Buckinghamshire County Council has won a raft of new measures to reduce the impact of HS2 in Buckinghamshire.
The mitigation was secured after intense negotiations with HS2 Ltd in the days running up to Buckinghamshire County Council leader Martin Tett’s appearance at the House of Lords last week.
It is also hoped that peers on the HS2 Select Committee will demand further mitigation in Buckinghamshire when they release their recommendations in the New Year, 2017.
The new measures are in addition to those won back in January 2016. The new measures include new road safety measures, landscape work to ensure the line is properly screened, assurances to reduce the impact of construction on businesses and community facilities and money towards administrative costs the County Council will incur because of HS2.
Martin Tett said he was proud of the way the county had worked with district, town and parish councils to present a convincing case for extra mitigation.
He said: ‘Securing mitigation from HS2 Ltd can quite frankly feel like pulling teeth, so winning this new package of measures, which will make a real difference to local residents, is a testament to the hard work of the County Council and its partners.‘
Martin added: ‘I’ve made no secret of my opposition to this vanity project – and it would be far better if the Government stopped at the £2bn it has already wasted on HS2 without a single piece of track being laid, rather than spend a further £53bn on it.
The decision to expand Heathrow makes the case for HS2 even weaker, as the line was originally justified as an alternative to the third runway.‘
There are three key mitigation measures which have not yet been agreed, although it is hoped the House of Lords will decide to recommend them.
These are a fully bored tunnel for Wendover, the relocation of the haul road for Great Missenden and surrounding villages and mitigation to reduce the impact of construction vehicles in Iver.
Local parish councils will appear in front of the House of Lords Select Committee over the next few weeks to make their case for further mitigation.
The mitigation package agreed during the October 2016 negotiations are:
- Up to £80,000 towards traffic calming measures on the A41 in Waddesdon.
- A commitment not to use the section of the A40 between junction 5 of the M40 and A40/A4010 for construction traffic.
- HS2 to deliver 450m of footpath on the A413 London Road, Wendover connecting residents of London Road to the current footpath near the London Road roundabout.
- A mitigation package for Great Missenden: Safety measures including the upgrading of the roundabouts at Link Road and Frith Hill and a safety barrier for the skate park; a £500,000 contribution to the new coach and car park at Great Missenden Church of England Combined School; £500,000 worth of temporary landscaping; £250,000 towards replacement free-car parking in the village.
- A commitment to consider road safety for vulnerable users near the construction route for the vent shaft in Chalfont St Peter. This builds upon the assurances given to schools on the construction route which have previously been given to the county council.
- A contribution of £185,000 towards the cost of closing Roberts Lane, Chalfont St Peter to through traffic. The Parish Council wish to avoid rat-running through this lane due to the closure of Chalfont Lane by HS2 Ltd.
- A planting scheme for Hawkslade, Aylesbury to screen the rail line.
- £165,000 towards the costs of relocating footpaths in Steeple Calydon footpaths.
- HS2 has promised to produce an area specific travel plan for the vicinity of Infrastructure Maintenance Depot in Steeple Claydon.
- An agreement by HS2 Ltd to re-landscape the vicinity around the Infrastructure Maintenance Depot towards Steeple Claydon.
- An agreement to work with Buckinghamshire Golf Club and Denham Country Park on the timings of National Grid works to limit the impact on the two venues.
- The relocation of the road access to Great Moor Sailing Club to ensure there is no impact on the number of parking spaces or berths.
- Wendover public realm enhancements: HS2 to undertake early tree planting; up to £500,000 towards cycle improvements on the A413 to the north and south of Wendover.
- An assurance to re-route (subject to approval by the county council) construction traffic away from Iver High Street and Bangors Road.
- Up to £35,000 towards the administration of the £1m Calvert community fund.