMP. Last week we held a meeting to discuss the remit and membership of this panel, and all agreed that it would be good to restart these meetings as we enter a period of negotiation and preparation for the Select Committee. Local County Councillors will also be invited to these meetings. We really want these meetings to be representative so it is important that members attend and also feedback to their Community Forum Area members.

Comments made by Damian Green MP on experiences of high speed rail

Damian Green, MP for Ashford in Kent has made a number of comments and recommendations to the Select Committee based on experiences from HS1. He stated that experience of construction had been quite bad in some cases, whereas operation had presented fewer issues.

He recommended that a complaints commissioner with the powers to influence the behaviour of the promoter and contractors would be beneficial. He also stated that contractors should treat residents differently to their business partners, for example during negotiations. He finished by saying that there should be funding for fixed smallscale sensitive issues, and a small claims procedure for addressing irritant issues. Further detail on his comments can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/hs2/Comments_by_Damien_Green_MP.pdf.

HS2 local area meetings

Over the past couple of weeks we have held a number of meetings on preparing and presenting evidence for the Select Committee. We hope those who have attended these meetings have found them helpful. The final meeting for Calvert to Chetwode is on the 10 December at 6.30pm in Botolph Claydon. There are still spaces available, so if you would like to attend please email HS2Blueprint@buckscc.gov.uk to book your place. Please note that the main part of these meetings is not area specific, so if you were unable to attend the meeting in your area you are welcome to book for the 10th.

Drop-in sessions
As mentioned at the Summit, in the New Year we will be holding a number of drop-in sessions at County Hall, Aylesbury. Within reason, we will be able to help with any queries you have about the scheme and/or petitioning. However, following discussions over the last few months, we anticipate that the following may be useful:

  • An opportunity for people to look at/use our hard copy maps
  • ICT/PowerPoint tips
  • Specific queries on Select Committee appearance or negotiations
  • Co-ordination – an opportunity for a few petitioners to get together and discuss a point

We currently have the following dates booked:

  • 23 January 13.00 – 16.30
  • 27 January 16.00 – 18.30
  • 17 February 15.00 – 18.00

Over the next few weeks, please email Sarah at HS2Blueprint@buckscc.gov.uk if you would like to register your interest. Please state what you would like to cover, and how much time you think you would like. If these sessions are popular we will look into other dates too.

Warwickshire County Council assurances

Warwickshire County Council has received a letter outlining a number of assurances from HS2 Ltd. This document can be found at http://apps.warwickshire.gov.uk/api/documents/WCCC-688-173, and includes transport, ecology and public access assurances. The document will be considered by Warwickshire County Council before any binding agreements are made.

Buckinghamshire County Council HS2 team:

Jackie Copcutt jcopcutt@buckscc.gov.uk Tel: 01296 383793
Alex Day alexday@buckscc.gov.uk Tel: 01296 382409
HS2 Blueprint Mailbox HS2Blueprint@buckscc.gov.uk
BCC HS2 Webpages: http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/environm