EWR– EAST WEST RAIL HAVE HAD TO CHANGE THEIR NOW DISCREDITED ORIGINAL PROPOSALS AND ADD AN ADDITIONAL CONSULTATION PHASE BECAUSE OF BUDGETARY PRESSURES, FUNDAMENTAL ERRORS, OUR COMMENTS IN EARLIER PHASES, AND CONTINUED LOCAL OPPOSITION.
Their latest consultation phase began on 12th January and the deadline for responses is 9th February 2018. We are at a loss as to how they feel this will be a credible consultation considering we will need HS2 numbers to make an informed decision and these will not be available until March earliest. As part of this consultation, they held local meetings on 16th , 17th ,19th January 2018 at which their amended proposals did identify certain welcome changes - if delivered. Encouragingly, HS2 were in attendance as well.
You can get further details on their web site www.networkrail.co.uk/east-west-rail . You need to click on the link to the Western Section and then scroll to the bottom of the page and click Consultation Hub.
HOW TO RESPOND - Make your comments before midnight on 9th February at:
Post: FREEPOST EAST WEST RAIL CONSULTATION (No stamp needed)
In summary, changes to the original proposals are:
- The depot at Charndon has been relocated further from the village towards Poundon and Twyford.
- This now allows access to the relocated depot via a proposed second construction route for HGVs and LGVs from the A4421 via Godington and Poundon as well as the first one down Broadway which remains.
- EWR forecast that 75% of construction traffic will use this new route and that the route through Grendon Underwood, Edgcott etc will carry 25% of construction traffic (75% less than originally originally planned).
These are undoubtedly welcome changes to the original proposals that should mean less adverse impact on the villages along the first route during construction.
However, we still cant understand why these routes remain the preferred option over haul roads, as originally planned, that would eliminate local opposition as, even with these changes, EWR still forecast the following additional traffic movements along the route at peak times for some 5 years:
- 16 HGV movements a day
- 15 LGV movements a day
- 50 Staff and operative trips
Note: after some discussion, this means vehicle road movements in either direction.
In addition, these forecasts do not include the increased traffic that will result from HS2 activities in support of the massive IMD depot to be built at Calvert. This is in spite of repeated promises to consolidate these traffic forecasts.
The consultation release does not explain how the proportions of construction traffic have been attributed to each of the two routes. There is no explanation as to what or how monitoring will be carried out to ensure compliance with the forecasts and what sanctions will be imposed for breaching them. Nor is there any explanation of why drivers wishing to travel to and from the Charndon depot will be compelled to use the routes to ensure trips are distributed as forecast. On querying how they would enforce & police this on open public roads, they have no idea. They have committed to consider possibilities but have admitted they have no powers to compel anyone to use any public road in preference to another, even when stipulated contractually.
We have no indication as to what, if any, influence our Buckinghamshire County Council – Highways department, who are members of the working group delivering the projects, has had in arriving at any of these proposals. Whilst the rail part of the project is universally supported we do not know how they have justified an unconditional contribution from public money of some £10million for works that will have such a detrimental effect on their constituents, especially when alternatives are identified & costed.
We did take into account as many comments as we could from our community regarding the earlier proposal and lodged our objection with EWR in August 2017. You can still click here for our letter to EWR