HS2 heeds Council call for greater transparency
Update 20 September: We have published the final assurances letter we received from HS2 Ltd (14 September). We still do not accept that HS2 Ltd's assurances on materials by rail and Euston Station comprehensive redevelopment go far enough to address the concerns raised in our petition. The two assurances were offered on an open, unconditional basis and did not require the Council to withdraw its case at Select Committee. We appeared on these issues at Select Committee on Tuesday 6 September.
We are awaiting the Select Committee's considerations on these issues, along with our case for fairer compensation for Camden residents and businesses, and the removal of Clause 48 from the HS2 Bill, which would give the government unnecessary powers to compulsory purchase land outside of the railway scheme for regeneration purposes. You can also read the draft assurances letters dated 8 September and 1 September.
A draft of the assurances being negotiated between HS2 and Camden has today been released to support residents in preparation of their own cases to Select Committee.
The assurances being considered address many of the issues raised in Camden’s petition, but the version published today by HS2 Ltd also contains an assurance on materials by rail, which the Council has made clear we will not accept in its current form. HS2 Ltd’s proposal still fails to go far enough and the Council anticipates appearing at Select Committee on Tuesday 6 September.
The Council will also appear at Select Committee on areas where HS2 Ltd have failed to come forward with any assurance. Our call for a funded plan for the comprehensive redevelopment of Euston, fair compensation for Camden residents, and the removal of Clause 48, which would give the government powers to compulsory purchase additional land outside of the railway scheme for regeneration purposes, will all form key parts of the Council’s case to the Select Committee.
Commenting on the draft assurances, Councillor Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Council, said:
“We’ve been pushing HS2 to be more transparent with residents and are pleased that just days before Select Committee they’re willing to share this with petitioners. They must go further to move materials by rail and take lorries off the road as their own study shows they could.
“However, we’ve been able to make real progress in securing more commitments from HS2 to help vulnerable residents, targets for the use of ultra-low emission and light vehicles and sharing monitoring data from construction sites with the Council and residents. We’ve also secured agreement that they’ll review their plans for Hampstead Road bridge, which would currently leave the bridge up to 4.2 metres higher.
“We’ll continue to push HS2 to go further over the next few days and are ready to take our case to the Select Committee on Tuesday if necessary.”
The draft assurances also propose:
- Funding for an Environmental Health Officer who will provide residents with advice on how noise, dust and air pollution from HS2 affect their homes and the measures HS2 Ltd are taking to address these.
- Adelaide Road vent shaft: During construction, one lane of Adelaide Road will remain open to traffic in both directions. Previously it would have been closed for four months.
- Providing £3.5 million for a Camden-wide community fund, on top of the existing community and environment funds.
The final assurances will be subject to legal review and minor drafting amendments before being accepted and will be published on the Council’s website when they are agreed.
The Council has published the evidence it expects to present to Select Committee to support our appearance on Tuesday 6 September. These slides can be found on the Parliament website.