September 12, 2017
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:-
- This agreement is a significant improvement on where we started. For example, the proposed peak HGV movements are less than half the first proposal.
- 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.
- 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.
December 2, 2016
New Government pressing on with HS2
The new Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, has confirmed that the Government intends to press ahead with HS2.
Proposed Heathrow spur is dead
The original HS2 proposal contained a link to Heathrow Airport, which would have created even more damage and blight in the area. I campaigned with local MPs against this so-called “spur” as there was no business case for it. We won the argument; however, the government were minded to keep an option open. However, I am pleased to confirm that the Transport Minister, Andrew Jones, wrote to me over the summer to confirm that they no longer intended to make “passive provision” for the link. You can see the letter here. So the Heathrow Spur is dead.
HOAC relocation approaching a decision
It took time but we persuaded HS2 that HOAC could not survive on the current site if HS2 went ahead. This would have been a huge loss to the thousands of young people who get so much out what is a very special facility. HS2 committed to finding and funding a relocation option, and a planning application has gone in for development of a site in Denham, which the management team are comfortable with. Decisions are expected by the end of October.
HS2 continue to oppose tunnel extension
For many years, we have made the argument that the simplest answer to all the local problems generated by HS2 is to extend the proposed tunnel. HS2 are dead against that option and managed to persuade the House of Commons Select Committee that it was too expensive an option. We persuaded the last Secretary of State to set up a working group to include Hillingdon Council, to look at the costings again, and we pressed for an independent review of its findings. The group has finished its work, and the new Secretary of State has written to me advising that he is minded not to support the tunnel extension on grounds of cost. However, he has asked one of the Departments’ independent non-executive directors to review the costings.
Some progress made on reducing traffic and soil dumps
As a result of our petitioning, HS2 agreed to work with TfL and Hillingdon Council to consider new options for reducing peak HGV movements on key roads to a max 550 per day and to reduce the number of soil dumps. Their report was published over the summer, and you can access it here. The Secretary of State has confirmed that in principle he would like to accept the main recommendations. This is welcome but we continue to press for confirmation that other options, such as a haul road, remain in play.
This is my most recent correspondence with the Secretary of State and the response I have got back from the Minister who leads on HS2.
Next stop: House of Lords
MPs have regrettably not been allowed to present petitions to the House of Lords Committee. The Council and some resident groups will be presenting petitions on behalf of the community in the House of Lords, probably in mid-November. Boris Johnson and I have invited the Committee to see the area for themselves ahead of those petitions and that invitation has been accepted.
In short, we carry on the fight to get proper local protection from HS2.
Please do not hesitate to contact me, if I can be of help or if you have a view.
May 31, 2016
Along with seven other MPs who have had their locus standi challenged by HS2 Ltd in the House of Lords, I have written to the Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd, Simon Kirby to raise concerns about the democratic process being followed. You can find a copy of the letter here.
Also of interest will be the programme for the first round of locus standi hearings from Tuesday 7th – Thursday 9th. This can be found here.
We are still waiting to hear when Hillingdon’s locus standi challenges will be heard and I will update you as soon as we hear.