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.
- 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.