The Greater London Authority’s Transport Committee is calling on the UK Government to rethink its proposals for High Speed 2 rail link, initially connecting London and Birmingham, to address concerns about the project’s impact on London. The Committee’s concerns, set out in its response to a recent government consultation, identifies a number of changes to the route and interchanges in London that are needed if HS2 is to go ahead. The response highlights:
- The need for a new Tube line in the form of Crossrail 2 (Chelsea to Hackney) to address the potential for local transport at Euston to be swamped by thousands of extra HS2 passengers.
- Plans for Euston station that would increase its size by up to a third, with the loss of valuable green space, residential areas and businesses. The Government is urged to explore alternative designs for the station, such as the continental ’stacking’ of lines, which could reduce the footprint of the new station and minimise the disruption caused during construction and operation.
- Concerns about plans to run trains above ground through large parts of Hillingdon. The Committee suggests the Government looks at tunnelling this part of the route instead to spare west Londoners the worst of the impact.
- The unacceptably adverse affect on London Overground passengers and freight traffic that the current plans to link HS2 to HS1 on the North London Line would have.
- The lack of detail about how the interchange at Old Oak Common would work. Members also urge HS2 Ltd to look at Stratford International – which already has most of the infrastructure to accommodate high speed services – as an alternative east London interchange.
The response has been agreed by the Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem groups on the Committee. Jenny Jones AM, Green Party Member of the Committee, does not support the response. The Green Party is opposed to the current HS2 plan as it does not accept the case for investment in transport infrastructure as a response to predicted economic growth and increased demand for travel.
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