HS2 u-turn means 25,000 more lorries are coming our way

Project will put ‘dirty and dangerous’ vehicles on roads, despite pledge to remove rubble by rail

Thursday, 5th May — By Tom Foot

hs2 cnjnove5 Image 2020-11-05 at 09.31.39 (1)

HS2 work in Hampstead Road

TWENTY-five-thousand more “dirty and dangerous” lorries will thunder through Euston over the next decade after the latest HS2 outrage.

HS2 Ltd, the company managing the £108billion railway project, has dashed hopes that it would remove rubble from its main Euston station site by rail.

It argues that its most recent plans for Euston station will mean less building work overall and therefore less spoil to remove by road.

But in a rare intervention, Labour councillors in Regent’s Park this week wrote to the secretary of state for HS2, Andrew Stephenson, asking him to “intervene” following “HS2’s complete disregard for the welfare of residents”.

The letter said: “There has been no consultation with residents, who are now learning that this decision by HS2 will bring an additional 25,000 HGV lorries onto streets that are already polluted and clogged with traffic.

“It is well documented that HGVs are disproportionately involved in fatal collisions with both pedestrians and cyclists.

“HS2’s latest proposal to put an extra 25,000 HGVs onto our streets will put residents in the Regent’s Park ward and across Camden at increased risk from possibly fatal accidents in addition to the extra noise, dirt and reduced air quality they will suffer.

“Many other major infrastructure projects such as Thames Tideway and Crossrail have successfully removed spoil by rail and HS2 have accepted that it is perfectly possible to use this system at Euston.”

Regeneration chief Councillor Danny Beales

The letter said there had been “unacceptable levels of stress and disturbance” already caused by HS2 with a failure to fit promised noise insulation and air-filtration units.

HS2 is to blame, it added, for “excessive noise”, more crime and rats, and the loss of vital green spaces, adding: “Again and again HS2 have failed to stick to the assurances given to parliament and have failed to engage in any meaningful way with residents.”

Removing rubble by rail was one of 100 “assurances” reached as part of a deal struck between HS2 and the council before the project was given the go-ahead by MPs in the House of Commons in 2016.

In exchange for signing up to the assurances, the council dropped its outright opposition to the project. Councillors felt they would be better off at the table for discussions about the future of Euston rather than shouting from the outside.

But most of the assurances contained the phrase “insofar as reasonably practicable” and HS2 has said they are not legally binding.

An average of 60 HS2 lorries a day are already allowed to use routes such as Euston Road, Hampstead Road and Albany Street but the increased number would result in an increase in construction vehicles of around 150 per cent.

Danny Beales, Camden’s cabinet member for communities, said: “We are deeply concerned that construction materials will now not be removed by rail as previously promised.”

Sadiq Khan’s deputy mayor for transport, Seb Dance, said it would “make a bad situation even worse”, adding in another letter to the transport minister: “The potential decision by the HS2 board to accept these additional lorry movements represents a serious road danger risk to Londoners and will generate more emissions and noise in the local area.”

The new Euston terminus has been slightly reduced in scale – by one platform – and is due to open between 2033 and 2036.
HS2 said the revamped plans for Euston shortened the construction period “significantly” and meant that less spoil had to be removed.

It said it “has been considering a number of options for how to remove spoil from the construction of HS2’s Euston station and how it can minimise impacts”.

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