In order to “significantly” shorten the construction plans for HS2s Euston station, the government have announced new plans for the removal of debris. The station itself is facing a £400 million cost increase, which would eventually see it be linked to a Network Rail station. Though, said station has yet to be built.
HS2s chiefs had originally given assurances in the 2016 Bill that passed through parliament, stating that, it would be removing the excavated construction materials from Euston station “by rail”. Under the new plans however, these materials will now look to be removed using HGVs instead of the rail network itself. Camden Council have expressed concerns over the new plans, revealing that an estimated 25,863 additional lorry journeys will be required over the span of 2 years.
These new plans have sparked an outrage amongst the local community and council for a multitude of reasons, such as the new disruptions to roads that could be caused. Currently, an average of 60 HS2 lorries are required daily and take up specific routes going through Euston Road, Albany Street and Hampstead Road. After the announced new plans, it is estimated that there could be a rise in the use of these vehicles by over 150 percent.
As is often the case in infrastructure projects the size of HS2, there is expected to be a certain level of disruptions caused for the targeted areas. This was admitted by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps when he recently sat down with the Transport Select Committee, to discuss his performance in the role so far. When addressing the impact, the projects construction work is having in certain areas, particularly in Northern England, Shapps stated: “yes there will be disruption, it would be disingenuous to say otherwise.”
Though disruptions are to be expected, the Camden Council have condemned the announcement as it claims that many residents are currently living with massive disruptions and noise. To maintain a positive image, it is vital that HS2s representatives attempt to work with the council in areas such as this and devise a strategy to maintain good relations with the people affected.
The other major concern of the newly established plans is the environmental impacts that will be caused through the doubling of lorries driving to and from the station. Seb Dance, Sadiq Khans deputy Mayor for Transport has called on the government to block these new plans over the potential pollution fears.
The new approach to this portion of the HS2 construction project starkly contradicts statements given from HS2 minister Andrew Stephenson: “From the beginning, our vision for HS2 has always been to leave the environment surrounding the route in the same condition, if not better, than we found it and build a cleaner and greener transport future.”
As the HS2 project continues to cause concern over disruptions, accompanied by the pollution fears, the government and those involved in the construction need to adapt their approach to work with local areas. The recent work and adaptive approach to railway construction in Cubbington has shown how HS2 can implement environmentally friendly methods where possible. It is vital that the project fits within Stephenson’s aforementioned statements regarding the vision of HS2s environmental plans.