Written evidence from the Ruislip Residents'
Association (HSR 55)|
I write to you on behalf of Ruislip Residents' Association.
We represent the people of Ruislip, a London suburb in the Borough
of Hillingdon, with over 8,000 households. The proposed route
for HS2 passes through Ruislip and causes great concern to our
members. We recognise that your Enquiry is concerned with the
broad issues surrounding the proposals. We wish to submit the
following such factors that appear of particular significance
to us, or cause local concern.
1. ENQUIRY QUESTION
(i) Electricity supply
The proposals do not identify the source of electricity
for HS2. We regard that as a priority factor that must be resolved
before HS2 decisions are taken.
(ii) HS2 Fares
The proposals are based on increased demand from
leisure usage, but that will only be achieved if fares are attractive
to this market. Otherwise the necessary traffic volume will not
be achieved. Projected estimates of income are therefore considered
over-optimistic by our members.
(iii) Impact on national social factors
A policy of using local labour, local materials and
British components would benefit the local and national economy,
impacting on both employment and welfare benefit factors and in
part justifying the heavy financial burden of implementing the
proposals. An avowed policy of buying British when possible could
be a powerful spur to British innovation and invention, to meet
the EU competition rules.
(iv) Hybrid trains
If the proposals go ahead we urge that hybrid trains
are the norm, in order to permit seamless interchange with domestic
and continental routes. Although initially an expensive option,
a policy of gradual introduction across all UK lines would promise
the high volume necessary to reassure manufacturers and reduce
(v) Training courses for young people
Again, if the proposals go ahead, we urge the early
introduction of training courses for young people in skills related
to high speed networks, both to provide a trained workforce for
implementation of HS2 and similar developments, and to provide
young people with worthwhile careers.
2. ENQUIRY QUESTION
4The strategic route
There is strong local support for the alternative
Heathrow route, Route 1.5, which we urge should be re-examined
should be a priority to include Heathrow from Day One to boost
the national economy. increase flexibility of operation, Heathrow
should be on a through route, not a spur or terminal. That is
supported by evidence from continental experience.
of Heathrow from Day One would reduce both total costs and local
disruption in the Northolt-West Ruislip corridor.
(ii) Old Oak Common
We urge that if a station is built at Old Oak Common
it should allow interconnection with the London Underground's
Central Line as well as HS2, GWRML and Crossrailwhich would
greatly enhance rail travel options for people of West London
and reduce strains on Euston Station.
(b) HS2 and HS1 linkage
We believe that this link should be introduced as
soon as possible, to reinforce the vision of HS2 as part of an
international network and as a boost to tourism in Britain, an
important source of national income and employment.
(c) Routing through residential areas
We believe that the personal impact on residents
living near a high speed line has been under-considered and that
the consequent financial impact would be much higher than admitted
in the business case.
(i) Personal impact
during line construction: Even
if personnel and materials were conveyed by rail rather than road,
the rebuilding of road bridges in suburban areas would cause huge
public inconvenience during the HS2 line-construction phase.
In Hillingdon in general and
Ruislip in particular, in consequence of east/west railway lines
from central London, there is poor road access between the north
and south of our Borough, and we already suffer regular and severe
traffic problems on our major highways. The prospect of the proposed
HS2 route requiring bridges to be rebuilt across all our major
north/south access routes causes widespread dismay. Reconstructing
any one bridge would hugely exacerbate existing traffic problems
on alternative routes and since it would be essential to limit
construction to one bridge at a time the total construction period
would run into years of misery for local people.
Noise and vibration caused by operation
of high speed trains: Noise
and vibration factors are expected to have far reaching impact
on those who live near the route. It is stated policy that compulsory
purchase will be applied to the minimum of properties. In consequence,
if the proposals go ahead, large numbers of families will continue
to live in their current homes, trapped there since no one will
want to buy their properties, a consequence which is already seriously
reducing property values.
In Ruislip, a densely populated area,
this means that large numbers of local people are threatened by
the HS2 proposals, since noise and vibration factors impact on
properties a substantial distance from the line, threatening a
reduced quality of life for occupiers, and a reduction in the
financial value of properties acquired from a lifetime of investment.
Many residents of all ages expect to
have to stay indoors behind triple-glazed windows, even in summer,
with adults unable to relax in their gardens and children unable
to play outside. Sleep patterns are likely to be disrupted, particularly
for children. These and other chronic stress factors can lead
to poor mental and physical health, poor educational attainment,
and can contribute to breakdown of families.
impact of the line and its noise barriers: Poor
visual outlook, loss of light and sunshine are all depressing
factors, with potential for adverse impacts on health. Large numbers
of mature trees are threatened and they must be replaced by suitable
alternatives which are compatible with the overhead power lines
required by HS2.
response: Fear of the above factors has
already caused the formation of very volatile and assertive community
groups along the suburban section of the proposed HS2 route through
London. Increased public anger and disquiet is to be expected
if the proposals go ahead as the local populations become increasingly
aware of the threats. Whether that has the potential to boil over
into civil unrest is unclear. Political consequences should be
(ii) Financial consequences of routing through
We believe that a number of financial factors have
not been adequately considered or costed:
Extension of compensation: In
order to placate community fears it would be necessary to very
considerably extend the compensation packages for residents continuing
to live near the line, who would suffer permanent problems related
to the operation of the line as well as loss of property values.
We believe that the number of suburban homes in this category
has been grossly underestimated.
Mitigation of noise, vibration and
visual factors: Here too we believe that community
unrest would make it necessary to spend considerably more
than envisaged on both mitigating physical factors and compensating
those for whom no satisfactory mitigation could be provided.
Extension of compulsory purchases:
The total number of compulsorily purchases
envisaged for the whole route is unbelievably small. Large numbers
of appeals are to be expected from people who believe they should
be enabled to vacate their properties without financial loss.
Also out-of-date maps were used in initial assessments of which
properties would need to be demolished, and in our own area there
have been recent expensive developments along the route, which
would almost certainly also qualify for compulsory purchase.
(iii) Alternative options
In view of the factors outlined above, we believe
that there should be re-evaluation of the options for routing
HS2 through the London suburbs.
A tunnelled route: This, at a
stroke, would remove the majority of adverse personal impacts
noted above and the additional costs of a tunnelled route would
be offset in part by the unconsidered financial costs also noted
aboveas well as bringing substantial community benefits.
We have noted elsewhere our support for HS2 to be routed via Heathrow
from Day One. We believe there is a strong case for that option
in its own right but, since that options always accepted that
the route would run in a tunnel out of London to beyond Heathrow,
if it were accepted it would also deal with all the separate issues
arising out of the currently preferred surface route through London
suburbs. That option seems to us to have huge combined attractions
and we ask that it is given very serious consideration if the
underlying justification for HS2 is agreed by the Transport Select