As you are probably aware HS2 has been in discussion with Community Forums for some time now and through a series of meetings various possible mitigation measures have been put to HS2 by the Community Forums. A summary of these suggestions are detailed in the Bucks County Council “Buckinghamshire’s Mitigation Blueprint for HS2” Copies of the document can be found at :-
After some months now HS2 have finally published their Draft Environmental Statement and this document now details the types of mitigation measures that HS2 are proposing to take forward. Of course, as you would probably expect, now that the Draft Environmental Statement has been published there appears to be a marked difference in the amount of mitigation measures that the Community Forums would like and the amount of mitigation measures that HS2 are proposing to take forward. In the coming weeks more detail is likely to become evident and there will be a series of local consultation events. It is important that these consultation events are well attended and your feelings made known. In addition if you are not happy with the mitigation measures being proposed by HS2 that you should respond to the consultation. If you do not respond HS2 and the government will assume that you are happy with their proposals.
If you would also like to email your concerns to our Parish Councillor Mark Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org he can take these to the next Community Forum meetings and will also pass them onto our County Councillors and District Councillors.
HS2 Judicial Review results likely next week
According to press reports, judgements in the five legal cases brought against the Government over HS2 at the High Court in December are expected on Friday 15 March. Two of the legal cases were brought by the HS2 Action Alliance (HS2AA), on behalf of communities the length of the route, including Wendover. One case concerned environmental issues, the other was about obtaining fair compensation for those affected by HS2. In both cases, HS2AA argued that the Government has failed to follow proper processes. The other legal challenges were brought by 51M (the consortium of local councils opposed to HS2), Heathrow Hub Ltd and Aylesbury Park Golf Club.
Film screening to highlight HS2 impact
On Friday 22 March, Wendover HS2 Action Group will be hosting two showings of a new 40-minute film highlighting the devastation of the countryside that would result from HS2. The screenings will take place at 7pm and 8.15pm at Wendover Library Meeting Room.
Entrance is free, but donations to our campaign funds will be welcome.
The film, produced by Keith Hoffmeister with commentary from actor Geoffrey Palmer OBE, follows the whole length of the 140 mile route from London to the West Midlands. From inner city homes near Euston to the beautiful ancient woodland of rural England, this film shows what will be lost if HS2 goes ahead as proposed.
We hope to see you there. If you can help distribute posters about this event, please contact Antony Chapman on 01296 623730 or at email@example.com
Wendover HS2 Campaign Team
Andrew Douglas Bate would like to hear from you now. His email address is Here
HS2 Footpaths - Use them now or lose them
HS2 are carrying out surveys to see how many people use the footpaths that cross the railway route and as you can see these will be on Sundays between 8am and 6pm. If anyone is thinking of taking the dog or just themselves for a walk it would be nice if they walked from Bishopstone to Stoke Mandeville. If the survey indicates that the footpaths and rights of way are not used they may be lost.
see www.stophs2.org for more details
Red-Amber Faces for HS2's rating at the Department of Transport
£70,000 pa figure per HS2 business passenger described as "potty"
HS2 figures "shocking, biased and bonkers" says Public Accounts Committee chair
HS2 Select Committee
HS2 – The Transport Select Committee Report
Some Observations by Nigel Shepherd (chairman of HS2 Amersham Action Group, Deputy Chairman of AGAHST, Action Groups Against High Speed Two). Previously: Head of Transport Research at the Social Research Institute at Ipsos Mori, Associate Director at Faber Maunsell, Principal Consultant at Steer Davies Gleave (the last two being leading transport consultancies).
The Parliamentary Select Committee has just published its detailed findings on what the Government describe as ‘controversial proposals’ on HS2. I am tempted to ask is this the ‘end of the beginning’ or the ‘beginning of the end’. Perhaps it is neither, just like the spin being put on this report by the Westminster publicity machine, to me it looks pretty much like ‘back to the beginning’ - let’s hope so.
If you believed the headlines in the media on the morning of Tuesday 8th November you could be forgiven for believing that this important Parliamentary committee has come down in favour of the current HS2 proposals – it hasn’t. It has in fact quite clinically dissected the current proposals and hung them out to dry. What it has done, and what most opponents to HS2 would agree with, it has come out in favour of High Speed Rail as a concept and in favour of the principle that our strategic infrastructure is tired and old and needs upgrading.
In doing so, it has levelled a series of criticisms of HS2 Ltd, the Department for Transport, and the Government generally that, taken in the round, are a crying indictment of arrogance and incompetence on the grand scale. Let me expand on this; in the opening paragraph to its conclusions and recommendations section (page 55 of the report) the Committee has unambiguously stated that any assessment of the merits of the scheme is hampered by the absence of a ‘transport strategy’. Apparently to some, the Prime Minister and previous Secretary of State for Transport included, the lack of a properly thought out strategy doesn’t appear to be a problem, but to those of us who have taken the time and trouble to look into this matter, and now the Parliamentary Select Committee, it is a fundamental flaw.
Just to be clear, the Government is proposing to spend £32 billion on a single transport scheme that may or may not help develop the North (the committee’s conclusion). In reality it is a transport scheme of questionable merit, that will only be used by a relatively small proportion of the population(mostly senior business men); without first considering the alternatives, without first properly considering the needs of the many. If it wasn’t true it could be the plot line for a Tom Sharp novel, or a Discworld story perhaps.
It should be noted that the last full review of our transport infrastructure, back in 2006 (the Eddington Report), came to the unambiguous conclusion that there wasn’t a case for high speed rail. What has changed between then and now to alter that? In transport terms very little. In political and economic terms, we now inhabit a very different place, and judging it on the basis of this report, it is one that is just a little bit surreal.
Almost whatever aspect of the Government’s HS2 proposals the committee looked at raises challenging issues. Whilst singly, none of them are a ‘show stopper’, taken all together the Government will find it very difficult to sell this ill conceived, and poorly managed, scheme to a sceptical public. In the rest of this short piece I review some of the points the committee make in their report.
One of the key themes in the report is the need for continued spending on less glamorous rail projects that the committee says ‘many believe’ have long been under funded. Interestingly, they throw down a challenge to the Government which in their own words will be an ‘acid test’ of their commitment to the rest of the rail network. That test will be next July (the date of the ‘High Level Output Specification – 2014 to 2019). What does this mean to the HS2 project? In effect the committee is saying that the HS2 project needs to be part of a larger scheme of infrastructure projects if it is to deliver the benefits that are promised.
On the face of it that seems straightforward, however, given the economic realities at the moment this would appear to be improbable (only last week ago the Government indicated it was unwilling to fully fund a major rail upgrade in Manchester, the so called ‘Northern Hub’). The truth is that the Government can hardly afford HS2, let alone a long list of other and equally important projects.
Time. Time has been at the centre of one of the most contentious issues in this debate. The Government has put a very high value on time saved travelling (not just for business people, but leisure travellers as well). Quite rightly the committee has questioned this and recommended that alternative methods of calculation are used instead of, or along side, the existing ones. Those of us opposed to this scheme are delighted by this apparently small point – as it has the potential to light up those dark corners of detail that will, in the end, show the weakness of the case for the current scheme.
Train frequency has been another point of contention. How many trains the line can take has a very big impact on the financial viability of the current project and in order to make the numbers work the Government has chosen 18 trains per hour. Nowhere in the world has this been achieved and in France they only have 13. The committee has called for the Government to justify its case – this is something many of us have been trying to get the Government to do for a long time, perhaps there is a reason for the Government’s reticence, we await with interest their response to this demand.
The route. The report questions why the choice of a maximum speed of 250 mph, that makes it a very high speed line which, in consequence, places severe limitations on its flexibility (it has to go in straight lines, irrespective of the countryside it is cutting through). The committee also called for the business case to assign a monetary value to the rural landscape it will despoil, undoubtedly impacting the business case. Importantly they then go on to say that HS2 Ltd should reconsider its proposed route, taking the above into account, and place greater emphasis on following existing transport corridors. The message is very clear – the design speed needs to be rethought and that has a big impact on the choice of route.
All in all, the lack of a proper transport strategy and the above points, and others, add up to calling on the Department of Transport to ‘go back to the drawing board’. The headlines may have been spun, but the devil, for the Government, really is in the detail. There is nothing wrong with improving our strategic rail infrastructure, there is nothing wrong with high speed rail, but there is everything wrong with the current HS2 project and the ineptitude of the Department of Transport.
HS2 high speed rail link flawed, says think tank
A report by the Institute of Economic Affairs said HS2 will require a £1,000 contribution per income taxpayer and is not commercially viable. See More Here
Notes from Stone with Bishopstone and Hartwell Parish Council
Public Consultation is now taking place on the viability of HS2 – here is a further opportunity to make your opinions known, for or against.
If HS2 is approved it will cover up to a quarter mile wide strip passing within two fields of most of the eastern part of the parish, causing years of disruption and blight even before the line is opened. Most of our homes and our quality of life will be affected. HS2 will pass by without stopping and therefore will do nothing for the travel needs of this area. It has been suggested that the relief road for the building of the crossing of the A418 with the railway should go down through Sedrup Green and up Sedrup Lane, exiting at the Bugle – probably for up to two years.
Apart from the local effect you may feel that the whole concept of a high speed train is flawed, unaffordable and unsustainable for this country at this time, and that such a huge budget could be spent more profitably elsewhere. If you believe that HS2 is unacceptable for either national or local reasons please sign the petition – we have already submitted well over 1000 names from this parish. The petition is available to sign in the Harrow pub.
Even if you have signed the petition you must also now respond to the Consultation Document.
Here is a copy of the summary report which includes the response questionnaire. You can also respond on line (see below). We attach some suggestions to help you to reply to each question. Our suggestions are guidelines - feel free to interpret them as you wish as long as you answer YES or NO as we advise. PLEASE DO THIS BEFORE JULY 29th – this is supposed to be a public consultation and if the public – i.e. us - do not respond, the way will be clear for HS2 wherever it is routed. Of course, if you support HS2, you should also complete the questions.
http://highspeedrail.dft.gov.uk (to respond online)
The official consultation road shows have taken place, but you can get more information from the protest group StopHS2 – just Google StopHS2 and you will get masses of advice and information.
The deadline for response is Friday July 29th 2011
More information is available at the HS2 protest office in Back Street, Wendover, open Tuesdays/Thursdays and Saturdays 10am-4pm 07822 532598
Your Parish Council’s stance is to wholeheartedly support the objections of Aylesbury Vale District Council and Buckinghamshire County Council. Please ring the clerk for further help.
Stone Parish Council: Clerk Christine Jensen 01296 626073 firstname.lastname@example.org Or call your local Parish Councillor for Bishopstone which is Jason Aldous (07990540985 mailto:email@example.com) or Mark Turner (07899986338 firstname.lastname@example.org).