HS2 CAUGHT DRILLING WITH­OUT PER­MIS­SION

Agree­ment had only been given for non-in­tru­sive tests

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by Tom Her­bert tom.her­bert@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @TRHer­bert

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

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