Newsletter 60 - 26 August 2014
NEWS FROM CHILTERN COUNTRYSIDE GROUP ON HS2 AND AVIATION
We do hope you've enjoyed this amazing summer with its interesting mix of wonderful sunshine and tremendous downpours which have perked plants up no end!
Here is a brief overview of some of the main events of past weeks. Please visit the CCG, HS2 Action Alliance or STOP HS2 websites for more detailed information.
- STOP HS2 and HS2 Action Alliance win their case for Locus Standi as petitioners against the HS2 Hybrid Bill. In July, the HS2 Hybrid Bill Committee ruled that they would allow Stop HS2 and HS2AA to be heard, as ensuring the process is seen to be fair is in the public interest. The statement from Robert Syms MP, chair of the HS2 Hybrid Bill Committee is as follows:
- “On balance, we believe that a modern view of locus standi should allow some latitude to petitioners on how they chose the present their case. This is a somewhat complex process and there is a public interest in it seeming to be rigorously fair to all. It seems to us therefore that both HS2AA and Stop HS2 have sufficiently demonstrated that they are representative of the people specially and directly affected by the Bill to have locus standi in relation to the effect on such people and fall within our standing order discretion. Notably, their petitions are not just protests against the principle of the bill. However they have said that their petitions are about route-wide effects, therefore we find that they will have locus on these matters only. It will be on route wide matters that we look forward to hearing from them.”
- Timing of Petitions to be heard by the Committee. On a recent visit to the Midlands, Mr Syms told BBC Midlands Today:
- 'I think we’ll be lucky to get through the petitions in two years. It really depends on whether we can group the petitions and some of the changes that we might make, because many of the petitions are dependent on the decisions that the committee might make. We intend to deal with it as quickly as we can.'
- HS2 Action Alliance and Court Hearings - see HS2 AA website for fuller information
- In July 2014 the Aarhus Compliance Committee decided that both complaints raised by HS2 AA concerning a failure to conduct a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for HS2, were admissible and should be heard.
- In August 2014, the application for a Judicial Review on Safeguarding Directions made by Hillingdon Council and HS2AA was dismissed by the High Court. Their claim turned on the Safeguarding Directions issued by the Government not having been subject to a Strategic Environmental Assessment, as required by European Law.
- HS2 and regeneration In July, Government published its response to the HS2 Growth Taskforce recommendations of March, 2014, which makes interesting reading. It would appear that whilst areas are expected to promote and facilitate regeneration, there is no additional money from central Government for this and indeed, one of the sources of funding recommended is to seek overseas investors. The full report can be read: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/336035/response-hs2.pdf
- Whilst Government appears confident that HS2 will bring regeneration, it seems they have yet to discover what economic effect HS1 (operational from November 2007) has had on Kent. Parliamentary response to written question on HS1 and the Kent economy by the then Under Secretary of State for Transport, Stephen Hammond: 'The Department for Transport is currently undertaking an economic evaluation of High Speed 1, covering transport user benefits, wider economic impacts, regeneration, and Government shareholdings and assets. That evaluation is planned to be completed this summer.' (Hansard 10 July 2014)
- 51M on HS2 costs as Government continues to make claims of the proposed railway's economic benefits. Read the article: http://www.51m.co.uk/hs2-the-vision-that-keeps-on-givinganother-day-another-billion/
- Bucks County Council & support for petitioners: In September and October 2014, Bucks County Council will be running seminars in Community Forum areas and a further HS2 Summit to support petitioners, both individual residents and community groups, in that process. CCG is planning to attend these events, where time permits, so if there are particular issues or questions which you would like us to raise on your behalf, do please let us know asap. If anyone would like to attend these, please either get in touch with us, or contact BCC directly at HS2Blueprint@buckscc.gov.uk
- London Luton Airport & proposed airspace changes: In July, CCG submitted a response on your behalf to the Airport's Consultation on Airspace Change Proposals for RNAV1 route Brookmans Park. This report can be read in full on our website: http://www.chilterncountrysidegroup.org
- LLA's Noise Action Plan 2013-8 and lack of public consultation. The CCG has recently written on your behalf to the newly appointed Executive Chairman of LLA expressing the Group's disappointment and concern that a full Public Consultation has not taken place for the Airport's revised Noise Action Plan which covers the period 2013-8. This Plan has only been considered by the Airport's Consultative Committee, which in the CCG's view, whilst this complies with DEFRA's requirements, fails to meet the obligations of the Airport to maintain a dialogue and be, as they state, 'a good neighbour' to overflown communities. So far as we are aware, none of the Chilterns AONB community groups were invited to contribute and neither, amazingly, were the Chiltern Conservation Board, the statutory body for the protection of our beloved countryside.
- LLA and lack of regulation: In view of the recent planning consent for LLA to carry out significant modifications to its terminals and site, which will allow a doubling of passenger numbers, the CCG remains extremely concerned that the Airport remains unregulated, except by voluntary means, so that operations can be conducted 24/7. This is of key relevance to night time operations, especially those at the shoulder times of 23.00-midnight and from 5.00-6.00 am. If you share our concern, please make this known to your local Councillors, MPs and to the Secretary of State.
- Increased low level overflights from Heathrow across the Chilterns: CCG supporters have been commenting on the increased number of daytime low level flights across the Chilterns by Heathrow departures heading North. Certainly if you use one of the freely available plane tracking websites or the Airport's own site, it is clear how these aircraft are directed by the National Air Traffic Service, having cleared the immediate airspace around Heathrow, straight across the market towns, villages and peaceful landscape of the AONB. Heights range between around 6,000 ft to under 9,000 ft. This fails to satisfy either of the Government's stated priorities - (a) to avoid centres of population and (b) to minimise the impact on strategic landscapes such as AONBs. If you find such disturbance intrusive, then please make this known directly to Heathrow by email, phone or letter. http://www.heathrowairport.com/noise/help/make-an-enquiry
Do keep in touch - we are always pleased to hear from our supporters and remember 'Together we give power to the message'.
Kind regards to you all.
Steering Group/HS2 Working Party,
Chiltern Countryside Group