4th June 2021
Thank you for your letter and it was good to meet up this morning.
There are three matters which we consider have been satisfied:
We have in writing from HS2, that that there is sufficient time to submit a revised application for the design of the parapet, if the noise levels increase once the track and train noise is better understood as construction is not due to start until 2024.
HS2 have also set out in writing the other types of additional mitigation that would be possible if needed, including slowing down of trains (see below for a and b).
We have also confirmed, and would add this as in informative, that consenting to the design of the viaduct at this stage does not, in anyway, prejudice the Council’s decision making at the bringing into use stage.
EKFB have written to us stating:
“Consideration of the assumptions relating to rolling stock and track are a key part of the approach to Schedule 17(3) requests in the context of noise. The approach is set out in Paragraphs 15 to 17 of Planning Forum Note 14 where it is acknowledged that Schedule 17(3) requests cannot be delayed until the rolling stock and track design is completed and that revised applications may be necessary as a result of variations that occur as a result final track and rolling stock information.
HS2 are expecting to confirm the rolling stock supplier later this year and hence the expected noise emission of the rolling stock. HS2’s slab track supplier for the open route is already confirmed and confirmation of the acoustic performance of the track is expected early in 2022. Detailed design of Wendover Dean viaduct is still ongoing and due to be completed in around December 2021. EKFB do not plan to commence the procurement of the noise barriers for Wendover Dean Viaduct until early in 2024 with construction commencing at around late 2024. HS2 track and rolling stock has been specified to ensure that the noise emission currently included in HS2s Schedule 17(3) applications represents the worst case. None-the-less, there is sufficient time for new information from the track and rolling stock suppliers to be considered, an updated noise demonstration report to be produced and for Schedule 17(3) approval to any variation to noise barrier heights that might be required to be sought. Specific to Wendover Dean Viaduct, variations which could be considered to further mitigate noise are modifications to the robust curbs or modifications to the parapets.
As stated in paragraph 17 of Planning Forum note 14 “Where reasonably practicable noise mitigation through the civil assets is not sufficient on its own to meet the project’s noise commitments, site specific mitigation may also be considered (e.g. local track design by way of track absorption and / or other local rail system mitigation)". Such mitigation for consideration could include local speed restrictions.”
As you know, we are not able to refuse this application on noise grounds. On the basis of the written confirmation we have received that a revised application would be submitted if it was needed, the Council is minded to approve the application. I believe that this should address your concerns and I will pass your letter, together with your views on whether the application should have been validated to the team.
At our meeting this morning, David Ball raised again concerns about lack of compliance with PFN 14, paras 18-25 which set out what information should be provided for re-assurance for the local authority, although this information is not a material consideration for the application. I have again referred this matter onto the technical team. It seems likely with that we now have the re-assurance through the correspondence with EKFB.
I agreed that we would write to the Minister, with the Southdowns report, setting out that the information submitted with the application did not meet the requirements set out in PFN 14 and therefore that his statement to Lord Berkeley was not accurate.
Joan Hancox MCIHT
Interim Service Director: Strategic Transport & Infrastructure
Planning, Growth & Sustainability Directorate