High Speed 2 Overview

The current situation

On Thursday 23 February, Royal Assent was granted to HS2, giving the green light for construction to commence on the high-speed line between London and Birmingham. We expect the initial preparatory stages of the construction process to begin in the spring 2017 and we are doing all we can to ensure that the concerns of our local communities are heard at the highest level.

MPs vote for HS2 at Second Reading

On 28 April 2014, parliament voted for HS2 to go ahead.

We are disappointed but will continue to make representations as the HS2 Bill now passes to Committee and will be publishing our full petition online shortly.

AVDC’s petition will pick up on noise issues, construction related matters, ecological and heritage points and specific strategic locational matters. Bucks County Council’s petition will focus on route-wide and strategic issues, including highways, waste disposal, and ecological issues.

The Select Committee will over the coming months begin to hear from petitioners.

House of Lords Select Committee

The High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill (HS2 Hybrid Bill) (“the Bill”) is moving forward from the House of Commons Select Committee stage following the publication of its Final Report on 22 February 2016.

It has now progressed into the House of Lords Select Committee proceedings. The first reading in the House of Lords took place on 23 March and the period for submitting petitions closed on the 18 April.

The Council has Petitioned the House of Lords on the following points-

  • Extended Chilterns  Tunnel
  • Chetwode Green Tunnel
  • Integration of rail projects in Calvert/Steeple Claydon area
  • Local Authority costs
  • Broadband

At this stage it is not known how long the Lords Committee are going to have to sit to hear petitions, but it is likely that the hearings will commence sometime in May 2016. It is aimed for Royal Assent be given to the Bill by end of 2016.

The Council’s petition can be seen here

Property Compensation

Details of the new compensation package for homeowners and businesses near the HS2 line were announced on 9 April. The new package attempts to incorporate improvements to the original package, taking into account points raised during consultation. The three key packages are:
• express purchase for those in the ‘surface safeguarding’ area, the government will offer to buy properties at their full unblighted market value, plus 10% (up to £47,000), plus reasonable moving expenses.
• voluntary purchase for those in rural areas outside the safeguarding area, and up to 120 meters from the line. The government will buy properties at their full unblighted value up until a year after the line opens. This should be launched later this year.
• need to sell. This has no boundaries, and is available to those with ‘compelling reasons’ to move (e.g. job relocation, health issues), but are unable to sell their property due to HS2. The government will pay the full, unblighted value of these properties. This should replace the exceptional hardship scheme later this year.

All options will be accompanied by a rent back option for owner-occupiers who choose to sell their property but would prefer to rent it back and continue living there. This will be implemented immediately.

Further consultation will be undertaken on the following proposals:
• as an alternative to the voluntary purchase package, the government would offer a cash payment to those outside the safeguarding area, and up to 120 metres from the line, who do not wish to sell their property and move.
• for those between 120 and 300 metres from the route in rural areas, owner-occupiers could take cash compensation. Details of amounts and eligibility would be confirmed following consultation.

In addition, a residents’ charter will be developed to ensure residents know their rights. An independent Residents’ Commissioner will also be appointed to try to ensure HS2 Ltd adhere to all commitments, and provide residents with a voice and representation.

Read the full report.

Further details are available here.

Environmental Statement consultation

On 7 April, the report produced by Golder Associates summarising responses to the Environmental Statements was released. The purpose of this report is to inform MPs of the key issues raised in response to the ES, and therefore the report contains no recommendations or interpretations.

According to the report, a total of 21,883 responses were received, with minimising the impact of the route through the Chilterns AONB being the single greatest issue of concern. Throughout the route the issue of ‘tunnels’ was the most commonly cited issue, this high response specifically due to the campaign demanding a full length tunnel under the AONB. Issues regarding community; sound, noise and vibration; and public consultation were also commonly cited, and within parts of Buckinghamshire outside the AONB, agriculture, forestry and soils; and traffic and transport were also key issues.

Read the full report.

Buckinghamshire’s Mitigation Blueprint for HS2

The Blueprint for HS2 is the mitigation plan for HS2 through Buckinghamshire. This has been produced by Buckinghamshire County Council in conjunction with the four district councils – Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern District, South Bucks District and Wycombe District.

The Blueprint has been endorsed by The Chilterns Conservation Board, National Trust, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trusts, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership, Buckinghamshire Business First and the National Farmers Union.

Read more about the mitigation blueprint.

Background information

The government is pressing ahead with a new high speed rail route that would initially link London to Birmingham (phase 1) and subsequently extend to Manchester and Leeds (phase 2). Ultimately it could extend to Scotland. The government has decided that the linkage to Heathrow Airport will be looked at as part of phase 2.

The route would come up from Amersham, crossing the southern edge of Wendover, Stoke Mandeville and Aylesbury, then running east of Waddesdon before picking up the path of the disused railway line past Quainton, Calvert and proceeding up to the edge of Brackley.

Key features of the high speed rail link

• a new dedicated track linking London to Birmingham with no intermediary stops aimed at reducing journey times by approximately 30 minutes
• up to 14 trains an hour running at speeds of up to 225mph
• trains up to 400 metres long and carrying up to 1100 people per train
• some trains will be maintenance vehicles
• trains to be powered by electric overhead cables
• tracks that have gentle gradients requiring construction of embankments, cuttings, tunnels and viaducts

How to find out more

As well as the AVDC website, a wide range of reports and technical material is available on the Department for Transport's website.

Material and reports from the various HS2 summits organised for Bucks communities can also be downloaded from the links below.
If you have any enquiries about this scheme, please contact the Department for Transport on 0300 330 3000.

Bucks council's response to Environmental Statement

Buckinghamshire Mitigation Blueprint for HS2

Covering letter: Bucks council's response to Environmental Statement

Alternative Infrastructure Investment Strategy

HS2 Briefing Note October 2011

First HS2 Summit Report June 2010

Environmental summit October 2010

Technical Ecology Group Terms of Reference


Recommended External Websites

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