Success in HS2 negotiations for our places
We are neither for nor against High Speed 2 but like many other people we are concerned about the potential impacts of Phase 1 of HS2, particularly where it passes close to the places that we look after in Buckinghamshire for the nation.
We took the decision early on to engage with HS2 Ltd, the Department for Transport and local communities to ensure that the railway is built to the highest design and environmental standards.
A project team was formed to draw upon expertise in rail engineering, landscape architecture, land use planning, ecology, archaeology, cultural heritage and acoustics to examine the HS2 proposals and develop alternatives where appropriate.
We also listened carefully to what local residents and experts told us which helped us put the best proposals to HS2 Ltd as to create the best solutions for all. So we are pleased that we have successfully negotiated with the Secretary of State that HS2 Ltd will undertake proposals that will offer better protection for the special places in our care affected by Phase 1 of the route.
The outcomes of these negotiations are:
HS2 Ltd has agreed to the adoption of our Green Banks proposal at Hartwell House which better merges HS2 into this historic part of the Aylesbury Vale. The Green Banks proposal includes earth embankments built high enough to screen the trains, natural noise mitigation and planting that respects the history of Hartwell. This option will help to minimise the visual and noise impacts of HS2, and deliver better public access over the line whilst still protecting the rural views and wildlife of this historic setting.
The endorsement of our proposal at Waddesdon Manor reduces the impacts of reconfigured road network on the surroundings of the Grand Lodge. This will create a better environment for walkers, cyclists and bridleway users to enjoy. It will also reduce light pollution from the reconfigured A41 into the Aylesbury Vale.
The improved tree planting and screening of the Stoke Mandeville Maintenance Loop will protect the far-reaching views from Coombe Hill which is on the edge of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and enjoyed by so many people.
HS2 Ltd has committed to continue engaging with us as the design of the Infrastructure Maintenance Depot at Calvert develops to lessen the visual impact of this and the railway itself for Claydon House.
West Wycombe and Bradenham
The A40 through the sensitive and historic West Wycombe village is no longer marked as a route for HS2 construction traffic. HS2 Ltd has committed to continue discussions with the local community, the highway authority and ourselves to develop traffic mitigation measures for the A4010 and other sections of the A40.
HS2 Ltd has committed to establishing an Ecology Review Group to assess whether the ecological mitigation provided by HS2 Ltd is working and suggest alternatives if it isn't/
The undertakings are a significant step in the right direction and we welcome the certainty that HS2 Ltd have provided by committing to improving their plans to better protect these special places. These undertakings also give us clearer engagement with HS2 Ltd and communities in order to ensure the best possible scheme is delivered.