The proposal to route High Speed Two through Ruislip is causing widespread local concern. Our Association has responded vigorously to the public consultation on this contentious proposal, as have many of our members. This page will be regularly updated as the proposal progresses.
On 23 April 2013 it was announced that HS2 Ltd will propose that the rail route should now be tunnelled between Old Oak Common and Northolt, rather than running on the surface. A study recommended that a tunnel would be the best option for this specific section of the route because a surface route would cause more disruption to traffic, cost as much or more than a tunnel and would take 15 months longer to build. It would also have greater design complexity, including the need to replace both spans of the Hanger Lane gyratory system.
If this new tunnel is approved, it will mean that the HS2 route will run in a continuous bored tunnel all the way from Old Oak Common to West Ruislip – making it the longest tunnel on the route at 14km.
HS2 Ltd said: “The study we commissioned found that for this specific section of the line, the cost of a tunnel would be comparable with a route on the surface without the need to replace bridges and divert associated utilities. The proposed tunnel will be included as the preferred option in the draft Environmental Statement for the first phase of HS2, so the community and stakeholders will have the opportunity to respond to this proposal as part of the consultation in coming months.” A link to the HS2 Ltd statement about this can be found here.
If this new tunnel plan is taken forward a portal will not be needed at Mandeville Road.We are still waiting to hear when the Environmental Consultation will start. It is due to be “Spring/early Summer” 2013.
Of the 5 challenges, the Court upheld (agreed with) one. This was in relation to the consultation process for the original compensation scheme. The Judge deemed it to have been unfair. Indeed the Judge said "All in all, the consultation on compensation was so unfair as to be unlawful." The result of this decision is that the compensation consultation is going to have to be completely re-run. We do not yet have a timescale of when this will be.
Meanwhile the Judge has given leave for the various parties to proceed to appeal against the challenges that he rejected, if they so wish.
A summary of the Judicial Review decision by the judge can be read here .
On a separate but related matter, the company HS2 Ltd have agreed to be our speaker at the RRA General Meeting on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at the Ruislip Social Club in Grosvenor Vale. This will be an opportunity for residents to hear an update on the HS2 project and to question members of the HS2 team. Doors open at 7.30pm, and the meeting starts at 7.45pm.
At the last Community Forum meeting with HS2 Ltd. in June (see minutes here), further discussion took place about the possibility of extending the Ruislip Tunnel, so that instead of running from Northolt to West Ruislip (ending by Ruislip Golf Course) it would instead finish further west, near Harvil Road. The Forum asked HS2 Ltd. to look into the engineering practicality of extending the tunnel in this way, rather than just looking at the financial implications of doing so (which HS2 Ltd. currently say make it too uneconomic). However, during these discussions HS2 Ltd. informed everyone that there was a possibility that a junction may need to be built in the extended tunnel area, to provide spur railway lines which would lead to and from Heathrow airport. This spur junction might therefore prevent any potential extension of the Ruislip Tunnel beyond West Ruislip, as it may make it too complicated to run all the lines and spurs underground. Unfortunately there are not many details about this Heathrow Spur link yet, as the Government did not include it within the consultation for Phase 1 of HS2 (London to Birmingham) which took place last summer, and which covered the area in which any Heathrow spur junction will be situated. Instead it will be included as part of the consultation for Phase 2 (Birmingham to Leeds), which is scheduled to take place in the autumn of 2012. This means that many residents will have responded to the Phase 1 consultation back in 2011 with no knowledge that another part of the HS2 line might also affect where they live, work or play. We hope to receive more information about this spur junction from HS2 Ltd. at the next community forum, which is set for 26 September 2012, but it may be that we will need to wait for the Phase 2 consultation to start before we can see any further detail.
The RRA HS2 working group (which any member of RRA is welcome to join) met in August to discuss the above matters, and it was agreed to write to Justine Greening to say that it was both illogical and impractical for the Government to have decided to include the Heathrow Spur within the Phase 2 consultation, instead of within Phase 1. This group has also begun looking into the practicalities of the spur railway lines, and whether it might actually be possible to accommodate them within any extended Ruislip tunnel. Once we have more information about this we will let you know.
On a national level, various organisations that disagree with some (or all) aspects of the HS2 scheme have been granted a hearing by the High Court, with a view to seek various judicial reviews about how the project has been managed so far. The hearing will take place on 3 December 2012 and is expected to last for up to eight days. Although there will be only one hearing, each organisation with be able to present and argue its own case. Those taking part in the review are: HS2 Action Alliance, 51M group of local authorities (of which Hillingdon Council is a member), Aylesbury Golf Club and Heathrow Hub. A summary of the issues to be raised are: inadequate consultation; failure to provide adequate information on compensation; failure to follow European environmental and habitat regulations; failure to consider or consult on alternative routes; the detrimental impact on various areas along the proposed route; and the impact on other transport networks within the area.
In March 2012, HS2 Ltd held Community Forums in towns along the whole length of the first phase of the route - these forums were meetings involving HS2 Ltd staff and nominated representatives from interested local organisations. The aim was to discuss specific details of how the route may affect each local area and how the community would like to see any issues resolved, if possible. The whole list of community forums can be found on the Department of Transport website.
The forum for our area is called "South Ruislip to Ickenham", and can be found on the DfT website under the London Metropolitan section. Its first meeting was held on 20 March 2012. Representatives from many local organisations and action groups attended, including RRA. Items discussed included the possiblity of extending the Ruislip tunnel so that it might end at Harvil Road, instead of near Ruislip Golf Club, and how the Heathrow spur (or loop) might affect us, though the route (if any) of this is not due to be decided until after the consultation of Phase 2 of HS2, i.e. the route northwards from Birmingham.
The forums have not been set up as meetings which members of the public can attend, though it has been suggested that some public meetings should also be organised in the future. However the agenda and minutes of all forum meetings, including the South Ruislip to Ickenham Community Forum, can be found on the Department of Transport Community Forum website so that anyone can view them.
The next Community Forum date for our area is Thursday 14 June.