Written responses to questions tabled by Baroness Bowles
29th June 2021
Answered on: Wednesday 23 June 2021
Department for Transport
Baroness Bowles Of Berkhamsted : To ask Her Majesty's Government what alternative noise and environmental mitigation proposals have been agreed by HS2 Ltd and EKFB to the consented scheme on HS2 Phase One at Wendover following recent discussions with local authorities and stakeholder groups. [HL919]
Baroness Vere Of Norbiton :HS2 Ltd continues to work within the powers of the High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Act 2017 and the mitigations specified within it, which were subject to extensive Parliamentary scrutiny in respect of all areas in Phase One.
The approach used for Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Assessment is to use worst case scenarios. The HS2 Environmental Minimum Requirements are then in place to allow effective measures to be developed and implemented to further reduce impacts.
Detailed design work is ongoing, and indicative mitigation proposals are subject to approvals through schedule 17 of the High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Act 2017. They are made public through this process. Earlier this year, the Wendover Dean Viaduct was the subject of the first such application made and was approved in May 2021, and indicative mitigation proposals for the remainder of works in Wendover will follow in future applications. At Wendover Dean Viaduct, optimisation of the viaduct design since the hybrid Bill has led to an environmentally significant reduction in forecast noise levels which has removed a significant effect reported in the Environmental Statement.
Baroness Bowles Of Berkhamsted : To ask Her Majesty's Government whether new alternative noise and environmental mitigation solutions at Wendover on HS2 Phase One will be considered by HS2 Ltd and EKFB. [HL918] Baroness Vere Of Norbiton :HS2 civils contractor EKFB is undertaking the detailed design of noise and environmental mitigation. HS2 Ltd and EKFB continue to engage with those affected by the works to understand and engage with their concerns. They are currently developing the detailed design following the best practice approaches agreed with Qualifying Authorities set out in HS2 Planning Forum Notes.
Baroness Bowles Of Berkhamsted : To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent assessment they have made of (1) progress, and (2) construction costs, of the current consented HS2 Phase One scheme at Wendover. [HL917] Baroness Vere Of Norbiton :The Government assesses HS2 Ltd progress in delivering the Phase One railway, including the section at Wendover, on a monthly basis. The delivery of the new railway in the Wendover area, and across the Phase One route, remains within both the budget and schedule estimates provided at the point of Notice to Proceed in April 2020, following the reset of the project in February 2020. More detailed cost and schedule information can be found in the HS2 Minister’s last six-monthly update to Parliament published on 23 March 2021. Baroness Bowles Of Berkhamsted : To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent actions have been taken by HS2 Ltd and contractors EKFB to ensure that they satisfy legal obligations to consider all reasonable and practical alternatives to mitigate the impact of the HS2 Phase One route at Wendover. [HL921] Baroness Vere Of Norbiton :There are no legal obligations on HS2 Ltd to consider alternative proposals from third parties following Royal Assent. The Phase One scheme was extensively discussed and scrutinised in both Houses, and during the committee stage of the Bill process, before the High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Act 2017 received Royal Assent. However, HS2 Ltd and EKFB continue to engage with those affected by the works are currently developing the detailed design following the best practice approaches agreed with Qualifying Authorities as set out in HS2 Planning Forum Notes. Baroness Bowles Of Berkhamsted : To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent assessment has been made of the effect of HS2 Phase One construction and operation at Wendover on (1) local transport infrastructure, (2) permitted noise levels, (3) air quality, and (4) the Site of Special Scientific Interest at Weston Turville Reservoir. [HL920] Baroness Vere Of Norbiton :Information, reports, and studies which monitor the environmental effects of constructing HS2 are published online and updated monthly and annually. They include reports on air quality, dust, noise and vibration. The Phase One Environmental Statement as published reports the likely significant effects (as a likely worst case) of the broad range of environmental impacts along the route of the new railway on Wendover.