Submission – the Environmental Audit Committee inquiry on environmental protection in Phase 1 of HS2

17 March, 2014

Greengauge 21’s  written submission to the Environmental Audit Committee focuses on three areas where we believe we can add value to the Committee’s considerations.  In summary:

  • Experience shows that HS1 – the Channel Tunnel Rail Link – was built to high environmental standards. Required Environmental Minimum Requirements (EMRs) in the Development Agreement were built into an integrated Environmental Design Management Process. This ensured that the EMRs would be reflected through each design stage and onto construction and was critical to detailed development consents from local and national planning and environmental authorities.
  • For the HS1 construction phase, the project Environmental Management System was cascaded through a package of contract environmental requirements, under which contractors implemented their own EMS and took direct responsibility for environmental control on their sites.  A Code of Construction Practice was developed in consultation with local authorities and other bodies.
  • A 24-hour help line ensured that most complaints were dealt with within a day and the whole process was monitored by a Government appointed Complaints Commissioner. Following the successful precedents of the Channel Tunnel and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, the Secretary of State for Transport also appointed a Complaints Commissioner for Crossrail.
  • Once the first section of HS1 across Kent was opened (on 28th September 2003) and high-speed trains started to operate, there were no complaints (made to Eurostar or to Kent County Council) of noise nuisance from the trains themselves running across Kent on the newly built line.
  • A Greengauge 21 report commissioned with CPRE, RSPB and the Campaign for Better Transport on carbon emissions found that high-speed rail can help meet carbon emissions targets and that the carbon savings of Phase 1 of HS2 could be quadrupled if Government puts in place a wider package of policies and that Phase 2 could quadruple the carbon savings again.
  • Evidence suggests that modal transfer from car and air to rail in the 2013 forecast of demand prepared by HS2 Ltd is now unduly cautious. As a consequence the beneficial environmental effects of HS2 are under-estimated.

Read the full submission here: Evidence to Environmental Audit Committee inquiry on environmental protection of Phase 1 of HS2