Apology over tunnel error ‘does not go far enough’
HS2 lawyer admits plans are wrong
A LAWYER for the high speed rail project ‘HS2’ has been forced to apologise publicly to a Ruislip resident for an error in their plans.
The apology was made to Keri Brennan, of Roundways, after she, and her husband Terry, spoke at an individual petition at the HS2 Select Committee at Parliament.
Timothy Mould QC, Lead Counsel for the Department for Transport said: “I showed the Committee an exhibit of a cross section which gave a dimension between the running tunnel closest to her property and the surface of the ground.
“We have, I regret to say, discovered that the dimension as shown on that exhibit was incorrect, and it exaggerated the distance between the running tunnel and the surface of the ground.”
In 2013, HS2’s environmental statement put forward that the proposed tunnel would be 4.4 kilometres long through Ruislip, with an average depth of 30 metres. Mrs Brennan feels that petitioners and campaigners have been misled for three years.
She said: “In 2012, they announced that a tunnel would cut through the Ruislip stretch at about 30 metres deep and maps showed this. Twenty-two months later we received maps again so it’s been constantly reinforced all the way through that our tunnel has not changed.
“I’m worried about how deep the tunnel really is and why they haven’t told us until now. They would have let me petition based on that wrong map and I wouldn’t have known.
“There’s hundreds of residents who now know about the tunnel depth thanks to us and they’re all panicking. It’s a horrible feeling.”
Nick Hurd, MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner, told the hearing: “You have heard from other MPs, about failings in the way that HS2 have engaged with residents. It does leave us with a problem, which is a very low residue of trust as we go forward.”
Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP, Boris Johnson, said: “I have to say that the feeling of distrust has been intensified just in the last 24 hours by this revelation that the existing proposed tunnel will turn out to be only half as deep, as was first understood to be the case.
“It’s a great pity and I hope that matter can be speedily resolved and a proper understanding of what exactly this tunnel will deliver by way of protection to those residents can be reached.”
Lottie Jones, who submitted a petition about her property on Almond Close, said the HS2 apology “doesn’t go far enough”.
She added: “If their engineers couldn’t get that basic measurement right, how can we possibly believe their predictions for how our properties are going to be affected?”
Alastair Cowan, for HS2 Ltd said: “It has come to our attention that plans provided to three properties in Ruislip incorrectly show the HS2 tunnels as between five and 15 metres deeper than they actually will be. The plans have now been corrected and we have apologised for the mistake.”
n CONCERN: Above, MPs Boris Johnson and Nick Hurd. Right, Keri Brennan