HS2 construction traffic heading to M40 will not use the A40 but A4010 and A4129 are still possible routes
The Leader of Wycombe District Council,Cllr Katrina Wood, is continuing to speak out against HS2 construction traffic coming through Wycombe District on ‘unsuitable’ roads following her appearance at a House of Commons Select Committee last month.
Joining with representatives of three local councils (Princes Risborough Town Council, Bradenham Parish Council and West Wycombe Parish Council), the Leader of Wycombe District Council helped to present evidence against proposals for HS2 construction traffic to use routes through Wycombe District.
The news that HS2 Ltd will not use the A40 as a specified construction route that could have taken many heavy lorries past listed buildings along the A40 through West Wycombe is welcome but this is a partial victory.
More work remains to be done to either stop or mitigate the impact of HS2’s proposals to use the A4010 or the A4129 for the high volumes of HS2 construction traffic heading towards the M40.
The lobbying group will continue to raise concerns – though the A40 is not specified as a construction route, some vehicles (up to 24 HGVs per day) could still use the A40 through West Wycombe for journeys to and from site compounds. Wycombe District Council is also continuing to press HS2 to carry out a technical appraisal in order to properly explore using alternatives to the A4010.
Cllr Katrina Wood, Leader of Wycombe District Council told the Select Committee that using other routes where there were stretches of dual carriageway would affect significantly less homes (60% fewer) along their route and would have significantly less impact on local traffic. She expressed her concern that congestion on the A4010 which is the District’s main route for emergency ambulances to take people to Stoke Mandeville hospital could have ‘serious consequences’ in a life threatening situation.
If the technical assessment demonstrates that it is not possible to re-route HS2 construction traffic, the lobbying group has also set out what restrictions (eg avoiding peak hours) and road safety measures would be required on the routes through Wycombe District.
Citing local growth through house building and commercial development, Cllr Wood said that routes through Wycombe District, which are already congested, may have to accommodate up to 23% more traffic by 2026 as a result of population growth changing travel habits and as new homes are built.
Speaking to the Select Committee, she said: ‘We’re doing our bit to deliver against Government housing targets to potentially build 15,000 new homes and to contribute to the local economy and our own housing needs. All that means more vehicles on the local road network – but if you add thousands of HS2 lorry journeys into this mix, our local roads simply won’t be able cope.‘
The Select Committee will now consider the groups evidence and HS2 Ltd’s response and report on this in forthcoming months. In the meantime Buckinghamshire County Council is continuing its highways and transport negotiations with HS2 Ltd.