Comments welcome on additional HS2 mitigation plan
Friday 3rd February 2017
Proposed Colne Valley viaduct
Views are being sought on a plan that could help protect wildlife sites in the Colne Valley, west of London, affected by the construction of a new high-speed railway
Work is due to start this year on constructing the Government’s new £56bn railway, HS2, set to provide a high-speed link between London and Birmingham by 2026.
London Wildlife Trust has challenged elements of this project from soon after its inception in 2010, because it was clear there would be significant impacts on several wildlife sites along the route through west London and into Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire – the Colne Valley region in particular.
The Trust is advising local residents take part in a public consultation between 7th and 17th February, which will decide how HS2 should help to protect the local environment. A £3m budget has been set aside by HS2 Ltd specifically for this purpose and proposals include new recreational routes, a smartphone app, improving viewpoints, public artworks, better local engagement, and protecting important wildlife in the Colne Valley such as fish, water vole and birds.
Take part and have your say on how this money is spent in the Colne Valley. Exhibitions will take place on:
- Tuesday 7th February 4-8pm at St Mark’s Hall, Green Tiles Lane, Denham UB9 5HT
- Wednesday 8th February 5-8pm at Maple Cross JMI School, Denham Way, Maple Cross WD3 9SS
- Thursday 9th February 3-7pm at Harefield Library, Park Lane, Harefield UB9 6BJ
- Sunday 12th February 10am– 2pm at Harefield Community Centre, Priory Avenue, South Harefield UB9 6AP
Comments can be sent until Friday 17th February. Email CVRPPanel@aol.co.uk
London Wildlife Trust expressed deep concerns about HS2 prior to the scheme being agreed by Government, and many of the concerns relating to the Colne Valley were acknowledged by the High Speed Rail Select Committee in Parliament during the process of enacting the HS2 Hybrid Bill. This committee backed the creation of a panel to lead the development and implementation of an ‘Additional Mitigation Plan’ to help protect the environment in this region. Any plan agreed will be implemented with a £3m budget set aside by HS2 Ltd specifically for this purpose. This money is in addition to mitigation measures already proposed by HS2.
The Colne Valley Regional Park Panel, established in 2015, consists of representatives from 15 organisations; including local authorities, government agencies, and environmental groups such as London Wildlife Trust. Two other Wildlife Trusts – Herts & Middlesex, and Bucks, Berks & Oxfordshire – are represented on the panel. Work on the Additional Mitigation Plan started in summer 2016, and a draft has now been published for public feedback.
Included in the plan is a set of area-specific projects – listed below – aimed at meeting the objectives of the Colne Valley Regional Park. General proposals also include new recreational routes, a smartphone app, improving viewpoints, public artworks, better local engagement, and protecting important wildlife in the Valley such as fish, water vole and birds.
- Broadwater Area: The panel suggests providing a new, relocated nature reserve within the Mid Colne Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and long-term alternative access to the east of Broadwater Lake. New visitor facilities and improved public access are also proposed.
- Tilehouse Woods Area: As the railway passes nearby several woodland sites, the panel suggests promoting alternative routes through the woods, further away from HS2 noise. New footpaths and cycleways could improve public access.
- Harefield Moor Area: Denham Quarry, east of Harefield Marina, can be brought into positive community use. Recreational improvements to both Denham Quarry and Harefield Moor could address impacts on local communities.
- Hillingdon Outdoor Activity Centre (HOAC): A viaduct will pass over Harefield No.2 Lake, and HS2 proposals include creating wetland and woodland habitats to compensate losses elsewhere. The panel’s proposals will go beyond these mitigation measures, potentially including wildfowl habitats and a new visitor attraction if HOAC relocates.
- Frays Valley: Frays Farm Meadows and Denham Lock Wood nature reserves are likely to be severely affected by a HS2 haulage road. Both sites are SSSIs and the panel’s mitigation will focus on minimising impacts in this area.
- Western Valley Slopes: This area is being used to stockpile excavated materials. In addition to HS2 mitigation plans for new habitats and ponds, the panel suggests a new circular footpath and cycle route and improved public access.
- New Years Green Area: Land taken by HS2 for depositing excavated material will be offset by new woodland and grassland habitats. The panel also proposes creating sculpted landforms to form a new viewpoint and visitor attraction.