As we head towards spring we’re entering into the next phase of our HS2 Journey.
It’s now been 7 (long) years since we started our campaign. Over those years we have been committed to ensuring we keep you updated with everything we can about what’s happening with HS2 and we hope you still find these newsletters helpful.
This month we are conducting a survey to try and gauge the current general feeling of Hillingdon residents about HS2, and how we can best help to keep you informed and support you.
We would be really grateful if you’d take a couple of minutes to fill out our survey which you can find HERE
Please do also share it with friends and family.
We continue to fight for the best possible local mitigation and we haven’t given up hope that the government may still come to their senses and scrap the whole sorry mess that is HS2.
In the meantime, there are 3 main working groups that represent Harefield, Ruislip and Ickenham that come under our umbrella and we work very closely together in regular meetings with HS2Ltd and more recently with their contractors.
We continue to be supported by Hillingdon Council and liaise with them regularly to try and hold HS2Ltd to account and ensure we do as much as we can to protect our local communities.
In recent weeks we have had separate meetings with the HS2 Construction Commissioner, the Director of HS2Ltd’s Community Engagement, Theresa May’s Environment Advisor at Downing Street and also Boris Johnson MP, in order to keep them aware of the local ongoing issues we have.
We continue to put pressure on everyone and anyone we can, on your behalf, but we still need your help to keep HS2 at the top of their agenda.
Boris Johnson and Nick Hurd tell us they are always keen to hear more of local people’s views on HS2 so please check their contact info at the bottom of this newsletter and get in touch with them.
In case you were not aware, you can also make appointments to meet either of them at their constituency surgeries held once a month.
I’m sure you will have signed many petitions that we have shared over the years but this is probably the most important and current one (started just after our last newsletter so you may have missed this one) Please do sign HERE as the deadline is imminent.
You will see there’s a map of constituencies which shows where the most signatures come from – and we really need the Hillingdon area to be better represented! Please share the link with friends and family around the country.
You may be aware of the recent collapse of Carillion – one of the country’s biggest construction companies -which went into liquidation last month. Many thought that this would surely have an impact on the future of HS2, since the government awarded Carrillion HS2 contracts last year ( despite knowing they were already in trouble) There’s no doubt there will be implications to the already spiralling costs of the project but the reality is that Carrillion had already subcontracted the HS2 commitments.
COLNE VALLEY VIADUCT
We have fought for many years to avoid the necessity of an HS2 viaduct across the Colne Valley but sadly the tunnel option through this part of Hillingdon was never approved by government.
During the petitioning process at both House of Lords and House of Commons, petitioners in Harefield were reassured that when it came to the design phase, local community and residents would be able to have input and that there would be involvement with the designers and contractors.
Despite many requests this has not yet happened.
We were aware that a design had been in existence since last summer. We believe that HS2Ltd deliberately withheld the documents from us and we have been requesting the publication of the design for the last 8 months. After official complaints and intervention from Boris Johnson, the draft design was finally made public with a press release.
HS2Ltd implied, on social media, that the local community had been involved in the design process.This is blatantly untrue and after further complaints, the statement was retracted and we had a rare apology from HS2Ltd.
The link to the documents and design can be found HERE
HS2Ltd are insisting that this design is just a draft and only a concept and what has been produced may not be relevant to what eventually is built.
We have pressed hard for there to be an opportunity for local people to give their views on what they think is most important in the design of the viaduct, as it will be a significant feature of HS2 across the Hillingdon landscape.
As such, HS2Ltd and the contractors responsible for the viaduct, Align, will be holding some public events this month. Many residents will have had a leaflet inviting them to attend.
More information, along with dates and venues can be found HERE
Please do go along to and make sure your opinion counts – there will be a feedback survey to fill out at the events which will also be made available on-line and in paper form.
Please check our Website or Facebook as we will be sharing the feedback forms once they are available.
HS2LTD LOCAL WEBSITE
HS2Ltd have set up a new website for all Hillingdon HS2 news. It’s still in the early stages and we are pushing for more detailed information to be included. There are explanations and descriptions of current and expected work and there is likely to be much more added over the coming months. There is an option to receive news updates so you don’t have to keep logging into the site – and there is also a page for you to be able to give HS2Ltd feedback… don’t be shy!!
Please do use the site and sign up for the updates HERE
CURRENT LOCAL HS2 WORK
You may be aware that HS2Ltd have already started some ‘Ground Investigation’ work and some ‘Enabling’ works in and around Harefield, Ickenham and Ruislip.
At locations where there have been bore holes and ground drilling, we expect there to be regular (monthly) activities as HS2Ltd continue to monitor their sites.
Between Ickenham and Harefield there have been more significant amounts of work, specifically on Harvil Road where a large construction site has been created to facilitate the movement of a gas main line.
You can read more about the extent of the work HERE
This work has caused a lot of local concern. The ‘site clearance’ has involved a large swathe of trees being removed with a major impact on the local environment.
You can see the extent of the work from drone footage HERE
In response to this, a group of protesters have set up camp opposite the main site in an effort to hold up the work and protect the environment.Their direct action has attracted some attention and a few news headlines.Unfortunately HS2Ltd have the permission to carry out this work as the hybrid bill grants them powers.
In what seemed a heavy handed response HS2Ltd and the DfT took the protestors to court to gain an injunction against them to prevent them from protesting on the work sites in the future.
You can read about the injunction HERE and the legal wording HERE
Work will be extending on this site and also on Breakspear Road South in the coming weeks. This sadly is the tip of the iceberg as enabling works are only a fraction of the construction plans of the future.
Information about Breakspear Road South can be found HERE please be aware that there will be traffic management in place which may delay road users.
COMMUNITY AND BUSINESS FUNDS
There will be many hundreds of us that will be affected by HS2 locally, who don’t qualify for any compensation for the disruption that 7-10 years of construction will cause.
Whilst we fought hard for as much mitigation as possible ( and we are continuing to put pressure on HS2Ltd to do more) many parts of our communities will still suffer disruption or financial losses.
To help offset this, HS2Ltd have set aside £70 Million, in 2 different national funds which have already started to be allocated – So far NONE have been awarded in Hillingdon!!
This is a rare opportunity to find some benefit from HS2 and it shouldn’t be passed up!
Community groups, schools ,charities, sports clubs, local businesses, resident associations etc. can all put in bids for a share of these funds.
If you have a connection to any group or business who you think might be eligible, PLEASE encourage them to apply and share this information on. There is more information and detail to help you HERE