'Put brake on HS2'
Councils across Buckinghamshire are piling pressure on the Government to stop all current HS2 preparation work until the detailed design has been properly approved and full cost of the scheme made clear.
As part of the collective action, Aylesbury Vale and Chiltern District Councils have already debated and agreed a special motion at their full 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 same concerns.
And this week 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 early HS2 works are already causing devastation across the county from Calvert 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 back towards the end of the year.
In a joint statement, council leaders said there was no justification why the county’s residents should suffer significant disruption and long term environmental destruction while matters remain so unclear.
They say it is massively disruptive to have HS2 contractors trampling all over the county undertaking 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 want HS2 Ltd to significantly improve the effectiveness of its community involvement with all those affected by the proposed line.
Leaders add that if the Crossrail scheme is 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 for a proper review to be undertaken before any further taxpayer funding is committed.