Newsletter 72 - 16 March 2016

LATEST UPDATE FOR SUPPORTERS FROM CHILTERN COUNTRYSIDE GROUP

Dear supporters,

Thank you for your continued interest in the work and campaigns of the Chiltern Countryside Group. With such wonderful sunshine at the weekend, we are all reminded in the most beautiful way how important it is to protect and enhance our precious landscapes, green spaces and tranquility of the Chilterns AONB.

HIGH SPEED 2

HOUSE OF COMMONS HS2 SELECT COMMITTEE REPORT PUBLISHED

On 22 February, 2016, the Committee published their 2nd and Final Report on its findings from the evidence presented by petitioners. This can be accessed from the following links:

www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cmhs2/129/129.pdf

or:

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/high-speed-rail-london-west-midlands-bill-select-committee-commons/news-parliament-20151/hsr-london-west-midlands-bill-report-published-15-16/

Key points in the Report for the Chilterns are:

  • The Committee does not support any further extension to tunnelling in the Chilterns
  • They state a preference for Additional Provisions 5 and Supplementary Environmental Statement 4 scheme relating to the Wendover Green Tunnel, together with additional noise mitigation along the A413
  • The Community and Environment Funds are insufficient and substantially increased provision for these is recommended
  • High speed broadband and 4G to be provided along the entire HS2 route regardless of whether such provision is commercially viable for the service provider, with 3 km from the line as an appropriate area. This recommendation identifies there are areas which will receive no benefits from the HS2 scheme.
  • In addition, for those areas which receive no economic benefit from HS2, the Report calls for local authorities along the route to be allowed to bid to the Department for Transport for highway schemes funding where they are appropriate and can be implemented within an appropriate timescale. Additional funding should be given to the Secretary of State for Transport to facilitate this.

HOUSE OF LORDS PETITIONING

We are advised by Bucks County Council on this as follows:

'The County Council has been given an estimate on the timescales for the Third Reading of the Hybrid Bill in the House of Commons and the House of Lords petitioning period. The approximate date for the Third Reading is the 23 March (the day before Parliament rises for Easter). This will be followed by the First and Second readings in the House of Lords which would then open up the petitioning period for the House of Lords. If the period for petitioning is 2- 3 weeks in length then it is possible petitioning could close as early as the 11 April. It should be stressed that these timeframes are a worst case scenario and estimated. We will endeavour to keep you updated on these.'

Information on petitioning the Lords can be found here:

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/Lords-HS2/House-of-Lords-HS2-petitioning-kit-guide.pdf

Petitioning opens after the Third Reading in the Commons.

PROPERTY BOND OPTION

The Committee has published its response to requests for the option of a Property Bond, which can be found here:

www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/hs2/Property_Bond_option.pdf

LATEST MEDIA COVERAGE

Andrew Gilligan wrote a first-class article for the lead headline and front page of last weekend's Sunday Telegraph (13.3.16) covering expert research and findings on the safety of travelling at the speeds proposed for HS2 under current track bed design. Experts expose the risks and call for greater integrity in building with more stable groundwork, the increased cost required for this or the alternative of reducing speed which as they point out, will adversely affect the already fragile business case. The National Audit Office, already, we understand, sceptical of the BCR for the project, intend to carry out a further review in the next few months. The full article can be read here:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/hs2/12192286/HS2-at-risk-of-derailing-at-top-speeds-report-finds.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

There is also a POLL on the Telegraph site - so DO PLEASE VOTE (AGAINST!)

AND - If you have time, please WRITE TO YOUR OWN MP BEFORE 23 MARCH 2016 with this information - it's powerful and vital evidence to support our case.

BUCKS COUNTY COUNCIL COMMUNITY EVENTS ON HS2

BCC are running a series of events for the public which will cover:

  • House of Lords petitioning
  • HS2 update
  • Reflection and feedback on the Commons petitioning process
  • Assurances given to local authorities in the Chilterns

These events are free and open to all, but places are limited and given on a first-come, first-served basis, so if you wish to reserve your place, please email hs2blueprint@buckscc.gov.uk asap, stating which event you wish to attend and any particular questions or topic which you'd like covered.

Dates and locations are as follows:

  • 5 April 2016 18.30-20.00 New County Offices, Walton Street, Aylesbury. Mezz Room 1
  • 12 April 2016 18.30-20.00 Chiltern District Council Offices, King George V House, King George V Road, Amersham.
  • 19 April 2016 18.30-20.00 Wendover MS Centre, Oakwood Close, Wendover.

BCC HS2 Summit:

24 March 2016 9.30am - 12.30pm Green Park, Aston Clinton. HP22 5NE. Again email as above to reserve your place.

LONDON LUTON AIRPORT

The CCG continues to work closely with the Chiltern Conservation Board (CCB) to protect the Chilterns AONB and its communities from noise and air pollution caused by LLA's operations. As the holiday season approaches, air traffic will increase, almost certainly during the evening shoulder, early morning departures and night flights.

CCG and CCB regularly meet with the management of LLA with the purpose of working together on common aims; we will be meeting again this Spring, so do please let us know of any issues and/or questions which you would like us to bring to the discussion table.

If you are disturbed by LLA operations, do make a formal complaint which will be investigated and logged and then published in the Airport's Quarterly and Annual Reviews. You can do this quite easily by emailing the Environmental Office at LLA:

LTN Noise Complaints <noise@ltn.aero>

OTHER LOCAL NEWS:

  • The CCG has submitted a response to the Chiltern District Council Local Area Plan Consultation which closed 14 March 2016. Our response will be published shortly on the Group's website.
  • Local press recently covered plans to be reviewed by Dacorum Borough Council to realign the Green Belt boundary on the Western edge of Tring, which abuts and is overlooked by the AONB. This is part of LA5, the Council's Core Planning Strategy which proposes 180-200 new homes, an extension of Tring Cemetery and a Gypsy and Traveller site. Consultation on these plans has now closed.
  • We understand that the Council's original plan to amend the Green Belt area related solely to the housing development but following reinterpretation of Government guidance in the National Planning Policy Framework, consideration will now also be given to the area of land provisionally allocated for the Cemetery extension and the Traveller site.
  • The CCB has made strenuous comment to these plans and the effect which they would have on the AONB, which CCG supports. The Board expect to participate in any further consultations and Inquiries. More information is available from Dacorum BC. If you are concerned about the erosion of protected Green Belt to accommodate development, do please contact your local Town and/or Borough Councillor.

The CCG is always pleased to hear from its supporters so do get in touch with any questions, comments or simply to encourage us all in our united efforts to protect our beautiful little part of England.

Best wishes to you all.

Steering Group

on behalf of the Chiltern Countryside Group

www.chilterncountrysidegroup.org