Hillingdon Council’s HS2 Win: a Lost Opportunity
Editor’s note: this press release and accompanying photos were supplied by an anti-HS2 organisation
After a two-year battle between HS2 Limited and Hillingdon Council, judges have upheld the council’s challenge to HS2 of the necessity to provide detailed information and evidence to back their planning application for the creation of a habitat for great crested newts. This plan formed part of the measures for building the Colne Valley Viaduct. The council referred to the possible archaeological interest at the proposed site and the need for further investigation. HS2 consistent response was that they were not obliged to provide any details on their application for the Colne Valley Viaduct South Embankment wetland habitat ecological mitigation. This view was rejected by the court.
The judges ruled that Parliament intended local planning authorities and HS2 Ltd to work in an effective and collaborative way that balances important local interests with the broader national interest.
So, the local residents of Hillingdon can breathe a sigh of relief and praise the counsellors’ tireless work to protect their local environment. After all they may remember, even before HS2 was given Royal Assent, Parliament told HS2 the Colne Valley was special, extra mitigation would be needed and it would be required to pass local planning, rather than be included in the HS2 Bill.
To further encourage Hillingdon residents in placing of their faith in their local council, and as reported in Construction News, the leader of Conservative-controlled Hillingdon Council, Ray Puddifoot said: “HS2 Ltd thought that they could act with total impunity and just expect the council to approve its planning applications without question. As the Court of Appeal has said, it cannot have been the intention of parliament to allow HS2 Ltd to be a judge in its own cause. For the avoidance of doubt, this council will continue to challenge decisions that may harm our environment or the health and wellbeing of our people.”
However, the local residents’ and other concerned citizens’ faith is arguably misplaced.
What they may not know is that Hillingdon Council have not been so active in protecting the other 500 or so acres within the borough that are being destroyed by HS2. They have also failed to stop the corruption of the water supply of 3.2 million people, caused by HS2.
The council have taken no stance at all to help the local residents being evicted from their homes, losing their businesses and having their entire lives shattered by the anti-social, arrogant bully that is HS2.
The environmental crimes of HS2 increase on a daily basis and instead of supporting the local residents and campaigners, Hillingdon Council has taken the easy political way out by contenting themselves with harassing and accusing these campaigners unsuccessfully of public nuisance.
The council has, in its wisdom, chosen to take down the police sanctioned Neighbourhood Watch CCTV at the Harvil Road protest Camp. They are also complicit in an illegal eviction carried out by HS2, of an encampment on council property. Personal belongings have been taken during the (illegal) eviction and incinerated. This includes passports, identity cards, drivers’ licences, musical instruments, bicycles, tents and more.
The worst part of Hillingdon Council’s actions of late include their collusion with HS2 to attempt to outlaw protests against HS2.
So much for Puddifoot’s self-congratulatory statement about continuing to challenge decisions that may harm the environment or the health and wellbeing of the people.
They have managed to save a mere 1.5 acres of wetland nature reserve.