WenSTAG Meeting Wednesday 21 April 2010
These notes were given out at the public WenSTAG meeting in Wendover Memorial Hall on Wednesday 21 April.
HIGH SPEED TRAIN (HS2) PROPOSALS
The Government has published proposals for a second high speed rail line in Britain, running initially from London to Birmingham. The proposals recommend a route which would have a devastating effect on the Chiltems Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Green Belt, as well as damaging other environmentally sensitive areas in Buckinghamshire. For Wendover, the line would run through the Misbourne Valley to a viaduct across the A413 and the Chiltem Line just east of Wendover and a further viaduct over Bacombe Lane, before entering a “cut and cover” tunnel under Ellesborough Road and then on an embankment across the cricket field and the field beyond. The line will carry all high speed rail traffic with an initial capacity of 14 trains per hour in each direction, up to 400 metres long, travelling at 250 mph, non stop between London and Birmingham. Construction may start in 2019 and the line could open in 2026. Total infrastructure cost is between £15.8 and £17.4 billion.
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED – When will this happen?
Exceptional hardship scheme consultation closes (see below)
Government begins a programme of public consultation
Government decides whether to proceed with the proposed high speed line from London to Birmingham
2011 – 2013
Design and further assessment of the preferred route
Further public consultation on detailed proposals
Hybrid Bill laid in House of Commons
Possible start of construction
Possible opening of London to Birmingham section
What will be in the impact on Wendover?
The route impacts severely on Wendover. Properties in Ellesborough Road are scheduled for demolition to make way for the “cut and cover” tunnel, and farms in its way will be either destroyed or their viability reduced. Many other properties will be affected by noise and the visual impact of viaducts and embankments.
Have alternative routes been explored?
Yes. The Government has looked at a number of routes but HS2 Ltd, which is a Government owned company, concluded that the preferred route best meets their requirements in terms of design, cost and environmental impact.
What about the noise impact?
No information is available at the present time on the noise impact. However, with frequent trains 400 metres long, travelling at up to 250 mph, it will inevitably be horrendous.
How will Wendover respond to the proposals?
Immediately the proposals were announced, your County, District and Parish Councillors, together with the Wendover Society, met to discuss the way forward. They formed an initial Action Group called WenSTAG. The Group is evolving already to include other people with particular expertise. Subject to ratification at the public meeting on 21st April, this group will co-ordinate Wendover’s robust rejection of the proposals.
What can I do now?
The first thing is to respond to the consultation on the proposed Exceptional Hardship Scheme. This consultation closes on 20th May 2010, and covers compensation arrangements for those who need to sell their homes before the decision to proceed with HS2 is taken. It is available at www.dft.gov.uk/consuitations/open and all Wendover residents are urged to respond. Paper copies of the response form will also be available at the Clock Tower and at Wendover Library. Second, if you have any expertise that you feel may be helpful in developing the response to the HS2 proposals, please contact David Whitaker at email@example.com.
What expertise is needed?
If you have a background in engineering, noise mitigation, ICT, publicity, fund raising or relevant professional or business experience and are able to offer help, please get in touch with David Whitaker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How will you let us know what is happening?
We will submit regular updates to Wendover News and publish newsletters at critical points. We also hope to establish our own website in due course.
Where can I get more information?
Detailed information, including the Command Document setting out the detail of the proposals, is available on the Department for Transport website: www.dft.gov.uk/highspeedrail. Copies of the document and maps are available for inspection at Wendover Library.WenSTAG will be holding a “drop in day” in Wendover Library on Saturday 5th June from lOam to 4pm. Members of the group will be available during the day to answer your questions and documents and large scale maps will be on display.