HS2 tunnel height confusion – 3 years of false hope & reassurance

Since 2012 residents have been told and believed the HS2 tunnel in Ruislip (known as the Northolt tunnel) would be 30m deep.

In the Environmental Statement in 2013 it was stated –

HS2 Northolt tunnel
2.2.7 The Proposed Scheme will cross the western boundary of CFA5 in twin-bore tunnels.
Key permanent features of this section will include the following (see Maps CT-06-015
to CT-06-018): two tunnels, of 8.8m internal diameter, of which 4.4km is in this area and with an average depth below ground level of 30m;

In maps given to some individual petitioners before their select committe appearances in June 2015 the depth of the tunnel was stated as 29.5m. For others just a road further along it was much shallower.

Then in late June 2015 it was discovered that the 30m depth was incorrect and HS2 confirmed the following by email:

Further to our email exchange earlier today, I am sorry to have to say that the additional checks we said we would carry out have uncovered an error in the depth measurement presented in your exhibit (P6897).

As you may know, during the hearings today, the Chairman of the Select Committee raised with leading counsel for the Promoter, the question of whether the cross-sections which have been shown to the Committee in relation to petitioners, including yourself, who have raised settlement issues, are accurate.

I understand that the Chairman raised this issue in the light of Luke Shirley’s evidence. The Promoter is therefore looking again at all of the cross-sections which we produced and presented to the Committee.

We have found that on your cross-section (P6897), we have erroneously shown the ground level as being above 50m AOD (Above Ordnance Datum) in this location. The correct ground level is in fact around 15m lower. Accordingly, the distance between the top of the tunnel and the ground level, shown on the cross-section as 29.2m, was incorrect. The correct distance is in fact 14.9m.

In light of this error, we are carefully checking the other information shown on the cross-section and we expect to complete this during the course of tomorrow. We will send you a corrected copy of the cross-section as soon as those checks are completed.

I should make clear that this error is confined to the drawing which was produced for the purposes of the hearing of your petition. It does not affect the assessments of ground borne noise/vibration in the Environmental Statement, or the assessment of tunnelling induced settlement as shown on the settlement contour diagram (P6896). These assessments were carried out prior to, and independently of, the creation of the cross-section referred to above.

I apologise that we were not able to respond by 5pm as you requested. As I am sure you will appreciate, we wanted to be absolutely certain that we were now providing you with the correct information.

I am copying this email directly to Nick Hurd MP and will try to speak to him ahead of tomorrow’s hearing to ensure he is aware of the situation.

We will also explain the position to the Committee.

Once again, I can only apologise for this error and the confusion it has caused.”

They made this statement to the select committee on the morning of the 1st of July, view here from minute 9.31.21 onwards. It was officially an apology but only really for one map/document not all the other years of confusion and numerous other documents that led us to believe the tunnel was deeper than it was and therefore that our homes were safer than they are.

We have requested a full list of all the mistakes made and a full apology to us and to the committee. We have also asked that they inform all other affected residents whether they petitioned or not.

We await the promised meetings and information and will post any information here.

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A lesson from Crossrail – what construction really looks like

Cross Rail visit – members of Hillingdon Against HS2, requested a visit to an actual construction and tunnelling site in 2012 and 2013. After chasing and chasing and chasing Hs2 Ltd. in May 2014 the visit finally took place. It was very upsetting to see the scale of the construction, and the proximity to homes, some of which is similar to what will take place in Hillingdon. See the Stop HS2 article about it here.

Here are some pictures of how construction looks in reality, rather than the couple of pretty bollards and a few traffic lights some residents have been shown in meetings.

pic 1pic 2pic 3pic 4

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Hybrid Bill still needs HS2 Heathrow Spurs removing by committee

This was our update on this topic in March 2015 –

HEATHROW SPUR WILL NOT BE BUILT IN PHASE 1 OR PHASE 2 – after being put on hold in 2013 it is now official (as it gets with HS2) that the Heathrow Spurs will not be built in phase 2 either. So now all efforts to extend the tunnel, save HOAC and protect quality of life for all that live, work and travel through Hillingdon.

We urge all to push for the related works to be dropped from the hybrid bill so please get in touch with your MP about this ASAP.

Please read more details here and remember as things stand the hybrid bill includes building passive provision for the spurs (that may never be built) and that means more landtake and more construction across a wider area – until that wording is removed!

Heathrow spur 09032015

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Election Candidate’s position on HS2

In case you hadn’t heard there’s going to be an election on 7th May!

Local candidates from all parties are out and about all looking to secure your vote, please let them know how important an issue HS2 is. It would be great if you could get in touch with all your Parliamentary candidates to express your view of HS2. On Twitter, please use the hashtags, #GE2015, #HS2 and any local hashtags.

Because HS2 is so important to some voters, STOPHS2 have launched the “We won’t vote for any party that supports HS2” campaign. You can download the posters from their website – and display them in your window.

We’ve been reading the manifestos of the main UK political parties to let you know what they have to say on HS2 – full details are on the Stop HS2 website stophs2.org.
Conservatives, Labour, LibDem and the SNP all express support for HS2 in their manifestos.

Political parties that oppose HS2 include the Green Party and UKIP.

HAHS2 have attended 2 recent hustings for the Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency to hear what each of the hopeful local MPs had to say about HS2. So here’s a brief overview of each party. You can see a full list of candidates HERE with links to contact them.

Says he’s the strongest candidate to help mitigate HS2 in London more. Won’t support it without a better plan for Euston,link to HS1 or an extended Northolt tunnel through Ickenham.
Says he would defy party policy and vote against HS2 and would fight for better mitigation.He wants HS2 scrapped and money spent on better NHS and Hillingdon Hospital.
Says route is wrong and that it should follow the M1. He is personally in strong favour of HS2 as well as following party line in support.
Says he wants to see HS2 scrapped altogether as per party policy. UKIP would call for a referendum to allow the public to vote on HS2.
Says mitigation is not enough, wants HS2 scrapped as per party policy. Thinks trains and platforms should be lengthened with improvements to WCML.
Says mitigation and tunnels are not enough or acceptable and HS2 must be scrapped.

We have less information from the Ruislip, Pinner and Northwood constituency which also covers Ickenham and Harefield but there is an upcoming hustings, information HERE and a full list of candidates HERE with links to contact them.

Says he can’t support current HS2 proposals because of the cost to the constituency. Compensation is still not fair enough. Will vote against it at next stage unless we get the mitigation we are petitioning for.
Says he will vote against the current route.
Says he supports HS2 but we need to go further in ensuring protection for residents like extra tunnelling and better compensation.
Says HS2 has to be scrapped as it has no business case.
Says she opposes the HS2 project as wasteful and unnecessary and recognise the negative impact it would have in the south of the borough.

In two weeks time, we will need to let a new set of MPs know about the problems with HS2. We have some plans for immediately after the election, although exactly what we do will depend on the results. The Stop HS2 website and the@stophs2 twitter account will be updated with plans when they are ready.

HAHS2 will be supporting any event organised and we hope you will join us.
Keep in touch via our website and facebook page for details nearer the time.

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Our view on Uxbridge and South Ruislip #GE2015 Hustings

10/04/15 Uxbridge parliamentary candidate hustings overview.

None of the candidates spoke about HS2 with any real local knowledge or detail of local issues.

Boris Johnson.(Cons) Thinks he’s the strongest candidate to mitigate HS2 in London more. Won’t support without a better plan for Euston, link to HS1 or an extended Northolt tunnel through Ickenham.

Mike Cox. (Lib Dem)Thinks route is wrong (though since he thought it went through Cotswolds a bit worrying!) Says route should follow M1 but is personally in strong favour of HS2 as well as following party line.

Graham Lee (Green) Thinks mitigation not enough, wants HS2 scrapped as per party policy. Thinks trains and platforms should be lengthened with improvements to WCML.

Jack Duffin (UKIP) Wants HS2 scrapped as per party policy. Would call for a referendum.

Chris Summers. (Labour) Would defy party policy and vote against. Would fight for better mitigation but wants HS2 scrapped and money spent on better NHS and Hillingdon Hospital.

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Hillingdon urges caution on HS2 Heathrow spur comments

The council website published the following on the 11th of March 2015 –

hillingdon council imageIt is encouraging to hear that the Secretary of State for Transport stated yesterday that he recognised the level of concern from Hillingdon residents regarding the Heathrow Spur.
He said that it would now not be constructed as part of phase 1 or phase 2 of the HS2 scheme.
The Leader of Hillingdon Council, Cllr Ray Puddifoot, said: “We welcome the statement of intent from the Government that there is no appetite to pursue a High Speed rail connection to Heathrow. We hope this is a good indicator that a third runway at Heathrow will not happen. Furthermore, this just illustrates the concerns that there has never been a business case for the Heathrow spurs and that the case for HS2 has been eroded to the point of complete instability.”
Whilst this is encouraging news, the Leader of the Council has also urged caution and insists the fight continues.
He continued: “We would like to thank our MPs Nick Hurd and Sir John Randall, along with Dominic Grieve for all their support and hard work to solicit this admission from Patrick McLoughlin. However, we do not believe that the Secretary of State’s statement will remove the blight in the area.

“Unfortunately Phase 1 of HS2 still includes the junctions needed for any future connection to Heathrow and it is noticeable that Patrick McLoughlin has made no reference to these. Whilst the Hybrid Bill remains as currently proposed, the threat of a Heathrow Spur link does not go away and it allows for yet more Government u-turns.

“Hillingdon Council will therefore seek assurances that these junctions will be removed from the Hybrid Bill provisions.”

You can see our previous items on the HS2 spur here and here.

Also some clarification we have previously sought from HS2 Ltd. about whether residents affected by the Heathrow Spur plans can apply under the Exceptional Hardship Scheme. We asked the same question this week following this announcement. They still can.

You can also revisit details of the letter local MPs sent on this issue here and a recent(ish) viewpoint by Boris Johnson.

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West Ruislip depot option explored for HS2 construction

A recent statement on the current work to find a solution for the devastation HS2 construction will cause to our area. The best solution remains the obvious one – a tunnel across the area.


“The London Borough of Hillingdon is working with TFL to determine the feasibility of extending the existing West Ruislip Rail Depot in order to significantly reduce the impacts of HS2 in the borough and across the Colne Valley. A depot extension would remove the need for HS2 Ltd to:

  • Create a temporary railhead in Ickenham in the Greenbelt
  • Dump excavated material on 100hectares of agricultural land and open countryside
  • Site a large construction compound (for 10 years) and concrete factory between Harvil Road and Breakspear Road South
  • Use locals roads for thousands of lorry movements
  • Run a 1.8km conveyor belt from Ruislip Golf Course to the temporary Ickenham Railhead

The proposed extended depot solution is in its infancy and the Council and TFL are investigating how it would be delivered with the least amount of impacts.

Its not ideal to have to choose between the devastating impacts of the current proposals and a potential depot extension. However, on balance the extended depot proposal has far fewer impacts and would present the least worst option for HS2 in the borough. Assuming a suitable proposal can be developed that will have minimal impacts to residents and the environment, the Council will be presenting the depot extension to the HS2 Select Committee as part of its petition to secure a more bearable scheme. ”

We await further details so residents can be sure of the potential impacts of this option.

For instance, noise to properties previously not affected, use of West End Road for transport access to depot etc. Also of course, the benefits of this option to properties and roads currently negatively affected.

If this is taken forward as the preferred option it does yet again raise the question – why did HS2 miss this option?

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HS2 Select Committee visit to Hillingdon

Select committee visit – (15/1/2015) the committee visited HOAC, Harefield and Ickenham and parts of Ruislip last week. There was a great turn out from local residents to show how much the impacts of HS2 are affecting peoples lives. Visit our facebook group (Ruislip Against HS2) for more pictures or see our twitter feed @HillingdonAHS2.

The visit included Harefield harefield marina


Brackenbury House brackenbury house

and the Greenway the greenway

The committee also visited The Old Orchard, West London Composting and the TFL Depot at West Ruislip. They then had lunch on the High St and haart estate agents but up this excellent display:


The Gazette has an article about the day and Nick Hurd has written a blog about it. Both are full of pictures.

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New studies show Colne Valley tunnel makes sense!

Save Ickenham banner final-page0001 Save HOAC banner final-page0001

Press release from Hillingdon Council (8th Jan 2015)

Hillingdon Council has commissioned two independent studies that prove the viability of an HS2 tunnel through the Colne Valley to reduce the devastating impact of the high speed railway on west London.

The council has repeatedly requested that the whole route through the borough be a tunnel should the project go ahead. It commissioned the major new reports after HS2 Ltd refused to provide a robust appraisal of this option.

The first study, produced by Peter Brett Associates, proposes a 7km tunnel between West Hyde and West Ruislip.

This would be an extension to the proposed Northolt tunnel and would replace the current HS2 Ltd plan for a viaduct and surface section slicing through the Colne Valley.

There are huge technical benefits from tunnelling, the report concludes, and it will have significantly less impact on the environment, communities and businesses in the Colne Valley and beyond.

PBA also found there is greater certainty of delivery of the tunnel option compared to building a viaduct and concerns over local ground conditions and landfill contamination.

The report says: “There is a feasible tunnel solution which will allow HS2 to transit Colne Valley in a manner which avoids the extensive work proposed on the surface, the consequent negative construction impacts over a seven year period and the permanent operational noise and visual impacts.”

The build cost of the tunnel is estimated at £1.16bn, which is just 5.8 per cent more than the current HS2 Ltd viaduct/surface option.

The second report commissioned by Hillingdon Council examines the wider negative impact of HS2 Ltd’s proposal for a surface route to help measure its true cost.

Produced by Regeneris, it examines the economic, financial and environmental cost of HS2 on the borough as currently planned, which it values at between £41.9m at the lower end to as high as £157.5m.

Accepting the lower range of impacts, then the financial gap between the two schemes reduces to £22.13m, or just two per cent.

Taking into account the land and property compensation which has been disclosed by HS2 Ltd at over £54m the cost of delivering the tunnel would be considerably lower.

Both studies can be found on the council website.

Useful documents petitioners may wish to use to support their request for a longer tunnel can be found here.

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Boris Johnson meets with Ruislip & Hillingdon Against HS2

Ruislip and Hillingdon Against HS2 met with Boris Johnson to ask him about his views on HS2 – we asked him lots of questions and let him know the local concerns about the scheme, the area and the need for him to clearly state his position. His official statement is:

” Boris Johnson, Prospective Parliamentary candidate for Uxbridge & S Ruislip recently met the leading figures in the Ruislip Against HS2 campaign. He listened to the continuing concerns about HS2’s lack of detail on the effect of any pre work and during actual construction, noting in particular the impact on West End Rd near to Ruislip Gardens. Boris said, ” I can reaffirm my opposition to this scheme unless we can be satisfied beyond doubt that any proposed mitigation builds upon the success we have already achieved by having the route tunnelled through Ruislip. Defeat the need for the Heathrow spur and the tunnel can then go beyond Harefield. My support is also conditional on a suitable direct link to HS1″. 

There is also an article on the Gazette website.

This was our first meeting but not the first time we’ve met Boris and raised HS2.

We are sure this will be the first meeting of many…

lottie and boris


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