HS2 Ltd publishes low emission vehicles study

HS2 Ltd has published the study carried out as part of the assurances secured by the Council in December 2015 to reduce the impact of HS2 construction vehicles on air quality in Camden.

The study, which was undertaken by HS2 Ltd with input from Camden Council and Transport for London, formed the basis for the vehicle emissions assurances secured by the Council before our appearance at the House of Lords Select Committee in September 2016.

The study explored how HS2 Ltd’s commitments to the Council in December 2015 could be met. Based on this report, we secured assurances from HS2 Ltd in September this year including:

Heavy goods vehicles

All heavy goods vehicles (HGVs – more than 3.5 tonnes) within the London Low Emission Zone are to be powered by Euro VI engines, the least polluting engines currently available.

The report showed that the vast majority of construction HGVs can be Euro VI compliant, in part because the fleet size for HS2 is quite small (a lower number of vehicles doing a higher number of journeys).

It was noted when HS2 Ltd gave the assurance that some vehicles would need to be exempt. The study concludes that exemptions will only be permitted on the grounds of specialism, unforeseen circumstances and triviality, and will not exceed more than 8% of unique vehicles per year.

Exemptions must be reported to Camden Council. There will be a transition period of 12 months from the signing of the assurance (September 2016), which gives contractors time to reach full compliance. The study also recommended a process to deal with any non-compliance of the assurance by contractors.

Light goods vehicles

To reduce the impact on air quality, light goods vehicles (LGVs – up to 3.5 tonnes) will have to meet a higher efficiency standard than vehicles currently have to adhere to in Camden. All LGVs in the London Low Emission Zone will be powered by Euro IV petrol and Euro VI diesel compliant engines by 2020.

Ultra Low Emission Vehicles

HS2 Ltd will produce a plan to work towards achieving target percentages of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs), such as electric cars and vans, including working towards using 100% ULEV cars and 75% ULEV vans.

Removing lorries from Camden’s roads

The Council remains opposed to plans for HS2, as the scheme will bring nearly two decades of disruption to Camden. Although these measures are important to reduce the impact of construction vehicles on air quality, they do not address the Council’s fundamental concern that there will be up to 800 two-way lorry journeys per day on Camden’s roads. HS2 Ltd’s proposals to transport just 15% of materials by rail do not go far enough.

The Council appeared at the House of Lords Select Committee in September to push HS2 Ltd to do more to transport construction materials and waste by rail, and remove lorries from Camden’s roads. We are awaiting the outcome of our appearance.

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