Fares, rail policy and DfT news

26.04.19

‘No justification’: Buckinghamshire councils demand government halt HS2 prep work until Notice to Proceed given

Councils across Buckinghamshire have agreed to pass a special motion calling on the government and HS2 to halt all current site work in the county.

Aylesbury Vale and Chiltern district councils and Buckinghamshire County Council said they were “pilling pressure on the government” to stop all current HS2 preparation work until the designs are approved, the full cost of the scheme made clear, and a ‘Notice to Proceed’ has been approved.

All three authorities have now debated and agreed the special motion, whilst South Bucks DC has also agreed to write to HS2 to express the same concerns.

Buckinghamshire CC said the early HS2 works are “already causing devastation across the county” from Calvert, Great Missenden and down into Colne Valley where there have been several protests against HS2 construction work.

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Major utility works, roadworks, ground investigation, vegetation removal and netting of hedgerows are all happening “in spite” of it being widely reported that the official Notice to Proceed for the project has been pushed back to the end of the year.

The authority said that as required by the DfT, a Notice a Proceed should not be given until the management capability, affordability of contracts and robustness of the revised business case has been fully approved.

In a joint statement, the council leaders said there was “absolutely no justification” why the county’s residents “should suffer significant disruption and long-term environmental destruction while things remain so unclear.”

The statement says residents are complaining of “massively disruptive” HS2 contractors “trampling all over the county doing preparatory work without the final scheme details even being known.”

“Some of the current work is also extremely controversial and is creating significant issues locally.

“As a result, councils also want HS2 Ltd to significantly improve the effectiveness of its community engagement with all those impacted by the line.”

The authority leaders added that if the issues that have plagued Crossrail are anything to go by, then “it is clear HS2 is definitely far from on time and on budget,” and as a result have asked for a proper review to be undertaken before any further taxpayer money is committed.

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