Getting the right HS2 for London

Meeting: 
MQT on 2014-12-17
Session date: 
December 17, 2014
Reference: 
2014/5872
Question By: 
Valerie Shawcross
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor
Category: 

Question

Your forward to the 2014 TfL Business Plan says, "We are also supporting the Government in getting the right HS2 for London and the North". What concerns do you have about the current plan?

Answer

Answer for Getting the right HS2 for London

Answer for Getting the right HS2 for London

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I have consistently supported the idea of high speed rail for the UK, but have sought to secure a number of changes to the HS2 plans to ensure the benefits of the proposal are fully maximised for London and the impacts are minimised. 

The station at Euston will be the start or end point of over 70 per cent of the journeys on the entire HS2 network. There must be a transformation of the station to provide world classfacilities for passengers as one of the major gateways to London, including provision for a connection to Crossrail 2. There is a once in a life time opportunity to get this right. I support the Government in taking its time to develop the right scheme at Euston that also has the involvement and support of the local communities. 

The original proposals for Old Oak station were for a station that would allow only for rail to rail interchange, with no real connection to the surrounding area. I have pushed the Government to recognise the full potential of a HS2 station at Old Oak Common as a focal point for the development of a major new commercial and residential district for west London. The Government has acknowledged this and the GLA and TfL are working closely with Government and HS2 Ltd to ensure this economic potential is unlocked. I am bringing forward proposals for the creation of a new Mayoral Development Corporation in the area that could see the development of 24,000 homes and 55,000 jobs. There remains much work to do, particularly in relation to the transport connections to the surrounding area and the provision of a new Overground station, which is subject to ongoing discussions with Government.

More people in London will be affected by the construction of HS2 and noise from future operation of HS2 trains than in the rest of the country combined. I have been pressing Government to reduce the impacts by amending the route design in West London to include longer sections of tunnel. We have had some success with this and the length of tunnel in west London has been extended considerably. There is more to do with those sections of HS2 which cannot be placed in tunnel and we need to see better proposals for mitigating noise impacts and minimising the impacts of construction. I have also made firm representations to Government that the compensation package on offer for Londoners directly affected by the proposals must be equivalent to the package being offered to those outside of London.

I opposed the original plans for a connection between HS2 and HS1 using the existing railway tracks through Camden because of the unacceptable impacts on the Overground network and surrounding areas. I pushed for a review of this connection and consideration of dedicated underground link between the two lines. I was pleased that the Government removed this from the scheme and TfL will be working with Government on their review of alternative options. A dedicated connection between the two high speed networks would allow new rail services to operate through and across London, providing congestion relief to existing networks and supporting growth across the region and beyond.