Ruislip Against HS2 – Newsletter 43

From local campaigners against HS2 Ruislip……

Dear Supporters,

2015 is well under way and HAHS2 have already had a busy start to the year. As ever, there is much to update you with;The HS2 Select Committee started hearing petitions from along the route and in January we had our ‘site visit’ from members of the committee. Hillingdon petitioners are preparing for their appearances before them – some will be heard in parliament before the general election in May. Hillingdon Council have produced a ‘Tunnel Report’ to support the calls for further mitigation for Ickenham and across The Colne Valley and following on from the last consultation, new compensation changes have been announced.The next couple of months will see local parliamentary candidates stepping up their own campaigns to win votes at the election and we expect HS2 to feature on their agendas.
HS2 Select Committee visit.
On January 15th some of the MPs who sit on the HS2 Select Committee visited Harefield, Ickenham and Ruislip to see for themselves the areas that are expected to be most directly affected by the construction and running of HS2.
HAHS2 accompanied the visit along with our local MPs, LBH Councillors ,Officers and HS2Ltd .We were able to highlight the realities of the biggest concerns for the area.The visit included significant stops at various roads, homes, HOAC, potential construction sites and spoil dumping land.They heard and saw for themselves how serious and damaging the plans are here, including details of traffic construction routes.
We think that the visit was a success in that we were able to bring the route maps to life and the committee were genuinely interested in what they saw and heard from local residents, who had gathered at each of the stops along the way. We are very grateful to everybody who turned out on a cold, wintry day to greet the committee and those who helped organise the great banners and posters that adorned the route.The committee have the power to make changes to the plans for HS2 within the hybrid bill. Now that they have visited the area, they will have a better insight into the requests being put forward by petitioners and we hope they will be persuaded that our calls for further tunnelling are justified.
You can read more about the visit and see pictures HERE with more on our Facebook Page
We are expecting a return visit from the Select Committee later in the year, when we hope they will take a tour of the rest of Ruislip where the route is tunnelled. We will keep you updated when we are advised of a date but we hope that we can replicate the turnout
from residents that we had for The Colne Valley visit.
Hillingdon Petitions.
HAHS2 helped organise a day of meetings on January 21st to help all of those in Hillingdon who have submitted petitions. The sessions were well attended and advice was given by the Borough Solicitor and Parliamentary Agent on how to present individual petitions to the Select Committee.
If you have submitted a petition and you couldn’t make the meetings or haven’t already been in touch, please contact us so we are aware of your petition ( and number) and we can extend some support, advice, and forward you the slides from presentations.
More workshops are being planned and groups of petitioners have already visited The House of Commons with Nick Hurd MP to get a feel for what to expect from an appearance before the committee.
We now have confirmation that petitioners from Harefield will be called to present their petitions from March 17th,with Hillingdon Council, Ickenham and Ruislip petitioners expected to appear after the election.
The timetable for hearings is published by parliament, a month in advance and all petition appearances can be followed on the parliamentary website, either watching parliamentary T.V live or reading the transcripts.
You can find links to this and more HERE
LBH Tunnel Report.
Hillingdon Council continue to support our campaign against HS2.As ever our priority is to campaign against HS2 in it’s entirety. However, we must engage with the parliamentary process at each stage.So, as part of our ongoing calls for better mitigation, LBH have commissioned a study into the feasibility of extending the Northolt Tunnel beneath The Colne Valley. Not only does this study show that an extended tunnel is possible, it shows that the costs are comparable to the much more damaging overland option.
HS2Ltd have yet to respond to the outcome of this study which has been made public.
LBH have chosen to hold back their appearance and presentation of their petition to the Select Committee whilst waiting for a response from HS2Ltd.
You can read the report HERE
West Ruislip Depot.
You may be aware that as part of construction plans at West Ruislip, HS2Ltd intend to build a temporary rail head to carry away tonnes of excavated spoil across Ickenham. If the Select Committee don’t agree to extending the tunnel then we need a fallback position for lesser mitigation – but for the best outcome.
As such Hillingdon Council have proposed an alternative site for the rail head at West Ruislip Depot as part of their petition.
LBH  recognise that there are potential downsides to this proposal, not least because of the homes (that have already been mitigated by the Ruislip tunnel) now stand to be affected by the new plan,and there are also more traffic implications.
However relocation of the rail head to the West Ruislip Depot is a less disruptive option which would facilitate more spoil being carried away by rail and less need for lorries on the road.
The proposals are currently being discussed with Transport For London in order to ascertain feasibility.
If it’s seen as a viable option then the idea will be developed in more detail and LBH will draw up further plans with TFL and then consult with anyone who might be affected to help with mitigation of any negative
impact it might have.
If the Select Committee don’t grant us a tunnel extension but they consider the West Ruislip Depot proposals as an alternative, they will issue what is called ”an additional provision”
This is a change to the HS2 Hybrid Bill and as such opens up the option for people to submit further petitions on the new proposals in the future.
You can read more from Hillingdon Council on the proposals HERE
Following the last consultation on compensation,the Government have announced their final package of compensation measures. Thank you again to everyone who took time to respond – over 1300 of you in Hillingdon!
There have been some improvements in rural areas but the scheme is largely a rehash of the last proposals with a new name.Sadly the Government have not seen fit to listen to public concerns to make enough of a difference for many people.
Once again those in urban areas,above tunnels or close to construction have been ignored.
However HS2Ltd will now accept applications for the Voluntary Purchase, Cash Offer and Need To Sell scheme. These supplement those launched last year,namely Express Purchase and Rent Back.You can find more information and detail HERE
London MPs along the HS2 route have come together to call for better mitigation and compensation in urban areas. Please help support this message by signing this petition.
General Election.
The general election will be held on May 7th this year and the candidates from all parties will undoubtedly be out canvassing in earnest for your votes. HAHS2 remain a non politically aligned campaign group and we will leave it up to you to decide
who – if anyone – will have the most influence to help Stop HS2 should they be elected.However we would strongly urge you to raise HS2 as an important election issue with anyone who should come knocking on your door to looking for your vote!
We are very grateful for all the donations we have received recently and much of the progress that has been made over the last few years could not have happened without your generosity.
Please do think about make a donation if you can.
If you can contribute in any small way, donations will be gratefully received either via Paypal on our website by clicking the donate button HERE or by sending cheques to Hillingdon Against HS2 to: 8 Almond Close, Ruislip , HA46EB
You can also help raise funds really easily – FOR FREE! as you do your everyday shopping online – please register HERE
Once again,Many Thanks for your continued interest and support.