Councils call on Government to delay advanced HS2 works

Councils across Buckinghamshire are pilingpressure on theGovernment to stop all current HS2 preparation work until the detailed design has been properly approvedand full cost of the scheme made clear.

As part of the collective action,Aylesbury Vale andChiltern District Councils have already debated and agreeda specialmotion at theirfull council meetings last week, calling on the Government to pause all current site work until the ‘Notice to Proceed’has been approved. South Bucks District Council has also agreed to write to HS2 to express the sameconcerns.

And tomorrow (April 25),Buckinghamshire County Council will debate the same motion at their full council meeting.

As required by the Department of Transport, a Notice to Proceed should not be given until the management capability, affordability of contracts and robustness of the revised business case have all been fully proven and approved.

The earlyHS2 works are already causing devastation across the county fromCalvert in the north, through Great Missenden and down into the Colne Valley. There are major utilities works, roadworks, ground investigation, vegetation removal and netting of hedgerows all happening now. This is all in spite of it being widely reported that the official Notice to Proceed for the project has been pushed backtowardsthe end of the year.

In a joint statement, CouncilLeaderssaid there wasabsolutely nojustification why the County’s residents should suffer significant disruption and long term environmental destruction while things remainso unclear.

They say it’s massively disruptive to have HS2 contractors trampling all over the County doing preparatory work without the final scheme details even being known. Some of the current work is also extremely controversial and is creating significant issues locally. As a result,Councils also wantHS2 Ltd to significantly improve the effectiveness of its community engagement with all those impacted by the line.

The Leaders add that if the Crossrail schemeis anything to go by, then it is clear that HS2 is definitely far from on time and on budget. As a result, the councils will be asking fora proper review to be undertaken before any further taxpayer funding is committed.