43.We began our hearings with petitions from central Birmingham. Principal issues were the design and configuration of Curzon Street station and land use there and to the east. Our interim report of 2014–15 emphasised the need for connectivity through and across the station to accommodate the needs of adjoining businesses and undertakings as well as rail users.
44.We are pleased that Birmingham City Council was offered sufficiently satisfactory draft assurances that it was able to dispense with a substantive appearance before the Committee. Key among the assurances offered were: involvement in station design, good station permeability, cooperation on relocating displaced businesses within Birmingham where possible, and provision of local apprenticeships. A strategy was agreed to mitigate the impact of HS2’s requirement for temporary closure of Saltley viaduct. There will need to be convenient access between the Curzon Street station and Birmingham New Street station.
45.We said early on that we wanted an accommodation to meet the needs of Curzon Park Limited. We are pleased that in addition to Curzon Park Limited retaining certain land, it will retain scope for recovery of land subject to feasibility. The Promoter will consult Curzon Park Limited during the detailed design of Curzon Street Station with regard to development potential of the retained land.
46.Washwood Heath, 3.5km east of Curzon Street, will be the site for HS2’s rolling stock maintenance depot. The depot’s location and ability to operate efficiently will be critical to the railway’s functioning. Early in our proceedings we heard arguments for moving it to a site near the proposed Birmingham interchange station. Recognising that a quick decision was needed to provide certainty, we said in December 2014 that we were not persuaded by arguments in favour of the alternative site. We gave the reasons in our interim report of 2014–15.
47.Washwood Heath is in an area of high unemployment. Although the maintenance depot will create jobs, Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP persuaded us that its potential for additional regeneration needed more recognition. We directed a review to minimise the temporary and permanent use of land by the Promoter, and to maximise opportunities for employers to establish themselves as soon as possible after construction. Mr Byrne was instrumental in pushing the review forward.
48.Much progress has been made. Through Professor MacNaughton’s skill and work, creative engineering proposals have been developed to permit some 30% less land take including through provision of underground balancing ponds. The area potentially to be handed back after construction is 50% greater than in the Bill scheme. Mr Byrne told us that, as a result, up to 3,000 jobs, rather than 300, stand to be created.
49.Two issues remained: the extent of land required temporarily for construction arisings, and the location of land to be handed back. Each affects the extent of further opportunities for job creation. Mr Byrne favoured an alternative for the former, at Saltley Business Park. The Promoter was concerned not to prejudice the needs of existing businesses at that site. On land to be handed back, the issues were with its accessibility and value.
50.The current owner of the land at Washwood Heath pressed the Committee to put the Promoter under an obligation of using best endeavours to find a solution in relation to both matters. We wanted to achieve a sensible consensual solution. The parties came back with an agreed draft direction, with only the question of a best endeavours obligation outstanding between them. We decline to force the Promoter’s hand to the extent of imposing a best endeavours obligation. Accordingly, we give the following direction (which is in terms agreed by the parties):
In December 2014 we directed a review to minimise the temporary and permanent use of land by the Promoter at Washwood Heath and to maximise opportunities for other employers to establish themselves as soon as possible following construction. We note, though issues remain, the progress which has been made between HS2 and AXA to date in terms of the land take required for the Depot and drainage. We reiterate our general view that both the permanent and temporary land take should be the minimum as far as possible and for the shortest time, with a hand-back configuration that after construction will attract maximum business use of the residual site. As such, the Promoter should, using its reasonable endeavours, continue to seek to reduce further the extent of land (whether for permanent or temporary use) including land required for construction and associated works and/or the duration for which the land is required in order to maximise the prospect of early development and job creation. We also encourage all relevant parties to facilitate the early, coordinated and comprehensive development of employment land at Washwood Heath.
51.Our interim report of 2014–15 explained that the Bill as presented would have taken the railway over the A38 near Streethay, north of Lichfield. This was strongly opposed by the local community and its Member of Parliament, Michael Fabricant MP. AP2 proposed a revised scheme whereby the line will pass under the A38. Parties affected by the revision had the opportunity to petition against it.
52.The main petitioning concerns were the diversion of Wood End Lane consequential on the revision, access issues, and additional land take, including for mitigation planting. The Inland Waterways Association, for instance, pressed for a changed alignment of that road. The Promoter is considering whether that can be achieved. The alternative may raise safety concerns. The Promoter will review the Wood End Lane arrangements if the prospect of local property development re-emerges as the outcome of a planning appeal. In the main, it appears that sensible accommodations have been or will be reached with AP2 petitioners. We abide by our endorsement of the AP2 route revision.
53.The Lichfield Cruising Club has facilities on the Wyrley and Essington Canal but will require replacement hard standing provision because of the HS2 works. AP2 exacerbates the impact. We found the Club’s requests to be reasonable. Subject to satisfactory costs audits we expect the Promoter to fund replacement accommodation.
54.AP2 contains significant improvements for the valued woodland landscape near Hints, including a green bridge for Brockhurst Lane, reduced intrusion into Rookery Wood, better screening of the railway, and additional planting to enhance connectivity between woodlands. The value of that amenity had been emphasised to us on our visit to the area with Christopher Pincher MP.
55.We heard petitioners from these communities in the 2014–15 Session and again in the 2015–16 Session in relation to the additional provisions. Craig Tracey MP and Dan Byles, the current and former Members for North Warwickshire, each addressed us. Our 2014–15 interim report dealt with some principal issues.
56.Kingsbury will be the location of a major construction railhead, possibly also for Phase Two. It is to be the subject of a special management zone. We directed special arrangements in relation to a number of petitions. Residents were concerned about traffic volumes at the Dunton traffic island. The Promoter told us that optimised traffic signalisation would assist. The Promoter has said that it will seek to design balancing ponds to accommodate the wishes of local residents.
57.In Water Orton, the proposed haul road will be used as far as is practical to avoid incursion of traffic into the village. The junction of Gorsey Lane and the A446 forms the gateway to Water Orton. We expect the design of the viaduct at that location to be sympathetic to the local environment. The local action group questioned whether more extensive mitigation planting was possible but the Promoter said that the land in question might form a suitable relocation site for the local rugby club. We are pleased that the Promoter agreed to fund the moving of Water Orton Primary School with a contribution of £3.5m. We endorse the emphasis placed by Craig Tracey MP on the need to ensure the welfare of the children during the move.
58.The owner of the Grimstock Hotel in Gilson is nearly 70 and wishes to make retirement plans. The project will not intrude that severely on the property physically, but we heard that the business is suffering detriment. The Promoter would incur the cost of an element of compensation for this business in any event. A disputed claim would incur legal fees. Both the owner and the hotel employees deserve some certainty. We have directed acquisition of the hotel. The Promoter can sell it on or run it as a going concern, possibly with the owner as a consultant.
59.Patrick Dillon is the owner of Dunton Hall and surrounding land. He operates a business on the land and may in future want to exercise mineral extraction rights. The Promoter proposed an alternative access to accommodate those activities without intruding on the needs of a neighbouring landowner at Reindeer Park. Among other matters, Mr Dillon sought an assurance that if the Promoter were at any point to acquire Reindeer Park a different access could be considered. The Promoter said that that could prejudice the value of any future interest in Reindeer Park. We have pressed the Promoter to reconsider its position on that issue. The matter can be pursued in the House of Lords if necessary.
60.In Curdworth we expect a sympathetic viaduct design for the crossing of the Birmingham and Fazeley canal in a sensitive location.
61.The north Warwickshire area will experience major effects from the project. We urge the Promoter to be assiduous in maintaining contact with the constituency MP, as with all Members with constituencies on the line.
62.Traffic issues are especially important in this area. We welcome the accommodation reached between the Promoter and the National Exhibition Centre to in relation to the impact of traffic on the NEC (as well as on provision of a stop for the NEC on the people mover from the Birmingham Interchange). We also welcome the announcement by Highways England in September 2015 that among the key projects in its £1.8bn package of road improvements in the Midlands will be an upgrade to junction 6 of the M42 (with the A45, near the NEC and Birmingham Airport). This will prepare for the arrival of the HS2 Birmingham Interchange station and further development in the area over the next decade.
63.East of the village of Hampton-in-Arden, a viaduct is required to allow the route to cross the River Blythe. In the Bill as presented, the viaduct was approached on an embankment approximately 250m long, which might have presented an obstruction to river drainage. With prompting from local people, the Promoter substituted by means of AP2 a longer viaduct of some 480m, at an extra cost of approximately £10m. This will be more permeable to river drainage. We note that the longer viaduct is also perceived as potentially bringing an improved visual appearance to the railway profile in the area. The local Member of Parliament, Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, stressed the importance of a sympathetic viaduct design. We are confident from our interaction with local residents and representative groups that they will employ their considerable knowledge and expertise to engage constructively in the design process.
64.The viaduct will require substantial construction work. In addition, because the line will bisect Diddington Lane—the less significant of two roads that exit Hampton-in-Arden eastward to the A452—a bridge and some realignment are required if that that road is to be kept open. Petitioners from the village argued against continued road access except for farm traffic. They maintained that straightening and rebuilding the road would encourage an increase in traffic volume and speed. They were worried about increased traffic from the Birmingham Interchange station. The local landowner, the Packington Estate, was among those pressing for continued general access on various grounds including the risk of rubbish dumping on a gated road. Whereas the Bill as presented would have seen the road stopped up, AP2 presented a scheme for continued general access.
65.We favoured the proposed AP2 scheme. Access to Diddington Lane can be regulated if appropriate. The Promoter told us that it could live with that. Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council can be approached with concerns about traffic speed and volume, and will be able to take traffic calming or prohibition measures if they are needed. We note that construction traffic will avoid the village.
66.The Promoter has given assurances that subject to feasibility it will use reasonable endeavours to support the relocation of a local recycling centre, currently located off the A45, to a brownfield site rather than the greenfield site proposed in AP4. The railway necessitates a relocation. Residents were understandably worried that any access to the proposed AP4 site from Diddington Lane might cause nuisance. Although we heard that the site would be reached from the A45, residents remained concerned, believing that traffic volume on the A45 might induce a change of position. We hope that the brownfield alternative comes to fruition. It would also avoid new intrusion onto greenbelt land, whose value was emphasised by Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP.
67.Mrs Spelman was concerned about a number of other ways in which the project would affect her constituency, such as the relocation of the Island Project School for autistic children and access and alternative parking accommodation for the National Motorcycle Museum. We are glad that there are plans for satisfactory resolution in each case.
68.The Government response to our 2014–15 report accepted that measures to address the environmental condition of the River Tame might sensibly be the subject of a bid for support funds.
69.In relation to the issues raised by the Coleshill Estate regarding permanent acquisition of land and future provisions of easements, we are satisfied that the Promoter’s positions are reasonable ones.
70.Richard Lloyd of the Heart of England Railway Action Group argued for better noise attenuation at the playing fields at Chelmsley Wood. His detailed insight is often helpful. We would like some greater recognition by the Promoter of the needs of those using the playing fields. There should be sensible arrangements on footpaths there and elsewhere in this area.
71.We gave our recommendations on Balsall Common and Berkswell in our 2014–15 report, including a review of noise mitigation. The Promoter has set out a number of noise mitigation options on which it will consult with the local community at detailed design stage. We are content with this approach.
72.We asked the Promoter to review whether the vertical alignment of the line could be lowered in this area and what the benefits might be. The Promoter explained that lowering the line would push it deeper into the water table, which would require flood risk management and greater land take. Cuttings at Offchurch and Cubbington will already be deep. The Promoter pointed out that significant adverse noise effects were predicted in relation to only nine dwellings. We decided against recommending any lowering of the line here.
73.Substantial agreement was reached with Warwickshire local authorities on highways matters. They did not press for a grade separated development of the A46/Stoneleigh Road junction as part of the bill, because it would have required an additional provision. They would pursue this proposal by other means, and had received assurances that the Promoter would not act to obstruct it. We are pleased that the Promoter conceded provision of a wider and safer cycleway along the A423 in response to urging from Rt Hon Jeremy Wright MP. Mr Wright told us he was sceptical about the suitability of the B4115 for use even temporarily as a construction route. The Promoter said that it would seek to build substitute slip roads for construction use quickly.
74.AP2 produces a short extension of the tunnel at Burton Green to provide additional mitigation. It will produce a small noise reduction. Rt Hon Jeremy Wright MP pressed for modelling of noise at the tunnel portals to reassure residents. We have repeatedly sought such modelling and have been disappointed with the Promoter’s reasons for not providing it: technical difficulties, and the anticipation that tunnel boom can be designed out. The Promoter has managed to produce models elsewhere. If the model were to show no tunnel boom, so much the better.
75.We received a welcome update on the number and condition of HS2 lettings in Burton Green.
76.The route was moved away from the village of Stoneleigh during an early review of the route. Changes to the alignment of the B4115 under AP4 will benefit local ancient woodland. We welcome that.
77.Petitioners from this area argued that the line should pass under the Oxford Canal. This would require deep cuttings and security from water ingress from the canal onto the railway. We were not convinced that the line should be lowered, but we recognise that this is a sensitive matter, in particular because the contour canal meanders for a considerable distance around the proposed route. The design of the viaduct to take the railway over the canal needs to reflect the area’s special nature.
78.We are pleased that, following Committee promptings, accommodations were reached with Kenilworth Golf Club and with the owners of Dale House.
79.On our visit to this area, Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP noted a number of traffic safety concerns. We are pleased that, under AP2, Chipping Warden will benefit from provision of a bypass. Furthermore, construction traffic will reach the railway trace without unduly intruding on the small nearby habitation of Aston-le-Walls. Our interim report of 2014–15 directed provision of a roundabout at the intersection of the A361 and the Welsh Road. These improvements will together offer an important legacy of road improvements in the area.
80.We heard remaining concerns about substantial existing flood risk in the Chipping Warden area and the possibility that tunnel construction will exacerbate it. We have directed a high-level study of drainage needs.
81.The Promoter accepted our recommendation to provide better noise protection for Culworth by means of a noise barrier on the north side of the Lower Thorpe viaduct. Provision has been made in AP4.
82.Our 2014–15 interim report sought consideration of a lateral movement of the line away from Radstone. The Promoter told us that the challenge was to avoid consequential adverse effects on Turweston, to the south.
83.Since the Radstone Residents Group appeared before the Select Committee in February 2015, the Promoter and the residents group have worked collaboratively to agree changes to the scheme that offer increased noise and visual mitigation for the residents of Radstone. This includes an 800m-long, 5m-high trackside noise barrier as the route passes the village, and a commitment to lower the railway’s vertical alignment and to increase the height of earth bunds. On that basis, the group withdrew its petition against the Bill. We are pleased with this improved outcome.
84.We note that, in Greatworth, construction of HS2 may present an opportunity to improve the local footpath network.
85.Victoria Prentis MP and residents of Wardington addressed us with concerns about proposals to route spoil movement by road through Wardington village on the A361. The purpose would be to use earth excavated at Greatworth and Turweston for earthworks construction at Lower Boddington. Very high HGV movements would be required over an extended period of possibly between 1½ to 2 years. The Promoter is considering how to reduce the volume of materials needed at Lower Boddington, as well as an alternative spoil removal route using a conveyor over the A43, which we heard could achieve reductions of up to some 30% of heavy vehicle movements. We were encouraged by that creative approach. Nevertheless, we believe the possible traffic burden on Wardington needs careful attention. The village has been seeking a bypass, and would struggle to cope with the currently proposed HGV movements. We urge the Promoter to assist in finding ways to address matters.
86.Mixbury is a horse riding and training area. It is quiet. There were concerns about the risk of horse startle, particularly at Hollow Barn on the Westbury circular ride where several bridleways will converge to cross the line. Our interim report of 2014–15 prompted the Promoter to develop better screening at this location. Mrs Prentis told us that local businesses and bridleway users remained sufficiently worried to have considered raising funds for greater noise barrier protection themselves. We direct the Promoter to go one step further than it already has on the basis that there should be some local funding contribution too. The Promoter should seek a 1:1 matched funding arrangement with local interested bodies for provision of greater barrier protection in the vicinity of the bridleway crossing.
87.Petitioners from Turweston needed a solution to address the intrusion of the line on the important village playing field. We asked the Promoter to think about alternative grounds that would not incur ongoing costs to the parish council. It may be that undergrounding of power lines could be part of the answer. The Promoter is examining that and has commissioned an analysis of options which will be shared with the parish council when completed. The Promoter gave assurances on movement of construction traffic through the village.
88.Chetwode is an historic small village whose quite widely separated habitations will be severed by the line. Rt Hon John Bercow MP and Aylesbury Vale District Council underlined residents’ worries about the potential separation of residents in the community, and about noise impacts and effects on important and long-standing institutions such as the ancient church. We listened carefully to these concerns and we examined the noise impacts. We asked the Promoter for a report and detailed costings on possibilities for mitigation. We heard that tunnel options offering substantial increases in noise protection would cost between 14 and 24 times more than noise barrier options. A green bridge option would cost at least four times more while offering only minimal additional noise protection and arguably only minor landscape and integration benefits. Although we concluded that additional costs of that order would not be proportionate, we stipulated that there should be noise barrier protection extending to both ends of the village, at an additional cost of £3m.
89.Twyford residents expressed concern about noise impacts from the route. The route has already been moved to reduce noise impacts. The local church is within the lowest observed adverse effect level for noise together with eight properties. In response to our request at the time of the school’s appearance before us, the Promoter wrote to the Twyford Church of England school with assurances about maintenance of access provision. To allow one of the two roads to be open during construction, works on School Hill and West Street will not be carried out simultaneously. Perry Hill will be open throughout. We ask the Promoter to ensure that concerns about access to medical provision at Steeple Claydon are addressed.
90.Calvert is the location for the proposed infrastructure maintenance depot and will be a construction railhead. The permanent site will occupy some 37ha. Construction works will occupy some 146ha, taking place over approximately nine years, we heard concerns about the cumulative impacts of construction, including from spoil placement and materials stockpiling. Residents were worried about access to vital local services in Steeple Claydon. They pressed for some quid pro quo from the impact of the project—in particular in the form of broadband provision.
91.Trains will run at their maximum speed in the area. Some local properties are predicted to experience noise above the lowest observed adverse effect levels (‘LOAEL’). A 5m noise barrier will be constructed for operation, with early planting of tree screening. There will be funding of £1m to support measures for further mitigation beyond that stipulated in the environmental statement. The operational site will need 24-hour lighting provision. Lighting use will be minimised consistent with functioning of the site. Known technology will be deployed to reduce light spillage. This should be the best available. Lighting provision will satisfy environmental guidance for a ‘dark sky’ installation.
92.We heard that assistance will be provided with accessibility between Calvert and Steeple Claydon. We address requests for broadband in the route-wide section of our report.
93.We were not convinced that the Promoter should be required to fund a possible railway station on the East-West rail link although we fully understand why interested parties may want to pursue discussion on this.
94.Clive Higgins has a business at Steeple Claydon. His concern was about potential effects on access of a new overbridge crossing the East-West rail link, The Promoter said that its design choices were constrained by engineering requirements on the north side of the railway. We would like the Promoter to revisit this to see whether there are ways to secure better access provision for Mr Higgins.
95.The Promoter has provided Great Moor Sailing Club with a report which should allay their concerns about access during and after construction.
96.Calvert is the location of two significant pieces of waste disposal infrastructure operated by FCC: an energy from waste (‘EFW’) centre, and a rail-to-road transfer station for transferring waste from an existing railway to a site adjacent the EFW centre. The transfer station is quite close to the residential community.
97.The impact of the proposed HS2 scheme on the transfer facility would include the need to relocate FCC’s sidings nearer to Calvert and to build a new overbridge. FCC was concerned that those changes could expose it to claims for nuisance through their potential impact on the community (although the Promoter has forward with assurances on FCC’s possible financial exposure). It proposed an alternative, new site for the transfer station, nearer the EFW centre and further from Calvert. This option has the support of the landowner, the Claydon Estate. The difficulty is that there are protected Bechstein and other bat populations in the woodland on the alternative, southern site.
98.Rt Hon John Bercow MP and Calvert Green Parish Council were among those who pressed for a solution to recognise the concerns of Calvert residents while accommodating environmental protections. FCC wanted the alternative site to be promoted by an additional provision. That would probably delay passage of the Bill. We said that we wanted to see the alternative, southern site brought to fruition if possible. We wanted the Promoter to concentrate its mind on how to accommodate the protected bat species through alternative planting, connectivity and other mitigation measures.
99.The Promoter suggested promotion of a Transport and Works Act Order (or appropriate planning permissions) to seek to accomplish the same outcome, subject to environmental consent being forthcoming. It has agreed to fund that promotion, subject to internal departmental review.
100. There are clear advantages to local residents and to FCC for the sidings to be located at the identified southern site, without difficulty for the rail project per se. We recognise the contributions made on all sides in achieving agreements and assurances that have come close to resolving all issues or to agreeing how remaining points or future problems will be decided.
101.We are grateful to the petitioners and to the promoters for their clear response to the request we made for more to be agreed. They have made sensible suggestions on how this report could deal with remaining points. We conclude that their cooperation and discussions on specific problems are likely to make further or complete progress before consideration in the Lords. While restating our strong preference for the southern site, we do not try to impose, or to anticipate what the parties can best decide together. Reasonable requests by FCC should be compatible with the Promoter’s proportionate concern for the public purse. We emphasise that the potential benefits of the southern location to the people of Calvert should be fully taken into account. The Claydon Estate owns other land in this area of the line. It sought reductions in land take and greater connectivity of woodland. We hope these can be achieved.
102.The A41 runs through Waddesdon and will be used for construction traffic. AP2 has reduced the extent of mass haul through the area. We heard arguments for either a temporary or permanent relief road to bypass the village. Opinion among local interested parties was divided. A temporary road would cost in the region of £4m and was not believed by the Promoter to constitute good value for money as it would leave provide no lasting benefit. Residents have requested a cost-benefit analysis for a permanent relief road which the Promoter will produce shortly. This will take account of environmental effects.
103.We were not convinced that there should be any change to the Promoter’s proposed road alignment at Quainton.
104.Properties at Doddershall owned by Mr Christopher Prideaux and his son Mr David Prideaux will be significantly affected by the line. The Promoter has worked with them to achieve substantial improvements in the effect of the project, including on land take. We applaud those efforts. We hope that other outstanding issues in relation to this estate will be similarly resolved.
105.Further down the line, at Sedrup, petitioners sought sympathetic consideration of bunding. AP4 proposed enhanced mitigation earthworks. The Promoter explained that further bunds may create a flood risk. We ask that noise protection in the area be sensitively designed.
106.We note that communities in and around Stoke Mandeville would not have welcomed greater intrusion of the railway potentially resulting from certain longer tunnel options as proposed by Chilterns petitioners.
107.Many petitioners were exercised about the potential volume of traffic around Aylesbury, which lacks any ring road. The Bill contains passive provisions to permit a future ring road. The Promoter will undertake its works on the Chilterns railway line to Princes Risborough in such a way as to permit future provision for a ring road.
108.AP2 proposed better screening and bunding of the A4010 Stoke Mandeville bypass to alleviate noise impacts at locations such as Booker Park school. The Promoter has offered to fund up to £150,000 of modelling of traffic effects in relation to the A4010 Stoke Mandeville bypass. If the modelling demonstrates unacceptable impacts, the Promoter will provide assistance with an extension to the bypass.
109.The Buckinghamshire traffic management plan will need to address the importance of access to Stoke Mandeville hospital.
110.There is limited green space amenity to the west of Aylesbury. We asked the Promoter to collaborate with local authorities and landowners and reach an understanding on a proposed linear park. Since the hearing the Promoter has provided an assurance acceptable to Aylesbury Vale District Council that £500,000 will be made available for the provision of public access, subject to agreement with relevant landowners.We would like the Promoter to take another look at screening and noise mitigation of the Stoke Mandeville maintenance loops for those in nearby communities. In any event, residents should receive as much early certainty as possible about the height of the railway at this point. We asked that there be some demonstration of the effects of passing over high-speed points. This may help to allay concerns.
111.We understand the Promoter is in continuing discussions with Aylesbury Park Golf Course about the prospect of an advance payment to provide relief for ongoing business costs. This is with a view to establishing whether there such a payment is justified and to support the necessary business case, if appropriate. The parties are in active negotiations concerning the basis of the wider compensation claim.
112.The Bill proposed a 13.4km deep-bored tunnel under the southern section of the Chilterns—to be tunnelled northward from the M25. Going north, the line would run over ground, partly in cutting and partly on embankments and viaducts. The viaducts would be at Wendover Dean and Small Dean. A green tunnel would have been constructed at South Heath. The line would then run west of Wendover in green tunnel, emerging from the Chilterns to the north of Wendover. Tunnel vent shafts would be required at Chalfont St Giles, Amersham and Great Missenden.
113.Petitioners put the case for a tunnel extending under the entire Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (‘AONB’). Among them was the Member for Chesham and Amersham, Rt Hon Cheryl Gillan MP. Petitioners relied on the AONB’s statutory protection. They argued that a longer tunnel would provide enhanced environmental protection, would avoid visual intrusion into the landscape (by the Wendover Dean and Small Dean viaducts in particular), and would mitigate noise. They were concerned about construction impacts including spoil placement and traffic effects. The Promoter argued that the proposed route had already been designed to mitigate adverse effects.
114.Two longer tunnel options were initially proposed.
115.CLTi (Chilterns Long Tunnel with intervention gap) comprised a more level route under the Chilterns than the Promoter’s scheme, emerging further north of Wendover than the Promoter’s Wendover green tunnel. The total tunnel length with this scheme would be 29km.
116. Proponents of CLTi argued that its smoother vertical alignment under the Chilterns would save energy costs. Tim Smart of HS2 Ltd explained that the major driver of operating costs for tunnels was not gradient but air resistance. We had already heard in relation to Hillingdon’s tunnel proposals that tunnels are generally more expensive to maintain than surface route. We noted that CLTi might also affect the location of the maintenance loops at Stoke Mandeville.
117.T3i comprised a 23.9km long tunnel with a closer vertical alignment to that of the Promoter’s scheme. Its intervention gap was to be at Wendover Dean. Like CLTi, it was to be bored and fitted out from two ends. The case for T3i was presented by the Chiltern Ridges Action Group (‘CRAG’).
118.The Promoter told us that powering a tunnel boring machine from north of Wendover might not be feasible. A 9km-long high-voltage power line might be needed. The Promoter also argued that construction of the tunnel would not eliminate traffic impacts within the Chilterns because of the need for an intervention gap. It could substantially exacerbate traffic effects at the northern end of the tunnel bore because of the need for spoil removal.
119.There were varying assessments of land amenity and social value and of the costs of business and community disruption caused by potential traffic disruption from the Promoter’s scheme. The Promoter explained that the project economics included a £1bn cost item for environmental effects of the line as a whole, and for their mitigation.
120.Proponents of the tunnel options argued with some merit that visual and noise mitigation of an intervention gap would be easier than for viaducts. They argued that the tunnel would involve a smaller land take than the Promoter’s scheme by some 10%—for instance, by eliminating the need for balancing ponds. Proponents of the tunnel argued that it could avoid potentially costly hydrogeological issues at Wendover. The Promoter observed contingency provision had been made for such issues in its costings. We return to hydrogeology issues below.
121.The net additional cost of CLTi was estimated at £485m. The Promoter’s estimate of the net additional tunnel costs of its T3i proposal was £349m. Those figures were attributable principally to tunnel construction and fitting out costs, which were high in comparison with the potential savings from not building embankments and viaducts.
122.We were sceptical about costs estimates from all parties. We do not believe it was justifiable to say that the Promoter went out of its way to mark up costs of certain options.
123.In weighing the case for a tunnel throughout the entire AONB, we considered the extent of mitigation of the Promoter’s scheme in the AONB compared with that offered by the tunnel options, the feasibility of the tunnel options, the traffic effects of each scheme, and cost. We had in mind that substantially greater relative benefits might derive from a shorter tunnel extension option which we consider below. We announced on 22 July 2015 that we had not been convinced by the arguments for a tunnel under the entire AONB as presented by the bodies which might have been expected to present the most persuasive case. We remained of that view having heard other petitioners in the autumn of 2015.
124.A longer tunnel proposal that emerged later was TBOW (‘tunnel bored one way’). This would involve boring northward from the M25 under the entire AONB to north of Wendover. It would have avoided certain construction impacts north of the AONB although not necessarily without effects elsewhere. The economics of it relied on successfully arguing that HS2 Ltd’s tunnelling rate assumptions were unduly conservative. Failing that, it was acknowledged that the project would be delayed.
125.Comparative tunnelling rates were discussed in great detail but we found no reason to doubt the validity of the Promoter’s estimates. Their realistic caution was the right approach. On TBOW’s case, the net additional cost of their proposal was £42.5m. The Promoter estimated that, on its assessment of tunnelling rates and the consequent costs, the overall net additional cost would be £412m. As before, we engaged scepticism. There were other choices before us with much more clearly defined costs and benefits. We decided that the case for the TBOW proposal had not been made out.
126.In broad terms, two other options were proposed for extending the principal bored Chilterns tunnel northward: a 2.6km extension to South Heath (proposed by the Promoter), and a 4.1km extension to Leather Lane (proposed by the Residents Environmental Protection Association). Among the notable benefits of the first were substantially reduced construction effects at South Heath through removal of the need for an excavated green tunnel, a reduction in the number of tunnel portals, and the elimination of impacts on the Mantles Wood ancient woodland. The project’s effects on the village of Hyde End would be essentially eliminated. A further vent shaft would require construction, on Frith Hill. The emergence of the bored tunnel further north-west would require different construction access arrangements which would have some impact on the village of Great Missenden (principally traffic effects and the visual impact of a haul road, which we discuss in the section on roads below).
127.We favoured the South Heath extension option and directed an additional provision to implement it. We took into account the benefits for Mantles Wood, the overall benefit to the AONB, the reduction in requirement for agricultural land, and the significantly reduced construction noise impact on South Heath. The costs of the extension are estimated at £47m. The Independent Assessor’s summary of responses to the AP4 consultation notes that the extension is perceived as a major improvement.
128.The operational noise and other benefits of AP4 compared with the Bill scheme were disputed. Modelling predicted AP4 would eliminate significant noise effects on a large number of South Heath homes.
129.Arguments for an extension of the bored tunnel to Leather Lane were pressed right up to the end of our proceedings, notably by residents of Potter Row, a lane running parallel to the section of the line constructed north of the bored tunnel portal. South Heath residents argued that additional tunnelling would further reduce the operational noise impact on South Heath, but we were not convinced that noise impacts will be as significant as the community appears to believe. There are some 30–40 properties on Potter Row. The potential benefits of a longer tunnel for this area were much harder to perceive than for the area immediately to the south. We heard that the Leather Lane extension would cost of the order of £40m on top of the South Heath option. We were not convinced that there would be significant environmental benefit. Our view was that it was not justified.
130.To the extent that the northern Chilterns portal occupies a bigger footprint under AP4, we would expect the Promoter to seek if possible to alleviate that at design stage; for instance, through the use of retained cuttings. This might help reduce the effect on Grim’s Ditch, which is a scheduled ancient monument. The Promoter told us that it would seek to mitigate the visual impact of the portal. The Promoter has said that it will consult on where to install noise barriers within the cutting north of the tunnel portal.
HS2 Committee visit to Wendover
131.Petitioners from Wendover were concerned about operational and construction noise effects—including at St Mary’s church and the Chiltern Way Federation school, possible vibration damage to old buildings lacking foundations, and visual impacts. They were worried about blight on local businesses and loss of tourism. They were especially worried about peak noise.
132.Rt Hon David Lidington MP pressed the case for a bored or mined tunnel instead of the cut-and-cover tunnel proposed in the Bill. Alternatively, residents wanted a covered section south of Wendover, including the viaduct at Small Dean. When we gave our preliminary view that a long tunnel through the entire AONB was not justified, we said that we were minded to recommend a southward extension of the proposed Wendover tunnel unless the Promoter produced a very convincing scheme of further noise mitigation.
133.The Promoter came forward with a proposal in SES4 for a short southward tunnel extension and enhanced noise barrier protection. Significantly, the Promoter indicated that it would also pursue installation of protection against existing noise from the A413. This will be developed in cooperation with the highway authority. It is predicted to reduce the cumulative overall noise levels to the east of the railway to below those which are currently experienced.
134.Wendover residents disputed the benefits of SES4. They disliked the visual intrusion that may derive from the southward tunnel extension and from greater noise barrier protection. There is a trade-off between effectiveness of barriers and visual intrusion. The Promoter has offered to provide funds to Aylesbury Vale District Council for visual mitigation of barriers.
135.Under the Bill scheme, 18 dwellings in Wendover were predicted to experience noise effects at or above the lowest observed adverse level (on an averaged basis), and 392 to experience maximum noise effects at or above the lowest observed adverse level. With the SES4 scheme, those figures are reduced to zero and 122. The latter figure is 19 higher than for an alternative mitigation scheme with higher, more visually intrusive barriers. As we have already indicated, there is a trade-off between mitigating noise and visual effects. We incline to the view that the visual impact of taller barriers at the north of Wendover may be less acceptable than noise effects.
136.The Promoter has allocated some £250,000 to noise protection measures for St Mary’s church. Representatives of the church were not satisfied with the SES4 mitigation. Among their requests was a design error assumption of 5dB and a radically higher mitigation fund for the church. We forbear from commenting on the latter, which exceeded by a factor of three the amount that we heard was spent on improving the church as a concert venue. We believe the church will sufficiently benefit from the SES4 mitigation package including the protection it provides in relation to noise from the A413.The cost of the SES4 proposal will be approximately £10m. Protection from noise from the A413 will cost in the region of £1m. The latter will provide direct benefit to the church. In comparison, we heard that the costs of bored and mined tunnel would be upwards of £200m. We do not believe that a bored or mined tunnel would be justified. We believe that the SES4 proposal constitutes a proportionate and adequate package of mitigation for Wendover.
137.The Chilterns AONB is protected under statute. Protection was established in 1965, under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. The current protection derives from section 82(1) of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. Section 85 of that Act imposes a duty on public bodies, when acting so as to affect an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, to have regard to the purpose of conserving and enhancing the AONB’s natural beauty.
138.The Promoter argued that the Secretary of State had fulfilled the duty in statute by mitigating the design of the railway in the Chilterns AONB.
139.Under the Bill scheme, 13.3km of the route through the Chilterns was to be in tunnel. Under AP4 this is extended to 15.9km. This will result in some 60% of the route through the Chilterns from the M25 being tunnelled.
140.The major visible elements of the railway in the Chilterns will be the viaducts at Wendover Dean and Small Dean and the approaches to them. A large part of the rest of the over ground line will become part of the landscape although it will be visible to those crossing it. A total of some 4km of footpaths will be diverted. The Promoter has taken steps to avoid ancient woodland and our suggested tunnel extension will result in the preservation of substantially more. We acknowledge that there will be major temporary construction impacts of the railway at the viaducts, at Wendover, and in the area of Bury Farm. There will be significant traffic impacts during construction, although these would to some extent accrue from any scheme.
141.On balance, we do not believe that these mitigated effects represent an intrusion into the AONB that is inconsistent with its status, having regard to the size of the AONB as a whole and the significance of the project. HS1 in Kent is a demonstration of the ability of high-speed rail to blend into the landscape.
142.A number of residents will be significantly affected by construction and operation, such as those near viaducts. Provision for them should begin as soon as possible. There should be regular engagement with them. Successful and sympathetic design of the viaducts at Wendover Dean and Small Dean will be critical to the reputation of the project both at completion and in decades to come.
143.The Promoter has agreed to the establishment of a Chilterns AONB Review Group whose members will include Buckinghamshire County Council, Chiltern District Council, Wycombe District Council, Aylesbury Vale District Council, the Chilterns Conservation Board, Natural England and HS2 Ltd. The Group will identify measures for environmental enhancement in the Chilterns in addition to those already proposed in the environmental statement. Items for discussion will include woodland planting, balancing ponds, design of footpath diversions, ecological and landscape connectivity, viaduct design and vent shaft design. The Promoter will provide funding for the group of up to £3m.
144.The Promoter has said that it will use reasonable endeavours to ensure that earthworks will be sensitively integrated into the landscape, such as by responding to natural contours. It will preserve or record any findings at the Grim’s Ditch ancient monument.
145.Chilterns petitioners were concerned about several hydrogeological issues. Principally, these were: possible disruption by the green tunnel to the flow of underground spring water that feeds local watercourses and canals at Wendover, the potential for water loss to the Misbourne caused by tunnelling, and pollution effects. The Promoter was aware that there might be a need to install pumping facilities to address the first of these. (The Wendover Arm Canal feeds some 1m gallons of water a day into the Grand Union Canal.) We heard about ways to address the other two. Construction approval will require input from the Environment Agency. We want the Promoter to address the matter of hydrogeological surveying as a priority.
146.Under AP4, construction traffic from the north tunnel portal would obtain access to the road network via a haul road onto the A413. Concerns were expressed about the effect of this on local traffic movements. Petitioners from Great Missenden in particular were worried also about safety—especially as there is a nearby school—about the visibility of the road from the village, and about effects on the local economy. Many petitioners told us that the A413 is already congested in peak periods at this point.
147.In consultation with the local authorities, the Promoter is considering another option in the form of a haul road further north. We heard that this may be more difficult to build. It would require construction of a new roundabout which may itself disrupt traffic flow. Efficient movement of construction materials to and from the Hunts Green spoil placement site is important and this may or may not favour a different haul road location. (The haul road will be used for tunnelling machinery as well as excavated material.) We encourage the county council and the Promoter to find the solution with least impact, taking account of local opinions. The solution must be safe, and make allowance for vulnerable residents and road users.
148.The Promoter has acknowledged that further work is needed on traffic solutions in Buckinghamshire. A total of 24 junction capacity issues and 47 junction safety issues have been identified as needing consideration. A process of further work has been agreed with Buckinghamshire County Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council. We heard that possible solutions include temporary signalling, alteration of junction boundaries, and management of site traffic ingress and egress. Issues with the Beaconsfield bypass have been resolved by reassurances about the commencement of mass haul operations.
149.Given the possible pressure on traffic in the Chilterns, the Promoter may want to consider the idea of developing a traffic ‘app’ so that residents and business can obtain real-time information on traffic.
150.There will be vent shafts in the Chilterns at Chalfont St Giles, Amersham, Little Missenden and Frith Hill. Construction should have only moderate impacts but we note the need for careful management at the Little Missenden site which is some way into countryside. Design should be undertaken in sympathy with the local setting and with local involvement in choice of profile and materials in all cases.
151.Petitioners from the Misbourne valley pressed for mitigation of the overall effect of the railway through removal of pylons and undergrounding of high-voltage cables. They pointed to recent precedent in other Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Promoter observed that undergrounding would cost approximately ten times more, and would not be without its own environmental effects, such as additional land requirement at the point where cables enter or emerge from underground. Despite that, we believe that where new infrastructure intrudes on sensitive landscape there is merit in listening to what local inhabitants believe to be the appropriate balance, and in considering removal of pylons in appropriate cases.
152.The Hunts Green spoil placement area is required to manage the movement of spoil onto highways. The Promoter should seek to minimise and mitigate its effects with precautions against flooding and visual screening (if that is possible and desirable in view of the site location). Its planned height and extent should be reduced as much as possible.
153.Public rights of way are an important amenity for the Chilterns. Both temporary right of way diversions and restored paths should take into account their importance to the community and the economy. We heard a sensible suggestion for displaying maps with diversions and new routes at local rail stations to help visitors.
154.Paul Fullagar runs horse training premises at Frith Hill. We expect a sensible arrangement to be reached with him in relation to access and the possible effect of HGV movements on his business, if the haul road to the north portal site remains as proposed in AP4.
155.The Bill contained provisions that could have been used to provide passive provision for a future spur from the railway to Heathrow. The Secretary of State has confirmed that the spur will not be built as part of HS2 Phases One or Two, but there remains a risk of blight on properties on the trajectory of the previously envisaged spur. We direct the Promoter not to use the Bill powers to implement passive provision for a Heathrow spur. To avoid confusion, the Promoter should take immediate steps to ensure that relevant landowners and communities are fully informed of the change.
156.Building the Old Oak Common facility requires the Heathrow Express train shed depot to be relocated. Professor MacNaughton explained that Langley, near Slough, had been the preferred option for that relocation, but that interaction with the timing of Crossrail construction had been expected to block that choice. The Bill as presented therefore proposed relocation to the North Pole sidings in north Kensington, which were previously used for Eurostar trains.
157.The Crossrail problem was overcome by postponing the relocation date for the Heathrow Express depot to 2019, after which Crossrail construction will be complete. In the meantime, it was realised that there would in any case have been electrical operational difficulties in allowing Heathrow Express trains to use the North Pole sidings. As a result, AP2 proposed relocation to Langley, instead of to the North Pole sidings. There were petitions against that relocation from interested parties including Slough Borough Council, Fiona Mactaggart MP, Langley, Slough and Iver residents, Iver Parish Council, Colne Valley Park Community Interest Company and local boat owners on the Slough Arm Canal. Their concerns included obstruction of alternative regeneration uses for the proposed site, the effects of construction traffic—including on local air quality, and the visual and other impacts of the depot on canal boat residents. The canal boat owners were aggrieved not to have been recognised earlier as affected parties. That was indeed an unfortunate failing on the part of the Promoter.
158.The canal boat residents may need to be rehoused during construction. They have a legitimate expectation that such rehousing will be convenient, comfortable and suitable to accommodate what may be unusual practical needs. As far as reasonably possible the effect on the community of boat owners as a whole should be recognised and addressed. Non-essential intrusion into the character of the area such as by removal of any trees lining the canal should be avoided.
159.Fiona Mactaggart MP and Rt Hon Dominic Grieve MP reinforced the concerns we heard about from residents in Slough, Langley and Iver on the volume of local heavy goods traffic and on the already poor local air quality. In addition, Mrs Mactaggart expressed concern about dust from contaminated land.
160.The Promoter has said that it will contribute £1.4m to the costs of a relief road in Iver to reflect additional costs of bridging over the railway. Bangors Road South was identified as particularly dangerous for heavy traffic. Dominic Grieve welcomed the position under AP2 whereby a maximum of 15% of HS2 construction traffic—some 8 HGVs per hour—would use Bangors Road South during the 12-month peak construction period. He pressed for a stronger commitment. We expect the local highway authority to address this, such as through the traffic management plan or weight limits on non-HS2 vehicles. The Promoter stated that it would endeavour not to use this road at all unless it became really necessary.
161.Everfortune Ltd and Thorney Lane LLP are owners of land to be used for the Heathrow Express relocation. They proposed alternative sites west of Paddington (including the North Pole sidings). Professor MacNaughton told us why those were not feasible for operational and maintenance reasons. There is an issue relating to the extent of indemnity against liability for the contaminated land, which we expect the parties to be able to resolve. Failing that, it can be raised before our colleagues in the Lords.
162.These petitioners were also concerned about the extent to which their land will be taken for environmental mitigation. (Some 30ha will be taken for that purpose, compared with about 3-4ha for the actual depot.) We request that the Promoter reconsider whether this extent of land use is necessary.
163.Colne Valley Park CIC was concerned about the future of green belt land in this area. The park receives some two million visits per year. They wanted assurance that land proposed for floodplain mitigation and woodland habitat creation to the east of the proposed depot will remain earmarked as such should ownership change. They sought a liaison panel for all construction projects in the area around Langley, to allow residents to communicate with these projects, and a fund for measures to benefit the community. Rt Hon Dominic Grieve MP emphasised the importance of the park as an amenity for the west of London.
164.A solution is needed, taking account of ultimate land ownership, to address cumulative impacts of construction and to provide some certainty in relation to the green belt for those who enjoy its benefits.
165. The Promoter has agreed to provide substantial (£6.25m) funding for public realm and highways improvements in this locality, and for a study of alternative railway land in the area that might be used for some of the regeneration purposes previously earmarked for the depot site. This is a welcome announcement
166.On the proposed western rail to Heathrow tunnel access, local Members of Parliament and residents argued for better coordination between that project and HS2 construction. Professor MacNaughton told us that the link was still at design stage. The Promoter has agreed to cooperate with other interested parties.
167.BNP Paribas can pursue their arguments about alternative road access to the F sidings in north Kensington before our Lords colleagues. We heard that a review will be forthcoming in May 2016.
168.Relocating the Heathrow Express depot has raised difficult issues. Other options appear not to be viable. On the basis of the assurances offered by the Promoter we conclude that the AP2 proposal for relocation to Langley should proceed.
169.Under the Bill scheme, the line will emerge from the Chilterns tunnel immediately south-east of the M25 and run over ground as far as Ruislip, crossing the Colne Valley on a 3.4km viaduct. Large construction compounds in this area will be located near West Hyde and at Harvil Road in Ickenham. A vent shaft will be constructed at South Ruislip, near the tube station.
170.Petitioners presented arguments for a 6.6km tunnel under the Colne Valley instead of a viaduct. In pressing that case, they relied principally on the viaduct’s visual intrusiveness, the noise impact of trains crossing it, and environmental effects. A number of environmental risks were cited. These included greater flood risk and possible groundwater contamination through potential damage to aquifers caused by pile driving to create the viaduct piers.
171.That the viaduct will be clearly visible was not in dispute, though the Promoter’s route succeeds in tucking the north-western end of the viaduct into wooded landscape. We kept in mind that railway architecture can have its own aesthetic merit. We were conscious that the Colne Valley landscape is a man-made one, with lakes that are the result of many years of gravel extraction. The man-made landscape is nevertheless green and pleasant, and an important amenity for a large number of people.
172.With mitigation, the penetration of train noise into the vicinity of the viaduct is envisaged to extend to some 400m to 600m from the line, assessed in terms of lowest observed adverse impact contours. There will be an adverse effect on the tranquility of the area. The Promoter emphasised that its modelling was based on a reasonable worst case for noise travel, including adverse wind directions and temperatures. Actual effects would at times be more localised. A small number of significant local adverse effects on residents could be mitigated. Sound reflection from the lake surfaces would not be perceptible because of the minimal (50ms) interval between the arrival of direct and reflected sounds.
173.We were not convinced that appropriate engineering cannot protect aquifers. In any event, the tunnel option would require a 700m safety intervention gap which might present similar challenges. Neither were we convinced that the viaduct would increase flood risk. The Promoter will take precautions.
174.Certain other arguments lacked credibility. Comparison of viaduct construction with the HS1 Medway viaduct failed to take account of the parallel M2 road building project. The Medway is a tidal river. The project to cross it with multiple viaducts was inevitably more intrusive. We were far from convinced that maintaining a tunnel would be cheaper than maintaining a surface route given the associated complexities of ventilating, cooling and providing access. On balance, the evidence was that sale of tunnel arisings (to offset the cost of tunnel construction) would not be commercially viable.
175.We heard that tunnel boring from a proposed site at Transport for London’s Ruislip depot would present serious and expensive engineering challenges that could delay the project. Building a tunnel would not eliminate construction traffic. (Much of the anticipated construction traffic is associated not with the viaduct but with the Northolt tunnel which will run east from Ruislip.) Road closures would still be required. It is clear that the area already has a huge traffic and consequent air quality problem, as emphasised to us by Nick Hurd MP and Rt Hon Dominic Grieve MP.
176.We heard about the relative costs of constructing the tunnel and the viaduct. HS2 Ltd estimated the net additional cost of building the design of tunnel proposed by Peter Brett Associates at £583m. They estimated at £314m the net additional cost of building a different tunnel design with a shorter intervention gap, avoiding use of the TfL Ruislip depot for tunnel construction.
177.Estimates that the net additional cost could be as low as £64m failed to include critical cost items such as the cost of moving and disposing of spoil and property values, which we heard would alone push the net additional cost above £200m. Adding the cost of vent shafts, tunnel systems and a more complex construction site with difficult geology raised the net further cost nearer £300m. On top of that were the cost of an intervention gap and the costs of possible delayed construction from more difficult work. The total could be nearer £500m.
178.Even with a massive contingency for environmental effects of the viaduct, and eliminating the cost of the not-to-be-constructed Heathrow spur, estimates of the net additional cost of a tunnel over a viaduct exceeded £200m. We did not direct further studies because we doubted that these would converge on a figure significantly less than £200m.
179.We announced on 15 July 2015 that we had not been convinced by arguments for a tunnel. We directed reports on options for relocating the construction railhead from Harvil Road and/or adjustments to access roads to the railhead and construction compounds. We called for significant further interventions on traffic issues. We said we needed more reassurance on traffic modelling. We return to this below. Evidence we heard subsequently did not dissuade us from the view we had announced on 15 July 2015. We believe the viaduct is the right option.
180.Although the number of residential properties close to the viaduct is not high, we recognise that a limited number of nearby residents will be adversely affected by it. Among them are canal boat owners and other residents along the Grand Union Canal. Their needs should be accommodated. The Promoter should undertake further baseline noise assessments and ensure there is proper monitoring of noise during construction and on operation. Visual screening from construction work may also be appropriate. The viaduct construction sites must be properly secured.
181.Stations aside, the Colne Valley viaduct will be the most significant visible engineering feature of the HS2 Phase One route. It will have international significance and its design should reflect that. Having argued against a viaduct, local people deserve that its design be respectful and respectable. We hope the Promoter will be open to that challenge. Sympathetically and imaginatively design, the viaduct can become a suitable symbol for the country’s future high-speed railway network.
182.The Hillingdon, Ickenham and Ruislip localities clearly have a serious traffic and air quality problem. We heard that it has high numbers travelling to work by car and high population growth. There is a particular problem associated with commuting on a north-south axis. There were significant variation in estimates of the economic cost of traffic delays but that there is a risk of cost was not in doubt. A tunnel would not be a panacea.
183.The Promoter already had proposals to address a number of traffic pressure points, including slip roads to the M25 from the West Hyde compound to alleviate pressure on the A412. In response to our preliminary decision on the tunnel the Promoter undertook a detailed look at measures to address traffic issues, particularly construction traffic to and from the proposed Harvil Road compound.
184.In AP4, the Promoter proposed a custom haul road as the primary route from the A40 to the compound instead of Harvil Road itself. The Promoter told us that the haul road offered substantial (significantly more than 50%) benefits to HS2 traffic volumes on Swakeleys Road and Harvil Road. We have heard that the sidings at Harvil Road will also be completed earlier to permit more spoil removal by rail. There are further proposals including possible signalisation at important roundabouts and management of traffic movements to avoid peak commuting times.
185.We heard argument in favour of an alternative, more westerly haul road from the A40 to the Harvil Road site, which would avoid intruding on golf club land. HS2 explained that this would take longer to build, exacerbating the traffic situation, and would interfere with the A40. We were not convinced that that alternative would work. A haul road alternative proposed by London Wildlife Trust slightly to the east will be examined. Although this would intrude somewhat more into ancient woodland at Pinnocks Wood it would reduce the impact on another nearby SSSI.
186.Although overall it produced benefits, AP4 actually increased predicted traffic volumes on certain roads. The Promoter acknowledged that its current modelling predicted some exceeding of capacity. When Nick Hurd MP appeared before us in late January 2016, the Promoter conceded that a satisfactory solution to address HS2’s impact was ‘not there yet’. Significant improvements have been achieved, but more progress is needed.
187.Transport for London and London Borough of Hillingdon have given feedback on HS2 modelling. The Mayor of London and Nick Hurd MP have sought an assurance that main roads will carry not more than 550 HGV movements per day. The Promoter is refining its approaches, for example on the capacity of Swakeleys Road roundabout. Studies will report in May 2016. The ability of Swakeleys roundabout to cope safely with construction traffic is critical. It is apparently already in breach of EU air quality limits. With project commencement due in 2017, credible traffic management plans including ways to deal with peak construction periods will need to follow swiftly thereafter.
188.Denham, although some distance from the line itself, has its own set of traffic issues which HS2 will exacerbate. Among these are congestion on the A412 and potential problems at Old Rectory Lane, Cheapside Lane and Tilehouse Lane, (which will be partly closed). The Promoter is funding assessments, for example to look at sensitive junctions on the A412. South Buckinghamshire District Council has accepted assurances. We heard that the Promoter will remedy any damage arising from temporary diversions. We believe the Promoter should be open to the idea of shuttle bus provision from Denham to important locations such as hospitals.
189.On the issue of the Lower Road factory ingress and egress to the Martin Baker premises, existing congestion locally means that assistance with provision of alternative or improved access may well become a matter for decision by the Secretary of State. The traffic analysis showed that HS2 is not expected to exacerbate it beyond single figure percentage increases. We do not believe it is a matter for the Promoter of this Bill but benefits would clearly flow from a new access road were the relevant authorities to pursue it.
190.Other issues arise from the extent of construction and spoil placement sites in this area. AP4 petitioners from Harefield, Ickenham and Ruislip were concerned about the protracted periods of spoil placement use, fearing dust, pollution, blight and flood. These are justified worries. The Promoter has given assurances that spoil height should be no greater than 3m permanently or 5m temporarily. We want the spoil placement areas to be minimised in height and extent, to be properly screened, and for screening planting to start early. Local hedgerows should be protected. The needs of locals moving round the sites should be taken account of, for example with cycle paths. There should be regular community forums to provide feedback on contractor compliance with the construction code. We heard that the area around West Hyde is a frost pocket where sound travels. Sound barriers should be effective and visually sensitive. Top quality mitigation of conveyor belts removing tunnel spoil will be important not just in Hillingdon but at all project sites, both for sound and visual effects.
191.The project will have a heavy environmental footprint in this area. Steps can be taken to leave a legacy of environmental improvement. Following the interim decision on the tunnel, the Promoter came forward with offers of funding of £3.25m for restoration works following construction. In view of the particular value of green space in and around Hillingdon, Denham, Ickenham, Harefield and Ruislip, we believe the aspiration of no net biodiversity loss should apply to this area as a case in its own right.
192.Access to walks along and around the Grand Union Canal was a particular priority. We are pleased that London Borough of Hillingdon was offered satisfactory assurances by the Promoter on local public rights of way, including their restoration after construction. Better than satisfactory restoration of the West Hyde compound would be another way for the project to address local concerns for the long term.
193.A Colne Valley Park Regional Panel is to be established comprising local authorities, Natural England and the Hertfordshire and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, with an independent chair and funding from the Promoter. There will be consultation on its terms of reference. Through that body, the project should work to bequeath positive environmental legacies to Hillingdon and its environs. The panel may also want to consider projects such as improved user access, better visitor facilities and sensible footpath reconfigurations following HS2 construction. We hope that the Promoter will consider funding for those aspirations. There will also be assistance with effects on local golf facilities. We address the Hillingdon Outdoor Activities Centre separately.
194.Harefield villagers shared the concerns of the area on traffic, particularly on its possible impact on business and access to the famous hospital. Construction traffic will not go through the village itself, although we heard that Harvil Road is considered part of the village. There were concerns about a large (25ha) sustainable placement site but AP4 has addressed those. A 3m-high noise barrier has been proposed to address noise impacts on 48 residential properties which were assessed as being subject to minor noise impacts.
195.For engineering reasons, a feeder station providing electrical power to the railway requires to be built near the village of South Harefield. Residents objected to its location at the northerly end of South Harefield Road, which provides a relatively rural approach to the village. They sought its relocation alongside the autotransformer station at Ickenham. Tim Smart of HS2 Ltd explained why this was not feasible. We brought pressure to bear on the Promoter to find a solution that would accommodate concerns. Subject to feasibility and an environmental assessment, the Promoter has provided an assurance that the feeder station will instead be relocated to a less obtrusive, more southerly location on South Harefield Road. We think the language qualifying this assurance by feasibility is reasonable. We welcome the progress made on relocation. We trust that a solution will be found for an acceptable relocation and appropriate mitigation screening.
196.HOAC is a sailing and outdoor activities centre situated on Harefield No. 2 lake, which is one of the Colne Valley lakes formed from gravel extraction. The proposed HS2 viaduct crosses the lake. Construction of the viaduct will take place from a site immediately adjacent to its premises. We heard a great deal about the value of this amenity, which is used by 40,000 people a year and has created the equivalent of 30 jobs. There was wide support for the work it undertakes with children, including disadvantaged children. There is also a rowing club.
197.HS2 Ltd’s position until 2014 had been that the centre might be able to continue in use during and after construction. The operators were adamant that this would not be feasible. Some of its coaching and camping activities require tranquility. Nick Hurd MP and the former Member for Uxbridge, Sir John Randall, pressed the need for a solution.
198.An alternative location for the centre has been identified at another gravel extraction site, in Denham. Planning consents are still required. The alternative location would not initially provide the same area of water as the current facility but there is potential for expansion to an area of similar size. The Promoter has given assurances of support in taking this forward, and for funding. We understand that the funds required are likely to be of the order of tens of millions of pounds. To permit a staged move, the Promoter has also given assurances that would allow the centre to remain active on its current site until 2018.
199.We welcome the work that has been done in developing this possible alternative for a valued and valuable amenity. We hope it comes to fruition. The way forward will be in determining the most that can be achieved and who can contribute. Subject to planning approvals being obtained in sufficient time, the Committee would wish to see HOAC relocated to the Denham Quarry Site, if HOAC decide that that is preferable to staying put.
200.The Denham Water Ski clubhouse is located essentially underneath the north-western end of the proposed viaduct and will require relocating. We commend its owner on developing a successful undertaking which sits successfully alongside several artificially created sites of special scientific interest. The owner should expect cooperation from the Promoter in pursuing a planning application for an alternative clubhouse.
201.With Stephen Pound MP, we visited the proposed locations of three vent shafts in the Ealing and Northolt areas: at Mandeville Road, Green Park Way, and Westgate near Hanger Lane. There were concerns about utilities works near one site but the construction and mitigation arrangements we heard about were satisfactory. We encourage the Promoter to consider how to reduce the impact of spoil removal and to examine ways in which spoil might be deployed usefully.
202.The River Island clothing company has business premises in Ealing. AP4 gives the Promoter powers to put car parking facilities onto that land to accommodate car parking space displaced by construction works on the Westgate vent shaft. River Island objected, saying that, whereas the displaced car parking could be the subject of monetary compensation, the effect on their business would be unquantifiable and could reduce their ability to expand. The Promoter agreed to commission a review of requirements and options which will report by May 2016, and which will include examination of access issues. If the study finds that there remains a need for the Promoter to use River Island premises, the Promoter should minimise the duration and extent of intrusion onto the premises of this successful business. We are pleased that the Promoter has agreed to seek to avoid any permanent acquisition. An agreement between the parties provides a dispute resolution procedure. The petitioner will be free to appear before the House of Lords select committee if necessary.
203.Old Oak Common and adjacent areas provide the construction site for tunnel boring both east to Euston and west to Northolt, as well as for development of the Old Oak Common station itself. Construction will involve essentially 24-hour working, with a continuously operating spoil removal belt, and will extend over some seven to ten years, when the community of some 2,200 residents in Wells House Road, Midland Terrace and Island Triangle will be more or less surrounded by HS2 works. The Promoter’s counsel acknowledged that they are specially affected. Residents’ concerns included noise, construction traffic volume, traffic congestion, access for residents and businesses, air quality, the location of a substation, viaduct height, reduction in the limited local availability and visibility of green space, and blight. They sought a dedicated community fund. Their case was pressed by Dr Rupa Huq MP, as it had previously been by the former constituency Member, Angie Bray. We note that, unlike areas certain other parts of the line that are heavily affected by construction, Old Oak Common will ultimately accrue some direct benefit from the proximity of the high-speed rail station to the locality, along with other important new infrastructure.
204.London Borough of Ealing succeeded in obtaining wide-ranging assurances from the Promoter to seek to address construction and operation problems. The flyover for Great Western Main Line will have a noise barrier on the Wells House Road side. A temporary logistics tunnel will be constructed under Old Oak Common Road to permit spoil removal and delivery of material using rail. Closure of Old Oak Lane will be minimised as far as practical. Pedestrian access along it will be retained—including for pushed cycles. There will be a supplementary bus service along Victoria Road. Special provision should be made for vulnerable people; for example, to receive food deliveries.
205.The project will evaluate whether HGV entrances can be kept away from homes. Other measures will include provision of visually acceptable noise barriers and noise-reducing hoardings, reduction of light pollution and pollution monitoring. Certain plant machinery will be locally insulated. Properties will be assessed for acoustic glazing, and ventilation requirements.
206.Assurances to Ealing Borough Council also cover landscaping. Tree loss in Victoria Gardens and Cerebos Gardens will be minimised. It is important that the project provide a legacy of public open space and highways improvement in this densely populated area.
207.Stephenson Street and adjacent roads form a conservation area next to the Euroterminal rail transfer depot which will be used for spoil removal and material delivery. The Promoter is considering ways to alleviate the long-term impacts of construction. Residents will be eligible for noise insulation if such broader mitigation cannot be implemented.
208.There project will entail some unavoidable difficulties for this area. Worthwhile concessions have been won and more may be forthcoming.
209.Wormwood Scrubs will be the location for some utilities reconfiguration (a sewer rerouting). There was concern among local interest groups about adequate restoration after the works. We heard that, additionally, a permanent pedestrian access onto the Scrubs might be created in connection with the railway. The local Member of Parliament, Andy Slaughter MP, believed that this would be inconsistent with its use as amenity. We endorse his request that HS2 Ltd seek to reach a position of certainty on protecting the Scrubs, and offer appropriate assurances. We welcome the Promoter’s shift in position on the proposed broader mitigation arrangements at Wormwood Scrubs.
210.Whereas the Bill proposed a vent shaft at Salusbury Road in Kilburn, AP4 proposed a substitute location at Canterbury Road, on land owned by a motor trader and repairer. This locality had recently seen intensive building work and local residents were sceptical about the enforceability of good construction practices. They were concerned about the proximity of the works to the nearby St Mary’s primary school. They questioned whether and why the apparently greater development value of Salusbury Road had prompted the shift of location. The local Member of Parliament, Tulip Siddiq MP, appeared before us and reinforced the arguments vociferously articulated by local people—especially parents of children at the school.
211.The peak period of vent shaft construction works will last for some six months. Construction traffic will mostly avoid the school approach road by using Albert Road, and will avoid Canterbury Road during the school drop-off collection hours. The Promoter came forward with some £500,000 of measures to mitigate noise effects on the school and to provide ventilation to safeguard interior air quality. We are satisfied that these are reasonable measures and that accordingly there is no reason to propose a further relocation of the vent shaft. We have directed a study of whether construction may have adverse effects on the school’s outside recreation space. If there are predicted adverse effects from, for example, HGV movements or spoil dust, measures should be taken to alleviate them. Subject to a risk assessment, staff from the Nominated Undertaker should be assigned to secure the safety of children entering and leaving the school, for instance at unusual hours.
212.Subject to appropriate legal arrangements, the operator of the premises to be used for the vent shaft should expect to be able to benefit from business relocation compensation, including the 90% upfront payment element of compensation that is intended to assist with cash flow.
213.This vent shaft will be in a built-up and busy area, with business and residential property immediately adjacent. The main construction period will take some six months. There were concerns over traffic emissions and safety.
214.We agree with petitioners that this is a sensitive location for construction with a high population density. Together with the Canterbury Road vent shaft it is possibly the most sensitive in an urban area. The Promoter explained that alternative construction route options involving Loudon Road are not practical and would not receive Transport for London consent. We accept that, but the Promoter must tread carefully here. Construction traffic and activity should be timed to take account of local residents. Depending on local wishes, the Promoter may need to look at more considerate working hours avoiding weekends and busy traffic periods. It has provided assurances that the vent shaft façade will be designed to fit sympathetically with local Grade II listed buildings.
215.Going east from Old Oak Common, the railway is planned to run in bored tunnel to a portal south of Parkway in Camden, and then further—within a box construction—as far as Granby Terrace. It would enter Euston on new tracks west of the existing railway system and terminate at platforms within a westward-extended, remodelled Euston station. The number of rail platforms would increase initially from the current 18 to 19 (comprised of 13 conventional and six high-speed platforms), to accommodate HS2 Phase One. For HS2 Phase Two that would increase to 24 (13 conventional and eleven high-speed). It is worth noting that the ultimate reduction by five in the number of conventional service platforms is offset by an increase from zero to 11 in the number of high-speed service platforms.
216.Under the Bill scheme, the 11 high-speed platforms would have been built as a single construction project ending in 2026, in time for Phase One operation. This would have provided generous accommodation for the Phase One services coming into operation in 2026. It would have required a significant intrusion onto five conventional platforms, with consequent services effects. On the other hand, after that pain had been endured, remaining development of the station could have commenced in 2026.
217.AP3 proposed a two-phase construction of the high-speed platforms; the first phase to take place by 2026 and the second by 2033. That would reduce service impacts, but postpone the date on which development of the remaining station could be embarked on.
218.The proposed new Euston tracks and station premises require substantial rebuilding and demolitions. Notable among these are the rebuilding and raising of Hampstead Road Bridge, the demolition of flats and other buildings adjoining Hampstead Road and north of Drummond Street, the rebuilding of Mornington Street bridge, ground anchoring works at Park Village East on the west side of Camden cutting to facilitate tunnel creation, train shed demolitions, and the construction of three head house and ventilation facilities down the west of the Camden cutting. There would be a vent shaft from the tunnel at Adelaide Road, north of Euston. There will be substantial utilities works in various surrounding areas, notably the Ampthill estate flats. The long high-speed platforms require demolition of two office blocks outside the current station, north of Euston Road. It was impressed on us on our visit to Camden with Sir Keir Starmer MP that the project will have a massive impact. Sir Keir’s predecessor as Member for Holborn and St Pancras, Frank Dobson, gave evidence to us on this in Committee.
219.Petitioners from Camden and Euston were generally even more opposed to the AP3 scheme than the Bill scheme, on the basis that it would prolong construction duration in an area with a substantially higher residential population (notably more than around St Pancras HS1 rebuilding). Occupation of green space for construction would be extended. Petitioners argued that AP3 could also result in a missed opportunity for holistic regeneration of the station and the area.
220.At a strategic level, petitioners questioned the need to terminate the high-speed railway at Euston. So far as the proposed project was concerned, residents, businesses, schools, cyclists and churches were among those we heard who were concerned about the extent of demolition works and rehousing needed, about social disruption and about the effects of such long-term construction on mental and physical health. They wanted significant compromises from the Promoter on mitigation.
221.Given the strength of feeling about the effects of building at Euston, we heard argument on a proposed alternative terminus at Old Oak Common, even though the Bill’s principle includes a Euston terminus. We were not persuaded that an Old Oak Common terminus would be viable either permanently or temporarily, for several reasons. We heard that a large number of HS2 journeys will be to and from central London. To reach central London by changing from an HS2 terminus Old Oak Common would place undesirably high dependence on a single underground service: Crossrail. The evidence was that overall journey times from Old Oak Common via Crossrail would for most destinations be longer than onward travel from Euston. (Canary Wharf was an exception.) Preference for Euston would mean many passengers wishing to travel to central London continuing to choose the West Coast Main Line, reducing the opportunity for capacity improvement.
222.Several petitioning bodies came forward with ideas on how to reduce the extent of construction works north of Euston. We heard that the Euston Express idea of using existing track width to avoid widening the Euston station approach ‘throat’ was ingenious but flawed. It would disrupt Watford electric services and possibly also the Bakerloo line. It would affect freight services travelling between the West Coast Main Line and the eastern rail region. It would require high levels of night-time construction in a residential area. The complexity of its engineering would increase cost. Most significantly, it would reduce West Coast Main Line capacity by some 25%, whereas the Promoter’s scheme would achieve capacity requirements up to 2040 with a substantial margin.
223.We heard about a proposed ‘double-deck’ option that would avoid a westward extension. This incorporated an attractive architectural design for the station. It would produce only 14 platforms and would leave no room for services without intruding on links to London underground.
224.We concluded that these alternatives to the Promoter’s scheme were not viable. Petitions on the Promoter’s Bill scheme and AP3 scheme for Euston were heard in December 2015.
225.The first proper vent shaft in the tunnel north of Euston is proposed to be constructed in part of the area of a nature reserve to the west of Adelaide Road. Under AP3, construction would require the entire closure of Adelaide Road—an important thoroughfare—for a substantial period of some four months. Local people were concerned about the closure, the environmental impact on the nature reserve, and the visual impact of the vent shaft on the area. They argued for an alternative vent shaft location at Juniper Crescent.
226.The Juniper Crescent site would require a realignment of the railway which would slightly extend journey times (by less than a minute). Its location would make construction more difficult than at Adelaide Road. We heard that this could cost between £6m and £19m more.
227.We invited the Promoter to produce a revised proposal in relation to road closure for construction at Adelaide Road. The Promoter came forward with an amended plan involving only a single-lane closure, with traffic light control to permit two directional flow. We heard that the Nominated Undertaker will work to reduce the four-month closure period if possible. We are satisfied with that solution. The vent shaft design will need to be approved by the local authority. We expect it to be sympathetic to the area’s valued architectural heritage. Planting of mitigation screening will start early on.
228.In relation to the broader project in Camden, the Borough Council and the Promoters succeeded in agreeing a set of assurances which were outlined to us on 1 December 2015. These built on a number of existing agreements which included provision of replacement social housing in the area.
229.There will be a study of whether the proposed replacement Hampstead Road Bridge can be lowered in profile so that its impact is reduced. 1,025 properties are to be fitted with acoustic mitigation and ventilation and surveys will be carried out to establish whether others should also benefit. A plan to maximise the amount of waste removal carried by rail will be developed by May 2016. This may alleviate the extent of lorry use of the Zoological Society of London car park facilities, where there is a small but significant population of hedgehogs.
230.There will be funding of up to £5m for replacement and enhanced recreational space, including £500,000 for conservation. The Promoter will contribute up to £4.1m to the costs of building, fitting out and running a skills centre. Other measures have been proposed including on the design of vent shafts and related infrastructure.
231.We heard that there is a methodology for assessing settlement in locations such as Park Village East. Monitoring will continue after construction until any further settlement is minimal.
232.We have some specific directions for further mitigation. We want monitoring of air quality to feed into an assessment of whether rehousing should occur in cases where air quality deteriorates. This should keep in mind an aspiration of improving the baseline air quality in Camden. The current position is clearly unsatisfactory.
233.Residents from both sides of the Camden cutting were worried about the duration and extent of the works in the cutting and about incidental effects of the project such as loss of parking. There, at Ampthill estate, and in other areas particularly close to construction, we would like residents to be consulted on their preferences for how to moderate the impact of the construction programme. Start-up and shutdown hours might be moderated, for instance. We want the Promoter to avoid adding to the burden carried by the area with works such as night-time surveys. Night-times should be off limits for such activities. Periodic construction breaks and non-working Saturdays should be consulted on and considered. If parking can be usefully reinstated for short periods of construction inactivity, it should be.
234.The intrusion of utilities works onto the recreational and other outdoor space of Ampthill estate is undesirable but probably unavoidable. Residents are right to be worried about it. We want the Nominated Undertaker to use the best available mitigation equipment to reduce noise intrusion here and in similar locations. We want a programme of works to compensate for loss of these amenities. We mention club memberships and provision of access to recreational amenities as possible ideas. There may be other, better ideas.
235.No more than six months after the start of the works, there should be an assessment of compliance with noise limits and a survey of health impacts. The Promoter should reconsider rehousing based on the outcome of that survey. It may need to revisit the noise limits and hours applicable to construction work in Camden at that point. Throughout the project we expect the Nominated Undertaker to consult conscientiously, thoroughly and sympathetically to address any specific problems with non-compliance. It should listen to what residents say about what might help, and respond with more than average diligence.
236.The choice of sound insulation and other mitigation measures should be in sympathy with construction and architecture and take fair account of residents’ views on what is visually acceptable. We mention Silsoe House in particular.
237.We direct these measures as ways to address the duration and intensity of construction in Camden. We do not envisage that they should necessarily be extended to other areas of the project. Camden is exceptional, and needs special treatment. Many residents are going to have to put up with disturbance on a scale beyond the experience in most other locations.
238.We are satisfied that progress has been made in meeting the legitimate concerns of Camden residents. We hope that more can be achieved as design work and preparation for beginning construction continue.
239.This recording studio operates in sensitive premises near to the Camden cutting. It had concerns about notice of works and about vibration and noise effects. The Promoter is considering a mitigation plan and a framework for surveys to address those concerns.
240.Businesses, hotels and professional and academic organisations in and around Stephenson Way will be severely affected by construction. They need proper notice of when works will commence so that they can organise their activities. We believe a minimum of three months’ notice is appropriate—preferably more. The Promoter has agreed to establish a business mitigation user group to discuss problems and solutions. These will be helpful. We urge the Promoter to respond positively to the needs of petitioners from this area in the period between our report and the Lords select committee stage. The activities of several of the organisations we heard from are noise and/or vibration sensitive. We would like the Promoter to pay the reasonable costs of risk assessment and surveying to determine sensitivity to construction effects such as vibration.
241.There should be a footfall survey in relation to Drummond Street and neighbouring restaurants and shops to establish usage patterns. That will help address how to retain business. The Promoter should consider ways to make the route from Euston to Drummond Street attractive and friendly.
242.We heard that the HS2 side of Euston station will be designed to facilitate permeability and allow the classic side of the station to be developed to a broadly similar level. There is a problem, which is that the terrain at Euston is not flat: the west of the station is higher, and the HS2 platforms will be dug down into it. HS2 envisage what they call a north-south ‘spine’ down the station to accommodate this with the realities of differential construction times. Sir Keir Starmer MP was among those who argued that the spine would create an artificial divide. There are probably compromises to be had: sloped surfaces between sections of the station might be difficult to fit within a two-stage building project but could be created later, for instance, once alternative thoroughfares exist.
243.The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Transport have both strongly expressed their aspirations for an innovative and visionary, comprehensive redevelopment of Euston station. This is especially important given that Prof. MacNaughton told us that—by 2037—250,000 people will use HS2 Euston each day. We share the view that Euston’s ultimate design needs an holistic approach. The Committee agrees with Camden that the opportunity for such a redevelopment should not be wasted and that the final appearance of the station should be a coherent whole.
244.A Euston Integrated Programme Board has been established to consider integration of the HS2 side of the station with the classic services side of the station with public engagement. Members of the Board will include HS2 Ltd, Transport for London, the Greater London Assembly, Network Rail and Camden Borough Council. Interested parties met in February 2016 to determine the Board’s terms of reference and remit. Separately, the Euston Station Design Panel will examine the particular needs of the high-speed services station. These bodies will report to overarching strategic panels—the Euston Strategic Board and the Euston Station Strategic Redevelopment Board.
245.These bodies should start work as soon as possible on a design brief for a coherent station. They will need to communicate with each other and with interested parties. We wish them success.
246.HS2 works will make allowance for access to a future Crossrail 2. As Councillor Sarah Hayward of Camden Borough Council suggested, delivery of a comprehensive station design must also take account of Crossrail 2 and be timed around it.
247.Euston Estates are the leaseholders of four buildings designed by Richard Seifert on the south side of Euston station: three towers and a podium building. The podium building is integrated with the easternmost tower. Those two buildings will be used by HS2 during construction but are proposed to be handed back after 17 years of building work. The two western towers will need to be demolished to allow for HS2’s long platform lengths.
248.The freehold is owned by Network Rail. The leasehold owners of the properties have a long lease of more than 100 years. They did not want to be forced to re-enter the two undemolished properties after a period as long as 17 years, during which time they will have essentially no control over them, and little ability to plan for the potential state of the property market on reacquisition. By then, Euston will be an entirely different place. They were also fearful about the uncertain application of statutory compensation arrangements so far in the future. They wanted the Promoter to buy them out.
249.They further argued, in our opinion with merit, that if the Secretary of State acquired the additional property it would open up substantial greater scope for redevelopment, including by potentially marrying the current leasehold interest with the freehold and putting new property arrangements in place.
250.The position of Euston as a site of major redevelopment means that conventional occupation and compensation arrangements are not appropriate. We have strong doubts about the use of temporary possession powers in this instance. The leasehold owners will be in a difficult position if forced to re-enter what will be by then a radically different property in condition and situation.
251.The leasehold owners and the Promoter reached agreement on two options: outright purchase or a bespoke compensation framework. That framework includes a mechanism for assessing compensation that overcomes the statutory uncertainties, including an arbitration process and provision to override statutory limitation provisions. The properties will be valued by the end of February 2016 and the Secretary of State will consult with HM Treasury and by 1 May 2016 decide whether to purchase. The 1 May 2016 deadline will allow time for a petition in the House of Lords if necessary.
252.The Bill as presented included an HS2-HS1 link between Old Oak Common and St Pancras. There were strong objections to the effects that that would have had from Camden. There were criticisms of its likely functionality. Before we began our work, the Government decided that it would not proceed with the link between HS2 and HS1. The House’s instructions to the Committee included a specific instruction not to consider petitions on whether there should be such a link.
253.The economics of cross-continental rail travel and modal shift from aircraft use are complex. The question of a continuous fixed link between HS1 and HS2 was outside our remit. We do not comment on it save to express a view that the success of and need for a national high-speed network is not necessarily contingent on a fixed link to the international network. Journey patterns are complicated.
254.Quick and comfortable ways to get between HS1 and HS2 will nevertheless be needed. Euston and St Pancras are some 800m apart. A tunnel between them could run under roads parallel with Euston Road, arriving in the northern part of St Pancras. The coherent design plan we have suggested as an imperative for Euston should include convenient ways to get between HS1 and HS2.
255.The AP3 Euston scheme has advantages for existing rail users. The effects of its longer duration must be recognised and addressed. A coherent plan for Euston station is needed to meet the expectations of rail users, underground travellers, businesses, local residents and the country’s capital.
Visit to Netley Primary School
256.Many petitions we heard involved issues that were better addressed by detailed negotiation between the parties, such as in matters of commercial treaty. The petitions hearings nevertheless helped facilitate negotiations in several ways. First, they compelled the parties to expose their positions to a degree of public scrutiny, which provided an incentive to pragmatism. Second, they inserted an element of time pressure into discussions. Third, they allowed us to intervene publicly to encourage movement toward agreement in certain cases where we believed that to be appropriate. Fourth, they created an opportunity for us to intervene informally to encourage one or other party to be more reasonable, thereby catalysing settlement.
257.We have acknowledged several debts of gratitude in this report. A further one is owed to local authorities, their councillors, employees and representatives, for their assiduous attention to the needs of their residents, businesses and other bodies, for their success in achieving much of benefit, and for the helpful way they appeared before us.
Petitioners in Committee
15 HS2 Ltd, Information Paper, (June 2015)
16 The petitioner was Silklink Ltd
17 That is, the railway will be built so as to permit a future ring road.
18 The main case was heard from 13 to 21 July 2015
19 An intervention gap is a surface part of the tunnel required in part for emergency access
20 Oral evidence taken on 15 July, HC (2015–16) 129, [Mr Tim Smart, HS2 Ltd]
21 See proceedings of 20 July 2015
22 Oral evidence taken on 16 September, HC (2015–16) 129, [Mark Hendrick MP]
23 The case for this was heard over several days, principally on 25 November 2015
24 HS2 Independent Assessor, High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill: Additional Provision (AP4): Report of the Independent Assessor on comments on the Supplementary Environmental Statement and AP4 Environmental Statement, HC (2015–16) 846,
26 Oral evidence taken on 30 June, HC (2015–16) 129, [Rt Hon David Lidington MP said that the cost had been £950,000]
27 The case on this was heard from 13 to 21 July 2015
28 HC Deb, 9 March 2015, [Commons written answer]
29 See transcript for 26 Jan 2016. The proposed site for the depot is on land formerly used for railway use.
30 See above
31 See proceedings of 15–16 June 2015
32 See the noise section of the route-wide chapter
35 See transcript of 16 June 2015
36 Oral evidence taken on 25 January 2016, HC (2015–16)
37 Green Park Way will be where the Northolt tunnel eastbound (from West Ruislip) and westbound (from Old Oak Common) tunnel boring machines are brought to the surface.
38 See proceedings of 30 November and 1 December 2015
39 There are smaller ventilation and control shafts further south
40 This followed the recommendations of Sir David Higgins’s review published in March 2014
Prepared 29 February 2016