March 2014 Monthly Archives

HS2 Environmental Statement Response

March 31, 2014

HS2_Train

Please find here a copy of my own response to the latest HS2 consultation on the Environmental impacts of the project – if it should go ahead.

As you will see, I have not pulled any punches in describing the statement as “incomplete and inadequate”.

For convenience, I have extracted my conclusion:

Conclusion and way forward

I hope it is clear that my concerns are not just about the very damaging local impacts of HS2 and the lack of an effective mitigation strategy. I am also very frustrated by how this process has been conducted and the sense that big decisions have been taken in a rush. In key areas such as traffic, there is real concern that the impacts on congestion and pollution have been understated. The community can see no benefit from the soil dump strategy and reject it. Serious mitigation options have been put forward by the community and rejected, with inadequate explanation. There continues to be key information gaps in important areas such as peak noise. The result is a complete breakdown of trust between community and HS2.

The way forward

1. Tunnel extensions
The most effective way of avoiding these very damaging impacts is to extend the proposed tunnel. The preferred option is to extend to the other side of the Colne Valley. I have requested serious consideration of this in a joint letter with local MPs. It is the solution favoured by the London Borough of Hillingdon in their submission. It is even recommended in the submission from the London Assembly. The response that I received was full of technical difficulties about the length of tunnel and the clear suggestion was that it had not been looked at seriously. However as many residents have pointed out, we managed to overcome much bigger challenges with the Channel Tunnel. The fact is that almost everything is possible from an engineering point of view if there is the will and the budget. Even if this ambitious option is not possible, we should have a detailed explanation of why not. More serious consideration appears to have been given to the option of a shorter and cheaper extension that would protect Ickenham from much of the damage. However it too has been dismissed up to this point, which is disappointing.
In this context, I have written to the Chairman of HS2 asking him to review the decision to include the Heathrow Spur in the Phase 2 of HS2. This letter was co signed by local MPs who agree that no business case has ever been made and there is a strong case for discarding the option now. This would free the wider area from a second phase of blight and disruption. It would free up significant budget over the life of the project and it would reduce the complexity and cost associated with the tunnel extension that we will continue to seek.

2. Accelerate work on mitigating loss of amenity 
People who use and manage community assets at risk need to know where they stand. In particular, I would urge an acceleration of the work to explore the feasibility of relocating HOAC.
I would urge HS2 to work with the London Borough of Hillingdon and other agencies to consider a mitigation strategy for loss of landscape and habitat that is more coherent and provides some solutions that will have an impact over shorter time frames. This should include high levels of ambition around the quality of design for the viaduct. It should also include the screening of new compounds and substations.

3. Re- examine the soil placement and traffic strategy
Given that this strategy was put together in a hurry and the information is incomplete, I would urge HS2 to cooperate fully with the community to explain assumptions in more detail and be challenged on them. I would also urge a more comprehensive and transparent review of options in relation to the disposal of excavated soil.

4. A more generous approach to compensation
Finally I cannot talk about the need for more effective mitigation without returning to the need for a fairer compensation offer for homeowners suffering property blight in areas that are not currently being considered for a property bond. The arguments are set out in my response to the compensation consultation.

Best regards,

Nick Hurd

Nick Hurd MP pedals his way through the corridors of Parliament for Sport Relief 2014

March 10, 2014

MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner, Nick Hurd, is encouraging everyone to get fundraising and to sign up to the first-ever Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games this year after attending the official Sport Relief 2014 Parliamentary launch reception.

At the event, MPs and Peers were given the opportunity to get involved in the ‘Parliamentary Pedal’ challenge – Nick Hurd MP completed the challenge of cycling half a mile on an exercise bike in 1 minute 13.43 seconds beating a number of other colleagues. He said: “The Parliamentary Pedal was great fun and I hope I can encourage others to get out there and fundraise – whether that is through involvement in the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games, purchasing some of the great merchandise or donating.”

As well as getting on the bicycles for Sport Relief, Nick Hurd MP met James Cracknell, British rowing champion and double Olympic gold medallist. Nick Hurd MP said: “Taking part in the Sainsbury’s Parliamentary Pedal has been great. Sport Relief is an amazing event, and the cash you raise can change lives at home and abroad. I would encourage everyone in the constituency to get involved.”

Sarah Warby, Marketing Director at Sainsbury’s said: “We’re really proud of our Sport Relief sponsorship and pleased to see so many MPs taking part in our Parliamentary Pedal. Sainsbury’s has raised over £74 million since 1999 and this year, we are really excited to be sponsoring the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games. We’re hoping to get 160,000 people involved with running, swimming or cycling at events across the country to raise money for Sport Relief.”

Kevin Cahill, Chief Executive of Comic Relief said: “It’s been fantastic to see so many MPs take part in the Sainsbury’s Parliamentary Pedal. We hope the support that Nick Hurd MP has given to Sport Relief will inspire their constituents to do their bit at the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games to help raise money and change lives on the doorstop in the UK and around the world.”

The Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games take place from Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd March 2014 and the public can join in the fun by running, swimming or cycling their way to raising cash at over a thousand venues around the country. To find out where your nearest event is taking place, visit http://www.sportrelief.com/event-info/enter-now.