July 17, 2013
Nick was delighted to welcome 11 young people from schools across his Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner constituency to Parliament yesterday afternoon. The Youth Council was established in November 2011 and now meets up to four times each year. As he has recently been given the ministerial responsibility for young people and youth policy, Nick sees the Youth Council as an excellent opportunity for him to hear the views of a range of young people, helping him to understand the issues they care about most.
The areas discussed included youth unemployment and educational choice, as well as more local issues such as safety and opportunities for young people in the constituency. All of the council’s members expressed their opinions, sparking discussion and debate throughout the two-hour meeting. With lively conversations and clear conclusions on the issues they would like Nick to focus on, the members of the Youth Council made the most of the occasion and will no doubt do so again at future meetings!
July 15, 2013
Draft Environmental Statement (DES) Consultation
Response from Nick Hurd Member of Parliament for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner
In response to the Draft Environmental Statement, I am enclosing a summary of the key issues raised by local residents in the constituency of Ruislip Northwood Pinner.
I would like to personally emphasise three specific points:
The projections for movements of HGVS have caused widespread consternation across the area. The clear local view is that the plans have been drawn up with insufficient knowledge of existing traffic conditions on the key roads. The simplest thing that I can say is that the current plans have been misjudged and are unsustainable. My strong recommendation is that project planners go back to the drawing board in terms of a strategy for moving and disposing of spoil from the works.
The premise that HOAC can survive on its current site after the works is wrong. Leaving aside the loss of sailing as an option, the hiatus will mean that parents; schools and other agencies will seek other alternatives. This is a view strongly held by the management of the centre and one that I support. The loss of this much loved community asset will be deeply felt. Therefore, my strong recommendation is that urgent consideration is given to a relocation of the existing centre onto an alternative local site.
HS2 will be aware that for residents living close to the proposed line, the noise of trains is a major issue. There is scepticism around the emphasis placed on average noise. This does not answer the natural question of residents which is "How bad will it be at peak noise? "Again, I strongly urge HS2 to go further in engaging with the residents in Ickenham and Harefield that will be directly affected.
Summary of Key Issues
General Points arising from DES
Ickenham Residents Association (IR) is concerned by the Draft Environmental Statement. The organisation argues that the document omits comments on peak noise, construction noise, air quality, journey times (during construction) and economic impact.
Ruislip Residents’ Association (RRA) are concerned that a lot of important information is absent in the DES. The group argues that much of the information presented is the worst case scenario with no suggestions for mitigation. A few omissions:
• Ruislip Conservation Area is shown about 1/3 its actual area
• 2.1.9 omits Ruislip, Ruislip Manor, Eastcote and Ickenham Underground stations
• 2.1.11 omits the major local routes of Swakeleys Road and Breakspear Road South
• The DES does not make any mention of the Phase 2 work planned in the area.
Heathrow Spurs and Link
IR is also concerned by the plans for the Heathrow to Euston Spur. The service specification on which the business case is based shows no usage of this spur. (The service specification shows 4 trains per hour (combined directions) on the Heathrow-North spur). As this London facing ‘spur’ has been cited as a reason for not extending the tunnel beyond Ickenham this is a very critical issue for Ickenham.
Disruption during the construction phase including Traffic and Transport
West Ruislip and Harvil Road show heavy dependency upon HGV movements. The roads in Ickenham & Ruislip are already heavily congested.
Harefield Tenants and Residents’ Association (HTRA) point out that residents have not been given a realistic pass-by decibel level for a train as it passes approx 10-15m overhead as local residents on Moorhall Road or the Grand Union Canal towpath will constantly have the noise.
Ruislip Village Conservation Area and Ruislip, Northwood and Eastcote Local History Society angered to hear that the construction traffic will be using Ruislip High Street for a number of years. The High Street forms part of the Conservation Area including the ancient buildings around St Martin’s Church and at Manor Farm. Has this been proposed and what will be arranged to reduce impact? There has been considerable local concern that there has not been a trial run to see whether the roads/traffic can take this pressure.
Swakeleys Road is now often grid locked during any incident on the A40 / M25 often pushes extra traffic through Ickenham. Many are concerned by the large number of lorries that will travel through the area.
Paragraph 2.3.7 Draft Environmental Statement Community Forum Area Report for South Ruislip to Ickenham states that tunnelling and removal of excavated material will be carried out 24/7. Residents are angry and RRA suggests that the schedule should be in off peak hours.
Paragraph 12.5.18 of DES6 the states that the closure of Breakspear Road South would lead to an additional journey time of 6 minutes. RRA report there are often bottlenecks here and therefore 6 minutes is massive underestimate. When the new under-bridge is built for HS2 it should allow for future road widening, as Breakspear Road South is probably the only north-south road in the area that could be widened in the future. It also needs to allow for pedestrian and cycle pathways.
The DES also leaves open the question of the impact upon emergency services. It does not make reference to whether police, ambulance and fire services been consulted.
Through the Community Forums residents have been told that construction time for creating the Ruislip tunnel would be 5 years; the statement now says 7 years and this does not take into account the Heathrow spurs should they go ahead.
Residents were told that the tunnel waste extracted would be removed by rail; although the statement still includes the possibility of the railhead it describes a scenario where the waste will be removed by road along Harvil Road and Swakeleys Road towards the A40. Lorries from the West Ruislip tunnel portal construction will also use Swakeleys Road towards the A40 meaning over 3200 movements a day on roads which today cannot cope with the commuting traffic. Not only does this have significant impact on air quality and noise it affects the livelihoods of people each day trying to get to their jobs. People in Northwood, Pinner, and Harrow who use Ickenham as a route to jobs in Heathrow and Uxbridge need to be told that they are also going to suffer. Temporary closures of Breakspear Road South and Harvil Road during the construction period will cause further chaos.
We were told that construction sites would be north of the Chiltern Line; the Statement now describes a major site between Harvil Road and Breakspear Road South. Waste extract will be dumped around Brackenbury House – one of England’s ancient monuments. This construction site will impact many more households in Ickenham and there is no analysis of the air and noise pollution.
IR raise the point that there is no noise pollution data on 24 hour movement of waste extracted from tunnels, handling of waste at Harvil Road site and construction traffic. The Draft Environmental Statement is completely lacking in data on the impact on air quality of construction traffic, 24 hour movement of waste extracted from tunnel, handling of waste at Harvil Road site, diesel refuelling facilities.
There is also little information regarding the locations of the proposed spoil dumps.
The dES suggest that some of the Colne Valley lakes may need to be drained. The lakes are home to some of London’s most important bird populations and contain a site of special scientific interest. The scheme will also result in the loss of ancient woodland and large areas of the countryside.
There is also an issue surrounding Ickenham Stream. There is no information on the amount of open watercourse to be lost, nor how this will be done. There is no information on the interconnecting habitats.
Disruption to HOAC, West Ruislip Golf Club and Ruislip Rifle Club
The viaduct results in the loss of important businesses and community facilities. In particular the highly respected and well used Hillingdon Outdoor Activity Centre which cater for about 20,000 individual young people per year with about total 40,000 annual visits.
The local area will also suffer greatly from the loss of Ruislip Rifle Club and the disruption to West Ruislip Golf Club. The dES does not offer any form of mitigation for this provision.
There are some specific concerns regarding cultural heritage particularly the impact of the viaduct on Harefield. Para 6.5.7 covers comments on the residual impact of the construction of the viaduct on Cultural Heritage it notes that the construction would have no long term residual effects, but in the same section notes that Dews Farm and archaeology on the route would be demolished or removed.
The impact of the viaduct on the setting of the Widewater Lock CA and on views from the open fields on the lower, north western slopes and open areas of the Harefield Village CA does not seem to have been fully considered.
Experience of the process including Community Forums
Many residents felt somewhat disenfranchised by the community forum process and as a result do not feel they have had a positive experience with HS2 Ltd. Residents in Harefield were particularly dismayed that there was initially no “official” copy of the DES documents into Harefield Library.
HAH2 want HS2 to re-run another local event. Anger that the most recent HS2 Ltd consultation event for the South Ruislip and Ickenham area was held in Perivale. HAH2 state that not everyone uses social media and will not choose to follow HS2.
Residents also expressed concerns that events organised by HS2 are poorly advertised (no posters, not every house received fliers). A recent HAH2 meeting had 700 people.
July 3, 2013
Since I was elected in 2005, my staff and I have been able to offer hundreds of people the opportunity to come and witness the grandeur of the Houses of Parliament on one of our organised tours free of charge. It is now with pleasure that I can announce that the tours office has now started Tactile Tours for blind and visually impaired visitors. The Tactile Tours follow a route covering Westminster Hall, Central Lobby and the chambers of both the House of Commons and House of Lords, and visitors get the opportunity to explore various tactile objects before the tour starts. This is where visitors can arrange to be met by a tour guide to help them get a real feel and sense of the building and its history. There will also be opportunities to explore objects and furniture on the tour route itself.
The tours office runs this special tour between 10-12 times per year, usually late on Friday afternoon, and it lasts approximately 120 minutes. So, if you are interested and a UK resident, please contact my office in Westminster so we can take it further. I would also add that we still offer standard tours of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. However, please be aware that Big Ben tours are extremely popular so patience and flexibility in dates are required.