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HS2 Category archives

HS2 Update December 2017

December 21, 2017

Denham Cropped

I have today published my latest update on the work I am doing on HS2.

I also send this update out via email. If you would like to be added to the mailing list, please email me at nick.hurd.mp@parliament.uk.

Disruption on Harvil Road

Many of you who use Harvil Road will be well aware of the mess that HS2 are making, which in turn has attracted some demonstrators. A number of constituents contacted me to express their horror at the devastation of trees near the site, and I have been in contact with HS2 on their behalf. In essence the trees are being cleared ahead of an “essential” gas pipeline diversion. HS2 are committed to the “re-planting of native trees and shrubs that will compensate for the loss of vegetation removed to facilitate Cadent Gas’ works”. In their words: “The design of the planting will be finalised by our main works contractor during their detailed design process. This will ensure the planting does not clash with the timing and location of future HS2 construction works in the area. The design will be informed by surveys of the trees carried out before they have to be cleared for the necessary utility diversion.”

More detailed information on the works in our area can be found on the HS2 community web portal, which will be updated as the works progress. I will be in contact with the contractor and will be suggesting that they offer a presentation to residents on how this scar on the local landscape will be mitigated.

Hillingdon Outdoor Activities Centre (HOAC)

As you know, we have worked very hard over many years to get HS2 to see sense on HOAC. It was unthinkable that such a valued community facility could be lost, especially given how much it offers young people in terms of valuable outdoor experience and learning. As a result, we persuaded them to give HIllingdon Council a budget of £26.5 million to replace HOAC. Plan A is to relocate HOAC to a disused quarry near Denham roundabout. I visited this site recently with HOAC management, Cllr Jonathan Bianco and Hillingdon officials (above). It is a different site from the current one, with less woodland available now, but everyone agrees that it has great potential. There is still a long way to go but I have a lot more confidence in Hillingdon Council delivering HOAC 2:0 than I do in HS2.

Answers to our questions

For many years, we have all been frustrated by the difficulty of getting good answers from HS2 to quite predictable questions. We are now entering a new phase of our dealings with HS2 as they appoint contractors who will actually deliver the project. It is to these contractors that we will now be turning for better answers over how the mitigation proposals we negotiated will be put into practice. Frustrated by the failure of HS2 to give answers, I had a helpful exchange of letters with John Parrott, their Senior Engagement Manager, to try to find a better way forward. You can read these letters on my website here.

Since then, residents have begun to meet the appointed contractors but continue to express frustration with me about the flow of information. One example is the continued failure of HS2 to decide and communicate the final setting of the power feeder station on Harefield Moor. I will be meeting the Contractors myself to press for greater clarity, and I will be engaging with the new Independent Construction Commissioner, Gareth Epps, whose job it is to investigate any matters that have not reached a satisfactory conclusion through the complaints process. I will share with him and senior HS2 management the continued frustration of residents with how HS2 engages with the community.

Colne Valley 

I know how strongly people feel about the Colne Valley and the impact of the HS2 viaduct. I continue to press HS2 for greater transparency on the process around designing the viaduct, which clearly must involve good engagement with the community that has to live with it. A “specimen design” exists but HS2 have continued to resist making it public, and I will press for that to happen. I am also pushing for more detail on their plans for investing a significant budget for environmental mitigation in the area. In that context, I had a good meeting with the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust who have positive plans for how the beautiful Broadwater lake could be further enhanced both for birds and the public.

Letter to the Senior Engagement Manager, HS2 Ltd

December 18, 2017

HS2 Petition

In the Autumn, I wrote to John Parrott, the Senior Engagement Manager at HS2 Ltd, to outline my dissatisfaction with the way in which HS2 Ltd has been interacting with our local community.

I was particularly concerned that HS2 Ltd had not been able to give meaningful answers to a number of queries that residents had raised about the initial phases of construction work and the appointment of contractors. I also wanted to point out that many people continued to feel excluded from the design and planning processes for key projects such as the Colne Valley Viaduct.

I am pleased to say that I received a thorough response and I am publishing both pieces of correspondence for you to read:

Nick Hurd MP letter to John Parrott

John Parrott response to Nick Hurd MP

HS2 Update September 2017

September 12, 2017

HS2_Train

As you may know, we have been working for some time to finalise a legal agreement with HS2 on the commitments needed to mitigate the impact of HS2 during the construction and operating phase.

I am pleased that we now have an agreement which you can access through this link, both in summary and long form. The main features of the agreement are:

  • The provision of funding up to £26.5m to the council to enable it to relocate Hillingdon Outdoor Activities Centre [HOAC] to Denham Quarry or to another suitable site to be agreed with HS2 Ltd, or to provide an alternative form of outdoor facilities.
  • The imposition of controls in respect of HGV traffic movements on Hillingdon roads.
  • The provision of a local amenity fund to the council.
  • Reconfiguration and reinstatement of Ruislip and Uxbridge golf courses.
  • The Agreement also sets out mitigation measures relating to matters such as air quality, public rights of way, the Ickenham grid supply point and angling on Hillingdon lakes.

I am clear about three things:-

  1. This agreement is a significant improvement on where we started. For example, the proposed peak HGV movements are less than half the first proposal.
  2. This agreement would not have been possible without the commitment made by residents of Ickenham, West Ruislip, and Harefield to petition the House of Commons Select Committee. I know that the evidence presented by us was instrumental in persuading that Committee of the need for significant further mitigation if an extended further tunnel was not possible.
  3. This agreement is a compromise and is not the end story. There remains a lot of detail to nail down and many things to discuss with the contractor who will actually deliver the project.

Further to point 3) I am pressing for a meeting between residents and the appointed contractor to take this conversation to the next stage of detail on how we achieve this mitigation and indeed whether we can go further, for example on traffic movements, in the interests of both HS2 and the Community.

As always, I would welcome your comments. I know that many of you are still on the page of “Scrap HS2″, and while I respect that my working assumption is that it will go ahead, and therefore we need to keep working on this agreement to give ourselves the best possible protection.