HS2: Wake up Wendover

  |  Published: Aug 24th 2018

Written by Dr Colin Riley, Founder and President Emeritus of the Wendover Society, with thanks to Bob Lewis for facts and figures and additional information.


Wendover is the only community where the HS2 situation is still under review by the government.  You can still influence the choices for Wendover and the surrounding area.  So please, think about what HS2 means for you personally—and write to decision makers NOW to reject the current plan.

The works

There's the local impact of the works—for at least the next FIVE years—the traffic; the noise; and the effect on local businesses.  What will they mean for you?

  • Traffic delays and chaos—How much more time will you have to spend in traffic jams while you drive to schools, work or home? Remember what it was like when one lane was closed on the A413 London Road near the entrance to Boswells.
  • Will heavy truck traffic be rattling your windows and polluting the air you and your children breathe?
  • Will the local shops you depend on be able to survive the disruption—and if they don't, how far will you have to travel for essentials? 

Ongoing impact

Then there's the impact of the line itself—the cost; the irreparable damage to the landscape and the village itself; and the relentless noise.

  • An estimated cost of £90 Billion*—at a time when the NHS, education and community services are being cut back. Will you lose the services you need because of HS2? (*Source: leaked internal report for Infrastructure and Projects Authority, 2016).
  • Will it still feel like home when what greets you are the concrete slabs of the viaducts and the high walls and ugly scars of the rail line?
  • Will you be able to hear yourself think—never mind sleep, or enjoy your outdoor space—for the thundering of high speed trains every 90 seconds from 5am every day until midnight?

Destructive and costly 

HS2 is planning two viaducts and a 'cut and cover' tunnel—cutting a deep channel for the rail line, then throwing a roof over the top. HS2 misleadingly calls this a 'green' tunnel—but it's not environmentally friendly.  It's actually more destructive and more expensive than a mined tunnel.  It means:

  • Compulsory Purchase and demolition of homes in the affected area at a cost of £4.5 Billion to date—and this area is narrowly defined, so other homes on the margins will still be affected.
  • Ugly sound baffle walls which will be vulnerable to weathering and vandalism—and won’t do the job. Recent experience in the Colne Valley has shown that they need to be at least 5 metres high to be effective—but HS2's walls will only be half that in Wendover.
  • Uprooting the natural vegetation and wildlife, replanting and repopulating it. But that will take years to establish; what biodiversity—or even whole species—will we lose in the meantime?
  • Rerouting the (many) water sources, and pumping essential water back to the area. But how many pumps, how costly to run, and what happens when they break down?
  • A complex tunnel engineered in short segments. Joints between segments would inevitably prove vulnerable to leakage and failure throughout the life of the line, requiring constant vigilance and maintenance.

Cheaper, faster, simpler 

We have been lobbying hard for a mined tunnel where the tunnel is excavated well below the A413 and the Chiltern railway line. This means a cheaper, faster and technically simpler solution because:

  • Homes, businesses, and agricultural land are SAVED, since the tunnel goes underneath them.
  • Noise is REDUCED—without ugly, costly and ineffective structures.
  • The landscape, woodlands, natural vegetation, and fauna habitats as well as the wildlife itself are SAVED.
  • Water sources are undisturbed; NO COMPLEX PUMPING is required and the risk of flooding is reduced.
  • The tunnel is stronger since it is sealed as it is excavated, in a continuous process, so there's less ongoing maintenance and upkeep.
  • And estimates are that it will CUT TWO YEARS off the five years currently planned to build it—and SAVE the country £325 Million in capital expenditure.
  • Taking into account the Whole Life Cost—running costs as well as the building costs for the projected life of the line (which is only 60 years) a mined tunnel would SAVE the country £750 Million.


Are you angry yet?

HS2 are not considering any alternatives.  But we in Wendover should be; their project will change our lives.  We need to act now

  1. Find out more about this project and what it means for you personally.  Come to the meetings and exhibitions to see the mock-ups for yourself.  Get information online, from the Wendover Society, the Parish Council, HS2 and the press. 
  2. Write to decision-makers to express your concerns and reject this project as currently planned.  There are politicians who believe HS2 is a mistake.  But they need your letters (not emails) to back them up. 
  3. Talk to others in the community, your friends and family, and persuade them to write too.  

Write to:

  • Theresa May, Prime Minister
  • Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport
  • Nusrat Ghani, MP responsible for HS2
  • David Lidington, MP for Aylesbury
  • Phillip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer
  • Michael Gove, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

at:  The House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1A 0AA

...and send a copy to the Wendover Society (c/o The Red House, Wendover, Buckinghamshire HP22 6JQ) so that we have proof of the numbers backing change.

Together, our community can change things. 

 

More photos of HS2-related traffic congestion can be found here.

Images in this article are taken from the HS2 presentation given in Wendover on 5 July 2018 by Eiffage Kier.
Images in this article are taken from the HS2 presentation given in Wendover on 5 July 2018 by Eiffage Kier.
HS2 portal of cut and cover tunnel
Portal of cut and cover tunnel, artist's impression.
HS2 viaduct at Small Dean
Viaduct at Small Dean, artist's impression.
construction traffic
Construction traffic
work in progress
Work in progress
electric train
Electric train
Traffic buildup caused by HS2 investigative work along the A413 in Wendover, evening rush hour, 23 August 2018.
Traffic buildup caused by HS2 investigative work along the A413 in Wendover, evening rush hour, 23 August 2018.
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