HS2 Ltd publish additional provisions.

Today, HS2 Ltd published the first in a series of amendments to the HS2 Phase 1 plans to make up for the complete cock-up of missing loads of obvious stuff out the first time, like the proper way to move electricity pylons and underground fuel pipes. Out of the amendments, only one of them requires HS2 Ltd to take less land, but this will be of little comfort as in that area, Stoke Manderville and Aylesbury, there are six other amendments which will take up more land.

As suspected, there have been no additional provisions announced for London, meaning the redesign of Euston Station has not been done, meaning this and maybe the Heathrow Spur are still to come.

With the depressing inevitability of incompetence from HS2 Ltd, yesterday Under-Secretary of State Robert Goodwill was telling Parliament there would be 55 ‘minor amendments’, but pages 3-6 of Volume 1 of the HS2 Ltd environmental statement list only 54.

Probably the best part of the document explains what has happened regarding proposed works around utilities. The Additional Provisions Environmental Statement (which appropriately is shortened to ‘APES’) reads:

“Discussions with utility companies following submission of the main ES have identified refinements in working methods and land requirements for utilities works that have led to many of the amendments described in this APES. This section therefore provides information on the working methods for the following utility works:

  • diversions of overhead power lines involving the construction of pylons, reconductoring, winching, earthing and the construction of protective scaffolding;
  • diversions of fibre optic cables; and
  • diversions and upgrades of gas and fuel pielines.

It should be noted that these are standard construction methods, which are used by utilities providers on a regular basis to undertake works of this nature.”

That may be what it says, but this is what it really means:

“Despite the fact we have been working on this boondoggle for over five years and local residents have been asking questions such as ‘What about the oil pipeline you are going over?’ for ages, we couldn’t be bothered with irrelevances such as the fact that we might end up cutting off the power across five counties.”

HS2 Ltd finally realise that you can't replace electricity pylons with a clothes line prop.

HS2 Ltd finally realise that you can’t replace electricity pylons with a clothes line prop.

“We didn’t even bother contacting the utility companies, and it was only after we published our hair-brained plans that they rang us up and asked ‘What planet are you on, you muppets?’.”

“When they told us that our incompetence could cause a disaster that would make the Buncefield explosion look like a birthday cake, we decided that they should tell us what to do, because despite the fact we have an army of over-paid engineers, not one of them had a clue what the standard construction methods for such things were.”

There will now be another petitioning period concerning the additional provisions, but we believe this will not start until the last planning notice has been published in the press, next Friday. The petitioning period will end on Friday October 17th, and like last time, petitions will have to follow an arcane format and be physically deposited to Parliament in quadruplicate, despite the fact it is OK for Hs2 Ltd to provide their documents in electronic format. The one bit of good news is that existing petitioners will not have to pay their £20 again, which Goodwill condescendingly referred to yesterday as ‘buy one get one free’.

There may be some minor changes, for example the requirement for existing petitioners to reference their original petition when submitting a new one, but we do not expect there to be any big changes. As such, here is a link to our original guide on petitioning, which besides the issues explained above, should remain comprehensive.

Besides the additional petitioning period, there will be an accompanying consultation on the Additional Provision Environmental Statement. For whatever bizarre reason, whilst petitions will have to be in by October 17th, the deadline for the consultation is November 14th.


8 comments to “HS2 Ltd publish additional provisions.”
    • Correct @Elaine but your claim raises a question

      How are you going to fit these extra slow trains on to the existing line – a line already either at or fast approaching capacity in terms of free train paths – not so simples?

      The solution of course is to construct NEW track – to create huge new capacity for future expansion of all services, so the challenge remains – where exactly would you put that NEW track?

      • Reduce the design speed, include more intermediate stations for superior connectivity, ditch the “Y” topology, and put the spine up the M1 corridor and utilise bored tunnel sections where appropriate (if capacity really is the main driver for the re-branded ‘north/south railway’, that is……….)

        But if the real purpose of HS2 is to provide fast commuter links to London, from farther afield, then it is a solution to a problem that hasn’t happened yet, and one that should not be allowed to happen……Certainly, axing the HS1/HS2 link undermine’s any credible case for ultra high speed!

        So…….HS2 is the wrong railway, in the wrong place at the wrong time………simples

      • Along the motorways would take less farmland (essential
        for feeding the ever increasing masses) or if it has to be
        the HS2 route if the trains were slower the track could be more flexible and avoid the destruction of many of the most sensitive wildlife and ancient woodlands.I want my grandchild to grow up with greenery not concrete.

      • Underground where possible to avoid affecting AONBs and wildlife habitats.
        Yes it will cost more but the money being mentioned, even at the lower end of the range and unadjusted for inflation is a huge amount. If the country is to spend this money might it be better to spend a bit more to get it right and keep as many people as comfortable with HS2 as possible.
        On a similar note given that apparently speed is no longer the issue why stick to the phase 1 route? Why not make the extra capacity available to those who appear to be affected most and for no gain?

        And before you ask Peter, no I do not live on the phase one route. I have no vested interests save the preservation of as much countryside as is possible on any of this sort of infrastructure projects. In the same way that I would suggest that developers try to redevelop brown field sites before grabbing any further green field sites.

      • It is quite simples really.

        First and foremost make certain that we have got adequate rolling stock. It is quite shameful that the 16.46 to Crewe is / was only a 4 carriage train. If platforms need extending to match the longer trains then extend the platforms.

        Secondly if Milton Keynes and Northampton are particular pinch points then extend Thameslink up the M1 to these 2 towns with new parkway stations in eastern MK and southern Northampton. Journey time won’t be an issue.

        You can also consider what was mooted a couple of weeks ago, bringing Crossrail up to Hertfordshire.

        Then if you still have a spare £ 50 billion to spend on an entire new line all the way up to North West, as Clive and Elaine have pointed out, it makes sense for it to run up the M1 / M6 corridor. That would cause much less damage and allow a further link with the MK/Luton area. The resultant £ 2 bn of tunelling cost below 3 urban areas would be small beer in the grand scheme of things.

        • I agree, (KINGSNEWCLOTHES)……..

          The only way to make the current lumbering scheme work is to propose loads of additional infrastructure by way of completely new or extended other railway lines such as the Cross rail extension you mentioned and HS3.

          This much is unequivocal….

          Were not the words of the newly appointed David Higgins, ‘It will only be possible to reap the full benefit of HS2 if it is properly connected, which will require much additional infrastructure to be in place’?…..

          I take this to mean that once completed, nobody would use it because it isn’t joined to anything!

          So, just building it with all of its attendant disruption, environmental destruction and eye-watering cost won’t be enough!

          It still won’t do anything!

          But, actually, how surprised will we be?….Think for a moment about phase one….In 2026 following years of construction misery, variously along the route to the Midlands and £30 to 40 billion blown on it, when the red ribbon is cut
          all it will mean, if you live in London is; ” Today, I can go to the outskirts of Birmingham, quite quickly”……

          Clearly, that additional rail infrastructure is mandatory and clearly the BCR would be adversely impacted and the business case would all but evaporate were these extra costs factored in………

          Which brings us full circle……That additional infrastructure is new and/or upgraded conventional commuter lines, just like those currently at or near capacity that prompted Elaine’s original observation. If the logistics of HS2 are so utterly reliant upon such lines being built – conventional rail networks, that will ease congestion where it actually exists – with these in place, who’ll need HS2?

  1. A1/A1M and M1 cannot deliver the transport capacity for the next century. Hs2 does not deliver sufficient transport benefit for the nation.

    Coalition have not delivered on the Scottish and English v UK decision by disenfranchising the English from a 2 way vote when 3 ways required. Cameron feels more for my country than my party: It is our nation and union. How politicians have committed such a failure as with HS2 and national electrical power resourcing. These young ones have committed mistake after mistake and lobbying and whipping reinforced these mistakes into wasteful outcomes. Time for the Coalition to call times up. What a mess is being made of our nations ways of life and stability.

    How could these people get some many future steps wrong.

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