HS2 Update | June
Updated: Jun 22
12th June 2020
If it walks like a duck and it quacks, it’s probably a duck I’m rarely surprised by HS2 Ltd, admittedly that’s because I have low expectations, but they really got me this time.
In March I wrote to HS2 Ltd outlining our concern at how poorly they are meeting the noise assurances that they were forced to give at the petitioning stage. Further, we highlighted recent occasions where noise data provided by HS2 Ltd was incorrect.
The letter was headed…. Wendover Parish Council – Noise Complaints
That they lost their response for 12 days isn’t unexpected. What was new and surprising is that while they have responded to the complaint, they have decided that this isn’t/wasn’t a complaint, it’s the WPC’s view apparently. I presume that this exercise in new semantics will reduce the numbers of complaints and make someone look good. For me if its headed complaint, if it questions the truth of your statements and, if you treated it like a complaint, it’s probably a complaint.
Post COVID-19 – The Business Case for HS2 HS2 appears to be progressing without meeting the Business Case requirement of the High Speed Rail Bill. The HS2 business case is and always has been about as robust as a carrier bag full of custard. It’s swung from Speed to Capacity as the project’s main drivers but now it seems to be based on “I want a railway”. Dame Cheryl Gillian MP contacted the National Audit Office about the Business Case for HS2 which has not been updated in the light of the Pandemic.
Noise Modelling – More Broken Promises We’re suspicious of the HS2 noise modelling software. The software is a hangover from HS1 where its outputs were expected to fall within a plus or minus 3dB range. If you understand the nature of logarithmic scales you will realise that is a quite broad range of acceptable error. So broad that it was deemed by Parliament to be in need of improvement. HS2 Ltd told Parliament that its noise modelling would be better than HS1’s. It’s not!
I see that Mark Thurston must have given some thought to my open letter of last month. Apparently the breakdown of social distancing on his sites is somebody else’s fault and 6 weeks into the pandemic he’s dealing with it. Way to go Mark!
Tom Walsh Chairman, Wendover Parish Council