Buckinghamshire Council has refused to approve lorry route applications for HS2 Ltd.
The applications were refused due to a lack of relevant information and concerns by Buckinghamshire Council about the impact of increased large construction vehicles (HGVs) movements on the A413/A355 corridor from north of Wendover to the M40 at Beaconsfield.
Despite pressure from HS2 Ltd to approve these applications, Buckinghamshire Council has held its ground on insisting on the need for additional information to be able to properly consider the applications and their impacts. Whilst HS2 Ltd have carried out an assessment, they have refused to share the key details of this with Buckinghamshire Council.
Since the HS2 Act was approved, HS2 Ltd and its contractors have changed the way that the railway is to be constructed. One of these changes combines lorry routes onto the A413/A355 corridor.
Although HS2 Ltd have provided some information on the numbers of anticipated HGVs and proposes a number of improvements, Buckinghamshire Council does not consider that it has sufficient information to demonstrate that the changes would not have a significant impact on the free flow of traffic, particularly given that this single route would be used for all work sites south of Aylesbury as far as Amersham.
HS2 have appealed against the refusal by Buckinghamshire Council to allow the applications and it will now be up to the Secretary of State for Transport to make the decision, or he may allocate the decision to the Planning Inspectorate.
Buckinghamshire Council is a Qualifying Authority which means that it determines some types of applications relating to HS2 works, including lorry route applications for Heavy Goods Vehicles over 7.5 tonnes and where there are more than 24 lorry movements per day. The Council has limited grounds on which it can refuse an application and these are set out in Schedule 17 of the HS2 Act 2017.
Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire Council, said: ‘Buckinghamshire Council has consistently opposed the building of HS2. Not only do we doubt the strategic case for it, but we also recognised the negative impact it would have on our local communities up and down the line. Now that construction has started we are seeing the devastating environmental damage to our beautiful county and we are doing our best to hold HS2 to account.
The use of the A413/A355 for hundreds of heavy lorry movements a day for several years is a massive issue for Buckinghamshire. Before considering lorry route applications, the Council has to ensure that the cumulative impact of the additional HS2 HGVs on the A413/A355 will not bring Buckinghamshire to a standstill. HS2 have not provided us with the information we require to give us any reassurance on this issue.
The lorries have the potential to impact not only on highway traffic but also the local environment in terms of noise and pollution and also on all other road users. It is our responsibility to help ensure that the effects of that construction traffic is minimised as much as possible. The proposed routes will affect communities and residents from north of Wendover all the way to Beaconsfield and Buckinghamshire Council cannot and will not approve these applications on this basis, and HS2 has been informed of our position.‘
*Source of article : Press release from Buckinghamshire Council.