Wendover HS2 – October 2020

Archaeology works at Grove Farm near Small Dean Lane, September 2020.

After many months of pushing we are starting to see some movement by HS2 about how the excavation for the “Green Tunnel” could interfere with the Coombe Hill aquifer.  Thanks to encouragement from Rob Butler MP, the Environment Agency has taken note about the potential loss of water into the Wendover Arm Canal and Weston Turville Reservoir SSSI nature reserve.  Bucks Council and Fairford Leys are also concerned that the water will get diverted towards Aylesbury and add to the existing flood risks.

We hear that EKFB (HS2’s contractor) have been told that by the EA they need to really understand the existing spring water flows before they will receive permission to start works.  This has all been helped by a recent Appeal Court decision in favour of Hillingdon Council that HS2 need to provide evidence to support their planning proposals for the line, and not just point to the requirements of the HS2 Act.  This has a knock on effect for Bucks Council, who now realise that they also need to demand evidence from EKFB to demonstrate thorough assessment of their plans to avoid future problems such as compensation claims if things go wrong.

The consequence of all this seems to be that EKFB are starting to realise that we are serious about protecting the local environment, and they need to do more work on their designs.  The August HS2 e-update from Bucks Council reported that the Wendover Dean planning proposals were expected that month but subject to slippage; and no dates were given for the Small Dean Viaduct or the Green Tunnel…