Resistance to HS2
Despite the prospects and anticipation of a completed HS2 transportation route through London and many of the financial gains expected to be brought to Ealing and other areas, HS2 still has significant resistance throughout the city. Especially from residents in Ealing.
One group is prevalent in the fight: North Ealing Against HS2 (NEAHS2). The group wants to thwart all efforts to build HS2 in Ealing and nationally, citing three main arguments: no business case, no environmental case and no money to build it.
Recognising, however, that their power to stop HS2 altogether is severely limited, NEAHS2 is focusing on petitioning for changes to the proposed Ealing route and construction. The gyst of the argument is this: why can’t the Department of Transportation tunnel through the critical Northolt, Greenford and Perivale areas when a similar solution has been offered to Ruislip and other boroughs? The Department has no justifiable position, the group claims.
Their arguments are gaining serious attention. In July, Ealing council sent off an ultimatum to HS2 Ltd: tunnel it or we will directly oppose construction through Ealing. One of the council’s main concerns is traffic management while construction and bridge replacement take place. A total of 18 bridges need to be replaced, along with the Hanger Lane gyratory, in order to accommodate an over-ground HS2. The council feels that HS2 Ltd has not adequately supported its business case, the environmental impact or traffic management solutions.
Initially, HS2 Ltd cited cost. An underground route would put the cost at £150m. NEAHS2 and other supporters say the increased cost of tunnelling is justified in light of mandatory property purchases, displacement and disruption.
HS2 Ltd conceded the case earlier this year and commissioned a study into a tunnelling solution. The results of that study were expected in October. However, disclosure of the report and any decision has been put off until ‘the beginning of the year’, date unknown. Despite the delay, campaigners are optimistic.