Wendover HS2 Mitigation Action Group – January 2021
HS2 trains are going to be worse than we thought !
Harmful Noise Disturbance
We have uncovered an alarming fact that HS2 trains will be noisier than previously thought, and so will affect Wendover even more than previously expected. Over 1800 homes in Wendover will suffer noise greater than suggested in HS2’s Environmental Statement.
Did you know there are planned to be 349 trains between 8.00am – 7.00pm? That is one every two minutes. At night, they will be louder than the WHO standard of 60dB, resulting in sleep disturbance for many residents. The current HS2 design fails to meet this target across a large part of Wendover, particularly in the north.
The current HS2 design is a ‘wide cutting’ which encourages sound to travel. Wendover HS2 is advocating a pragmatic, cost-effective design: a ‘retained cutting’ north of Wendover. The cutting into the hill has vertical sides to stop sound travelling, effectively acting as a barrier to block the noise while greatly reducing the amount of earth that must be excavated. This design is being used elsewhere on HS2 and has no obvious downsides.
In the south of Wendover, solutions are more complex, but we are suggesting an enclosed barrier (effectively a tunnel in the sky) which is a design which has been used successfully on a Chinese high-speed railway where it passes through a bird sanctuary.
Meetings with HS2 & Bucks Council continue as we aggressively pursue these solutions, and we need your support. Please participate in our Noise Survey by giving us your views at www.whs2.org.
Flooding & Environmental Damage
We are seriously concerned by the impact on Coombe Hill and the surrounding elevated land which acts as a large underground reservoir (called an aquifer) soaking up rainwater. This releases the water and it currently feeds the canal and the Weston Turville Reservoir.
HS2’s plan is to cut through the Coombe Hill aquifer. The result is that the springs that feed the Weston Turville Reservoir Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the Wendover Arm Canal are likely to be starved of water which will be diverted down Stoke Brook towards Stoke Mandeville and Aylesbury. This, in turn, is likely to result in increased risks of flooding north of Wendover, while the reservoir will be irreparably damaged.
We remain very concerned that, if the council do not respond to the design submission robustly, we will lose the opportunity to protect Weston Turville Reservoir SSSI and the canal forever. Worse, we will see increased water flows down Stoke Brook leaving the new housing in Aylesbury to face flooding.
In the past few months, we have been engaged with the Environment Agency (EA) and HS2 contractors on this matter. HS2 contractors EKFB are now carrying out water testing and measurement to determine the amount of water in the aquifer and we await the results.
The Wendover HS2 Mitigation Action Group, whilst fully supportive of the Parish Council’s efforts to achieve a mined tunnel, has in parallel a clear mission to achieve the maximum possible mitigation for Wendover. We have the backing of our local MP Rob Butler as well as our Prime Minister, a regular visitor to our market town. As a result, we are making considerable progress with our alternative mitigation solutions and continue to hold HS2/EKFB/Fusion to account as their works continue around us. Please support us by visiting us at www.whs2.org.
Doing what’s right for Wendover