People have been worried about what will happen with the spoil from digging the HS2 tunnels and cuttings almost from the moment HS2 was announced. The quantity of soil that can be expected to be removed, how it will be removed and what will happen to it has been removed have been a matter for concern.
Briefly, it seemed that one of the problems had been resolved – to HS2 Ltd’s satisfatction.
In January, David Liddington, MP for Aylesbury wrote to Alison Munro, CEO for HS2 Ltd, asking her about it:
“I was concerned to learn that the impression amongst my constituents and local representatives is that HS2 Ltd is unwilling to discuss the issue of a large work camp and spoil dump as they feel it is issue for the contractor at the time of construction.”
He got a reply from Alison Munro at the end of February:
“Our proposals do not envisage “a large spoil dump” in the Chilterns. … The vast majority of spoil in the Chilterns (relating to the construction of the 13.5km long twin bore Chiltern tunnel) will be dealt with adjacent to the M25 and thus outside of the AONB designation.”
So that’s all right then – dump the problem somewhere else.
However, when the Bucks Examiner got in touch with HS2 Ltd it turned out Alison Munro – in spite of being HS2 Ltd’s CEO – had it wrong. They weren’t going to dump it by the M25, but use Britain’s busiest motorway to transport it elsewhere.
The Examiner have calculated the number of lorries that may be needed to deal with the possible quantities of spoil:
“Experts say around 12 million cubic metres of spoil will need to be removed to build the London to Birmingham link featuring a 13.5km tunnel under some of the Chilterns.
“If these figures are correct, it will mean a lorry movement every 26 seconds of the working day, Monday to Friday, along the whole line for five years – the equivalent of 850,000 full trucks taking the spoil away during the construction phase which is due to start in 2017.”
Even if some of these lorries do not go near the M25, it’s still a massive extra number of trucks on the roads, just from building part of the HS2 route.
(The problem of disposal of spoil from Crossrail has also been an issue in Brent recently.
The Kilburn Times reported last week that Kensal Triangle residents were never consulted about the lorries which will be used to dispose of spoil from Crossrail through the area.
A spokesman for Brent council said
“The approximate maximum number of predicted journeys is 110 per day during peak times which is likely to last three months, but this will decrease to approx. 40-50 a day outside these times. “)