A ‘who’s who’ of our HS2 Draft Environmental Statement response

The National Trust response to HS2’s draft Environmental Statement is the largest consultation document we have ever put together, so we would forgive anyone that doesn’t fancy reading the full 93 pages. See below for a short summary of who was involved in the response and what they think about the process.

Name – Claire Graves

Role – Senior Stakeholder and Project Manager

Contribution to NT response – “Overall perspective on draft Environmental Statement document, plus detailed look at Community Forum Area reports where we are working.”

Main observation from draft ES – “There is a lot of detail missing from this draft document, which leave a lot of questions unanswered. But, consistent with our approach all along, we’re taking this as an opportunity to help HS2 Ltd do a better job in the long run, if the high speed rail line goes ahead.”

How should this be addressed – “HS2 Ltd is trying to cram an awful lot into a very tight schedule. In order to achieve the best possible result, it may be worth considering taking more time over this essential environmental impact assessment work, and taking a long, hard, objective look at how effective HS2 Ltd’s community engagement is.”

 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Name – Dr Michael Stubbs

Role – Lead Consultant and Land Use Planning Adviser

Contribution to NT response – “Applying various policies and legislation to help assess the environmental assessment of impacts of HS2.  Review of Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Statement process and how it applies to the National Trust.”

Main observation from draft ES – “It’s still a work in progress and much baseline material is still to be published. Work on noise, ecology and visual impacts of particular interest.”

How should this be addressed – “Application of background principles on sustainable development (as HS2 have set out) to this iteration of the work to give considerable weight to landscape impacts and from that flows design detail to address, for example on noise and visual impacts.”

View over the lake towards the west front at Claydon, Buckinghamshire.

Claydon House, close to the proposed huge Calvert Maintenance Depot for HS2

Name – Dr Ingrid Samuel

Role – Historic Environment Director

Contribution to NT response – Overall sign off of National Trust draft ES response

Main observation from draft ES –. Ingrid made sure that the overall tone of the response was constructive but challenging where it needed to be, that the case for the best possible mitigation for our places was clear and that, as a national organisation, the route-wide affects of HS2 are properly considered.

How should this be addressed – Ingrid will continue to ensure the National Trust HS2 project team encourage HS2 Ltd to adopt the very best design and mitigation, respond to information released by HS2 Ltd and push for the earliest possible sight of any further data.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Name – Dr Simon Pryor

Role – Natural Environment Director

Contribution to NT response – “Review of route wide affects on ecology. I was happy to endorse the pretty critical joint response from the Ecology Technical Group and I’m pleased that the Trust have a place on it, alongside other NGOs.”

Main observation from draft ES – “I have to say I was dismayed at the limited amount of information in this interim ES; surely there was more existing information they could have used on the species and habitats likely to be affected?  To my mind, the ES is also far too focused on designated sites and protected species, whereas other often much more valuable species and sites are rather glossed over.”

How should this be addressed – “I’m sure HS2’s consultants know how to produce a really good ES. I just hope the Govt give them the time and resources to do it properly.”

Views from Waddesdon Manor will be impacted by HS2, along with the vast A41 flyover

Name – Peter Brash

Role – Wildlife & Countryside Adviser

Contribution to NT response – “I looked at the ecological aspects of the Draft Environmental Statement and have been attending the HS2 Ecology Technical Group. This is a group of specialists from NGOs, local authorities and statutory bodies that have come together to discuss route-wide ecological impacts of the scheme and to seek positive engagement with HS2.”

Main observation from draft ES – “It is very incomplete and some of the field work needed to inform the ES has still not been carried out. This makes it very difficult to fully assess the potential impacts. There is also a vagueness of language in certain areas as to what protocols and practices will be followed. This could be interpreted as a lack of commitment to best practice.”

How should this be addressed – “The 2011 Natural Environment White Paper seeks a ‘net gain for nature’ and the National Planning Policy Framework (2012) includes this as a strand of pursuing sustainable development. I’d like to see the commitment to nature meet the ambitions of the project as a whole.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Name – Gary Marshall

Role – Archaeologist

Contribution to NT response – “I looked at relevant sections of the environmental statement relating to the archaeology and the historic environment.”

Main observation from draft ES – “I was hoping that the ES would give more detail on an archaeological methodology which would be applied across the line so that we could understand how the impact on particular sites would be mitigated for. However, the draft ES only said that the methodology would be produced as a future document providing a written scheme of investigation along the route. So we still do not know the extent of archaeological work that will be applied to the environs of Hartwell. I thought the route maps and construction proposals were clearly expressed in the mapping.”

How should this be addressed – “I’d like to see this written scheme of investigation and mention of the potential for community involvement in archaeological projects before or during construction.”

HS2 will pass through the historic estate at Hartwell House

Name – Dominic Cole

Role – Landscape Architect (Dominic Cole Landscape Architects Ltd)

Contribution to NT response – “DCLA are landscape architects working with NT to help frame a response to the HS2 proposals that potentially affect NT properties and contextual landscape. We were looking for landscape lead solutions that would contribute to the community and existing landscape – e.g. by creation of new habitats as part of the accommodation of new engineering infrastructure.”

Main observation from draft ES – “The draft ES takes technical approach and follows prescribed published guidelines. The proposals illustrated are technical engineering responses to issues of providing an efficient High Speed Rail Service. At this stage there has not been significant design input from landscape architects. Inevitably the methodology has not picked up some of the issues that are important locally and emotionally, e.g. the deserted village and church of old Stoke Mandeville are not Scheduled Ancient Monuments, but are valued highly locally.”

How should this be addressed – “The process of designing new infrastructure at this scale is, necessarily, iterative and the design team will not be able to provide all detail until the design is ‘finished ‘. However there are opportunities for the design team to listen to groups such as the National Trust who have chosen to consider how we can ‘get the best ‘ from HS2, rather than launching blanket objection.”

 …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Name – Kate Ahern

Role – Landscape Planner (Principal at Land Use Consultants Ltd)

Contribution to NT response – “I reviewed the landscape and visual assessment of HS2 as it passes through the areas of main National Trust interest at Hartwell house and Waddesdon covered in Community Forum Area Report 11: Stoke Mandeville and Aylesbury.”

Main observation from draft ES – “It is extremely encouraging to see the box highlighted in the section covering ‘Route Alternatives’ (page 31) referencing the positive outcome of early engagement and on-going consultation with HS2 initiated by the National Trust. The ES goes on to state that many of the Trusts proposals including noise attenuation, carefully designed earthworks and planting, plus examination of a land bridge at Hartwell house will be investigated as part of an effective plan for landscape mitigation.  This is good news for the Trust and clearly shows the benefits of being engaged with the process early on.  It is also good to see that the NT option for a reinstated alignment of the A418 is already included as part of the scheme. The ES identifies that in landscape and visual terms, HS2 will have major adverse effects on NT interests at Harwell and Waddesdon.  We agree with this and consider that it provides a basis to continue to pursue a scheme that goes beyond effective mitigation to provide environmental benefits and gains.”

How should this be addressed – “In the final ES, we would like to see:

  • “A full method statement for the LVIA including criteria and rationale for making judgements on sensitivity, magnitude of change and significance of impacts;
  • Agreed viewpoints and visualisations – and inclusions of photomontages from key locations at Hartwell and Waddesdon as outlined by the Trust in consultations with HS2 (e.g. the route as it crosses the main avenue at Hartwell);
  • Cross referencing between the LVIA and cultural heritage chapters to indicate the impact of the scheme on the landscape setting of Hartwell and Waddesdon;
  • A baseline assessment of the Chilterns AONB that considers the reasons for designation and the special landscape qualities of the AONB which may be sensitive to HS2.

“Above all, we wish to see a detailed plan for landscape mitigation addressing the major adverse effects of the scheme for the area between Stoke Mandeville and Waddesdon. We want to continue work with HS2 Ltd so that plan goes beyond fully effective mitigation to create a better integrated, connected and functioning landscape for this part of Aylesbury Vale. A landscape that extends beyond the narrow corridor of the rail line.”

 

We are asking for a landbridge for Hartwell and the edge of Aylesbury to shield HS2

We are asking for a landbridge for Hartwell and the edge of Aylesbury to shield HS2

 Name – Mike Briggs

Role – Principal Engineer, Water Management (HR Wallingford)

Contribution to NT response – “HR Wallingford has provided advice to the National Trust regarding hydrological issues in the Hartwell House area. This included a review of the water resource and flood risk management aspects of the draft ES. As part of our work we have met and walked the site with representatives from the Environment Agency.”

Main observation from draft ES – “Overall we consider that the hydrological content of the draft ES is suitable. However, it is important to recognise that it is only a preliminary document and that for the full ES far more detail will be required. In particular it is important that sufficient attention is paid to local issues – such as groundwater in the Hartwell area – as well as to larger scale major environmental issues.”

How should this be addressed – “The National Trust is promoting the idea of a relatively short section of land bridge between the Hartwell Estate and part of Aylesbury. Whilst HS2 has previously rejected the idea of a longer and deeper section of land bridge in this area, this latest proposal should be fully assessed on its own merits. Reasons for rejecting the previous proposal must be reassessed. The drainage issues for the new proposals are very different, so previous considerations are not valid.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Name – Alan Nethersole

Role – Senior Acoustic Consultant (Lee Cunningham Partnership)

Contribution to NT response – Alan Nethersole carried out a full peer review of Volume 1 Introduction to the Draft Environmental Statement and the Proposed Scheme and the community forum area reports for Stoke Mandeville and Aylesbury, and Dunsmore, Wendover and Halton.

Main observation from draft ES – “To comment fully on these draft statements we would need to see more information on the method of noise calculation. It is not clear how the ongoing approach to effective noise control will be assessed. The measured background noise levels, if taken should include night time levels, although at this stage they seem to just take 10dB from a daytime measurement to arrive at a night time criteria. No definition of train noise used in the draft assessment is given.”

How should this be addressed – Alan would like to see more evidence on noise as soon as possible as this data is essential to our understanding of and ability to assess impacts and their mitigation measures. Also, the weighting of impacts of the scheme on tranquillity, and the visual and noise impact of the Wendover Dean and Small Dean viaducts must be reassessed.

Advertisements

One thought on “A ‘who’s who’ of our HS2 Draft Environmental Statement response

  1. It is wonderful to get this great information. We looked at the environmental aspects of the Statement . This is a group of specialists from non government organization , local governments and statutory bodies that have come together to discuss route-wide ecological impacts of the important. It is very important to perform the work very diligently. The importance of protecting the environment should always be front and center. Please continue this important work.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s