Camden highlights HS2 deficiencies to Lords Select Committee

Camden Council appeared before the House of Lords HS2 Select Committee on Tuesday (6 September 2016) to press our case for the comprehensive redevelopment of Euston Station, fair compensation, the removal of clause 48 and additional transportation of materials by rail.

Current plans for a new HS2 station at Euston do not take account of the need to redesign the existing mainline station. While HS2 Ltd is set to begin work in the Euston area in 2017, Network Rail has said it will not be in a position to finalise plans for the redesign of the current Euston Station until April 2019.

The Council contended in Select Committee that this lack of co-ordination will lead to a missed opportunity to realise the full benefits of a comprehensive redevelopment of the entire station. Comprehensive redevelopment has the potential to deliver full integration with wider transport services, including proposals for a Crossrail 2 station, and provide maximum opportunities for new homes and jobs through over-site development.

We also urged HS2 Ltd to commit to a target for transporting construction materials and waste by rail to reduce the amount of polluting lorries on its roads, and asked for access to two of the discretionary compensation schemes available to residents in rural areas that are not currently available to residents in Camden.

The Council will return to Select Committee on Monday 12 September 2016 to cross-examine HS2 Ltd’s expert rail witness on transporting materials and waste by rail.

Councillor Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Council, said: “The worst case scenario is that we could have 800 two-way lorry journeys per day in Camden at the height of HS2 construction – so we’re determined to do all we can to ensure HS2 Ltd explores every option to transport materials and waste by rail rather than road where possible.

“HS2 have admitted they are fundamentally re-thinking how trains will come in and out of Euston station, so we know there’s scope for change. There is time pressure though and it’s vital Network Rail and HS2 Ltd are enabled to align their design timescales at Euston to achieve a fully-developed, world-class station that realises the potential for thousands of new homes and jobs in the area.”

Prior to our Committee appearance, the Council agreed in principle to a range of further assurances – adding to the 100 plus assurances we secured in 2015.

These assurances recognise that HS2 Ltd needs to do more to address the impact of the scheme on residents and will help the Council to hold HS2 Ltd to account. The new assurances include:

  • £3.5 million for a Camden-wide community fund, on top of the existing community and business funds.
  • All light vehicles in the London Low Emission Zone to be Euro IV petrol and Euro VI diesel compliant by 2020, and targets for using zero emission light vehicles. This is a higher standard than vehicles currently have to adhere to in Camden.
  • One lane of Adelaide Road will now remain open to traffic in both directions during construction. Previously the whole road would have been closed for four months.
  • Up to £190,000 towards the appointment of support workers for vulnerable people in Camden affected by works, for two years with ongoing review.
  • HS2 Ltd will continue to review the design of Hampstead Road Bridge and consider a wider range of options for the design of the replacement bridge proposed by Camden Council - providing they don't impact on the economic and safe delivery of the works.
  • Funding for an Environmental Health Officer whose role will include liaising with members of the community about how noise, dust and air pollution from HS2 will affect their homes and businesses and the measures HS2 Ltd are taking to address these.
  • HS2 Ltd will share data with the Council and the community about construction activity, including air quality, dust and noise monitoring information and the actions taken to address breaches to trigger levels. 

Cllr Hayward added: “We are making progress in important areas and after months of hard talks, we’ve secured commitments to support vulnerable residents facing disruption from HS2, make construction vehicles cleaner and put in place measures that will hold HS2 to account on addressing their impact on air quality, dust and noise.”

Read the assurances that have been agreed in principle on our website.

The Council has also asked the Select Committee for the removal of Clause 48, which would give the government unnecessary powers to compulsory purchase additional land outside of the railway scheme for regeneration purposes.

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