Camden leader condemns HS2 plans to transport materials by road

HS2 construction workers in Euston. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA

HS2 construction workers in Euston. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA - Credit: Victoria Jones/PA

Camden’s leader has condemned HS2 Ltd’s “completely unacceptable” proposal to remove construction materials by road.

Cllr Georgia Gould has written to Sir Douglas Oakervee, the former HS2 and Crossrail chief who is carrying out a review, “vehemently opposing” plans to transport materials and spoils by road and not rail.

The plans would mean a huge increase in the amount of lorries on Camden’s roads – with more than 100,000 extra heavy goods vehicle journeys expected to be made in Camden over the next three years as a result.

Camden Council received official assurances from HS2 Ltd in a letter in February 2016, following the formal petitioning process to the HS2 House of Commons Select Committee.

HS2’s letter said: “The Secretary of State will require the Nominated Undertaker [HS2 Ltd.] to: seek to maximise...the volume of excavated and construction material from the construction of Euston Station and approaches to be brought in and removed by rail whilst balancing the wider environmental impacts to the local community and on passenger services.”

At a recent board meeting, HS2 Ltd proposed to remove the materials by road instead, as it says moving materials by rail is technically unfeasible, Camden Council said.

“The plans to allow 100,000 extra lorry journeys to blight our community are completely unacceptable,” Cllr Gould said.

“This is an area where thousands of our residents live, where children walk to school and play.
“They are growing up in a construction site and these plans will leave them breathing in harmful fumes and in greater danger when crossing the roads or cycling.

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“This is a community already facing poor air quality and some of the worst deprivation in the country. Their voices and health cannot be a casualty of this project.

“This is the government’s flagship rail project. They must find a way to keep their promises to our community and transport materials by rail.”

An HS2 Ltd spokesperson said: “Euston station is one of the most complex parts of the HS2 route. We are exploring options for removing spoil from the site at Euston and how to minimise impacts.

“A review led by Doug Oakervee, commissioned by the Department for Transport, is ongoing and no decisions about materials by rail at Euston have been made.”