Heathrow spur from HS2 put on hold, causing continuing uncertainty and blight
Phase 2 of High Speed 2 has been announced, and the planned spur taking HS2 to Heathrow has been put on hold until after the Davies Commission’s review of Britain’s hub capacity is completed in 2015. The HS2 document says: “there would still be the opportunity to consult separately at a later point and include the Heathrow spur in legislation for Phase Two without any impact on the delivery time if that fits with the recommendations of the Commission.” This leaves uncertainty for local communities that could be blighted by the Heathrow link, and people want to know if local areas still be safeguarded and eligible for compensation. Nobody knows yet if Phase 1 will continue to be built as proposed, in order to keep options open – causing uncertainty, blight, and suffering to residents and businesses whilst leaving them ineligible for compensation. The Government has also launched a consultation on an Exceptional Hardship Scheme for Leeds, Manchester and the proposed Heathrow spur, to assist people who need to urgency sell their home or business.
Several images of where the Heathrow spur might go.
Today the government has announced Phase 2 of HS2 – an extension to Leeds and Manchester with other stops at some bizarre places, and with news many were not expecting – no Heathrow Link!
This appears to be an attempt to give some credibility to The Davies Commission on airport expansion, which isn’t due to report until 2015.
Although this announcement is cautiously welcomed by our local communities who are already suffering blight due to the proposed Heathrow link, this leaves many questions unanswered.
Will local areas still be safeguarded and eligible for compensation?
Can construction of Phase 1 now include more, and better, mitigation options in the hope that no spur will ever be built?
Or will Phase 1 continue to be built as proposed in order to keep options open – causing uncertainty, blight, and suffering to residents and businesses whilst leaving them ineligible for compensation?
Will HS2 Ltd even bother to tell these people their plans have changed?
In many ways this news is no surprise to us. They removed all mention of Heathrow and HS2 from their new website 2 weeks ago, but failed to answer our questions about why, and Only last October at a community forum a HS2 Ltd engineer told us:
“…the link to Heathrow might never happen. Connecting HS2 to Old Oak Common will allow passengers to reach Heathrow in 11 minutes. That was our original proposal”
Will people who support HS2 in the mistaken belief that HS2 will reduce domestic flights now realise HS2 is not about that. Nor is it about the environment, reducing carbon or true connectivity. Maybe it’s about airport expansion after all.
As for the Heathrow Link and for our community, it is still not certain if this is a permanent reprieve or a temporary one till 2015.
Another major point of interest for Londoners today is the route through the city of Manchester is almost all in tunnel – meanwhile many Londoners still face HS2 ploughing through their gardens, schools, closing roads and so on. Time for a fair deal for all!
Information from Stop HS2
http://ruislip-against-hs2.co.uk/ Hillingdon Against HS2
There is no information yet on the Heathrow Spur in phase 2 but here is the selection of routes engineers were considering as published in the Gazette:
There is important information for anyone affected by the line, on the consultation and on getting compensation etc, at http://ruislip-against-hs2.co.uk/
Note on Heathrow spur – from the HS2 website link
As stated in January 2012, the Government believes that the HS2 network should link to Heathrow and its preferred option is for this to be built as part of Phase Two. However, the Government has since established an independent Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, to recommend options for maintaining the country’s status as an international aviation hub.
The Government has therefore taken the decision to pause work on the spur to Heathrow until after 2015 when it expects the Airports Commission to publish its final report. The proposals for the Heathrow spur and station are not planned to be part of the Phase Two consultation. However, there would still be the opportunity to consult separately at a later point and include the Heathrow spur in legislation for Phase Two without any impact on the delivery time if that fits with the recommendations of the Commission.
To avoid severe disruption to the Phase One line after it has opened, however, the Government would consider carrying out the preparatory construction work needed to preserve the option of our preference serving Heathrow in the future. Including this work now could save significant disruption and cost at a later point.
Heathrow spur and Exceptional Hardship Scheme consultation
Alongside the Phase Two announcement, the Government has also launched a consultation on an Exceptional Hardship Scheme for Leeds, Manchester and the proposed Heathrow spur. The scheme aims to assist eligible residential and small business owner-occupiers whose property value may be affected by the initial preferred route options for these lines and who can demonstrate that they have an urgent need to sell.
Though the Heathrow spur is not part of the initial preferred route for Phase Two, the Government recognises the impact that the release of information about the recommended Heathrow route may have on property owners and therefore is willing to consider applications from property owners potentially affected by it under the proposed Exceptional Hardship Scheme (EHS) for Phase Two.
The Minister of State for Transport will write to the small number of people whose land may be required or whose properties are at risk of demolition should the recommended Heathrow route be built, to explain the situation to them and, in respect of property owners, to confirm that the Phase Two EHS would be open to them. The Government will also write to people whose land or property is above a proposed tunnel on the Heathrow spur route to make them aware of it.
You can find more details on the Exceptional Hardship Scheme consultation for the proposed routes to Manchester, Leeds and Heathrow on our dedicated pages
Maria Eagle (Labour Shadow Transport Secretary) said: “…we seem to have abandoned the spur to Heathrow, and I think that is a big concern. I think the whole point about high speed rail links is connectivity. Not to go to our hub airport is a real concern.” link
Phase 2 of HS2 announced, with no spur to Heathrow – though that could be added later
January 29, 2013 The government has announced details of the 2nd phase of High Speed 2, from Birmingham north to Leeds and to Manchester. The Chancellor, George Osborne, predicted the investment would become “the engine of growth” in the north of England and the Midlands. The government is due to finalise the precise route of HS2 next year in advance of legislation in 2015 – though it is likely to be delayed by a flood of judicial reviews and court actions over the legality of the consultation process. These could delay planning authorisation, and ultimately require routes to be heavily redrafted. Instead of work on the first phase, to Birmingham, starting in 2017, it could be delayed till 2022. A planned spur taking HS2 to Heathrow has been put on hold until after the Davies review of Britain’s hub capacity is completed in 2015. The HS2 document says: “there would still be the opportunity to consult separately at a later point and include the Heathrow spur in legislation for Phase Two without any impact on the delivery time if that fits with the recommendations of the Commission.” Meanwhile, a useful piece by Christian Wolmar sets out the main reasons by HS2 is not a wise plan, and not value for money, or even of environmental benefit. Click here to view full story…