HS2 CAUGHT DRILLING WITHOUT PERMISSION
Agreement had only been given for non-intrusive tests
A TEAM from HS2 has been seen drilling a protected piece of land without permission.
Engineers, heavy duty equipment, drilling rigs and trucks were spotted working on Stone Meadow, Chalfont St Giles despite Chiltern District Council only agreeing for them to conduct a non-intrusive test there.
Campaign group Save St Giles drew Chiltern District Council’s attention, which then asked the team to shut down work and move immediately, which they did.
HS2 is now believed to be sub- mitting an application for permission for the exploratory drilling work it wants to conduct.
Save St Giles says the new route through the village was finalised without any geological testing of the ground for the proposed site.
The news of the drilling came just a few days ahead of a House of Lords Select Committee meeting where members of Save St Giles were due to speak.
They will appear before the committee to highlight concerns relating to the proposed HS2 twin bore tunnel that will run directly under the village.
A spokesman said: “We will be presenting our case to ensure that the environmental impact on our village is minimised and will propose that the current tunnel depth of 19m be increased substantially.”
On their website – www.savestg iles.com, a statement reads: “We have prepared an argument in conjunction with Misbourne River Action Group to set out expectations of how the sensitive chalk stream river will be protected not only during construction but for the future.
“The original proposal set out by HS2 had a planned tunnel depth of over 100m and a direction that avoided the centre of the village, this was the version that was presented to the community at the HS2 road show in May 2011.
“The route was then changed in 2012 to incorporate the tunnel section for Amersham and meant that the tunnel was diverted to run under the centre of St Giles at a minimum depth of 19m.
“We believe that we have evi- dence, based on expert opinion, to suggest that this depth is not sufficient and could have severe consequences for our village.”
NEGOTIATIONS between HS2 Limited and Bucks County Council have led to several measures to reduce the impact of HS2 on the county.
Council leader Martin Tett also appeared before the House of Lords HS2 Select Committee with further demands, with the committee’s recommendations due in the new year.
The new measures are in addition to those won during the House of Commons’ Select Committee meeting in January.
They include new road safety measures, landscape work to ensure the line is properly screened, assurances to reduce the impact of construction on businesses and community facilities and money towards administrative costs the county council will incur because of HS2.
Mr Tett said he was proud of the way the county had worked with district, town and parish councils to present a convincing case for extra mitigation.
“Securing mitigation from HS2 Ltd can quite frankly feel like pulling teeth, so winning this new package of measures, which will make a real difference to local residents, is a testament to the hard work of the county council and its partners.
“I’ve made no secret of my opposition to this vanity project – and it would be far better if the government stopped at the £2 billion it has already wasted on HS2 without a single piece of track being laid, rather than spend a further £53bn on it. The decision to expand Heathrow makes the case for HS2 even weaker, as the line was originally justified as an alternative to the third runway.”
There are three key mitigation measures which have not yet been agreed, although the council are hoping the House of Lords will decide to recommend them.
These are a fully bored tunnel for Wendover, the relocation of the haul road for Great Missenden and surrounding villages and mitigation to reduce the impact of construction vehicles in Iver.
The mitigation package agreed during October negotiations include:
A commitment not to use the section of the A40 between junction 5 of the M40 and A40/ A4010, north of High Wycombe, for construction traffic.
Up to £80,000 towards traffic calming measures on the A41 in Waddesdon.
A mitigation package for Great Missenden – safety measures including the upgrading of the roundabouts at Link Road and Frith Hill and a safety barrier for the skate park; a £500,000 contribution to the new coach and car park at Great Missenden Church of England Combined School; £500,000 worth of temporary landscaping; and £250,000 towards replacement free-car parking in the village.
A commitment to consider road safety for vulnerable users near the construction route for the vent shaft in Chalfont St Peter. This builds upon the assurances given to schools on the construction route which have previously been given to the county council.
A contribution of £185,000 towards the cost of closing Roberts Lane, Chalfont St Peter to through traffic. The parish council wishes to avoid rat-running through this lane due to the closure of Chalfont Lane by HS2 Ltd.
An agreement to work with Buckinghamshire Golf Club and Denham Country Park on the timings of National Grid works to limit the impact on the two venues.
Wendover public realm enhancements – HS2 to undertake early tree planting and up to £500,000 towards cycle improvements on the A413 to the north and south of Wendover.
An assurance to reroute (subject to approval by the county council) construction traffic away from Iver High Street and Bangors Road.
Alarm: Contractors for HS2 have been spotted drilling at Stone Meadow in Chalfont St Giles