Cubbington Action Group against HS2 has obtained mapping that shows the design of the proposed High Speed Two London-West Midlands route (HS2) in much greater detail than has been previously known, showing earthworks, cuttings, embankments and construction compounds. This mapping will be on display at an Information and Coffee Morning on Saturday 16th March at Methodist Church Hall, Queen St, Cubbington, 10am to 12 noon. Cakes, cards and a DVD of the HS2 route will also be on sale.
The new plans have been made available by the wholly Government-owned company that is responsible for designing the HS2 route, High Speed Two Ltd (HS2 Ltd). This design is nearing completion, to allow a draft Environmental Specification to be produced in the spring. However, HS2 Ltd has stressed that there is still more work to be done and that the drawings are provisional at this stage.
Two versions of the map have been provided
The first shows the route as it would be when completed, and includes, for the first time, details of the plan views of all of the required earthworks drawn to scale, allowing the footprint size of cuttings, embankments and mitigating earth mounds to be estimated. Some additional constructions that will be required, such as balancing ponds and electricity supply facilities have also been included. In addition, this map shows the boundaries of the land that will be permanently required for the project.
The second map details the land that will be occupied during the construction of HS2. It also shows the location and size of the “construction compound” on Leicester Lane, which will be used for the storage and treatment of excavated spoil.
Despite the stated intention of HS2 Ltd to “work closely with local communities to develop the design in a way which will minimise potential impacts”, none of the mitigation suggestions that were submitted by the Cubbington Action Group against HS2 in May 2012 have been incorporated in the HS2 Ltd design. HS2 Ltd has not even been prepared to discuss these proposals with the action group.
Peter Delow, Chairman of the Cubbington Action Group against HS2, has been attending regular meetings with HS2 Ltd to discuss the ongoing design since March 2012. He said:
“I am extremely frustrated that HS2 Ltd has been totally deaf to our suggestions. I appear to have wasted a considerable amount of time and effort talking to them over almost a year. It appears that minimising the impact of HS2 on our local environment is not a priority for HS2 Ltd. I think that our residents will be deeply shocked when they see the size of some of the proposed earthworks and the extent of the construction sites.”
The most noticeable feature of the design is that the trackbed is considerably higher than shown on the drawings that were published for the public consultation on the route held in 2011. According to Peter Delow, this means that cuttings are shallower, and offer less noise mitigation, and embankments need to be higher. He added, “The design that we have been presented with now is significantly different from the one that we were consulted upon, and HS2 Ltd is telling us that its engineers are currently looking at increasing the trackbed height still further. I cannot see that it is legitimate to consult on one design and then proceed on the basis of a far more environmentally damaging one.”
- The proposed construction compound on Leicester Lane was the subject of a press release issued by the group on 30th September 2012, available at http://www.hs2-cubbington.net/download/120930.pdf.
- The pledge by HS2 Ltd to work with local communities was given in a letter dated 7th March 2012 that was signed by Alison Munro, Chief Executive, and sent to parish councils and other local community bodies. This letter may be viewed at http://hs2andtheenvironment.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/16-community-forums-offchurch-and-cubbington.doc.
- The mitigation proposals submitted to HS2 Ltd by the group in May 2012 may be viewed at http://www.hs2-cubbington.net/download/120621.pdf.
- The route design drawing may be downloaded from http://hs2andtheenvironment.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/c223-csi-cv-dpp-030-000004.pdf and the construction drawing from http://hs2andtheenvironment.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/c223-csi-cl-dga-030-000004.pdf).