Fortunately not all 30,000 pages applied to the historic environment in Buckinghamshire, whiuch was our concern.
Nonetheless, the Environmental Statement was a critical document because it set out those elements of the environment that were recognised by HS2 Limited as of value, set a value on them – high or low, and estimated the impact that HS2 and its construction would have. Its engineering plans indicated how these assets would be affected by the line's construction.
Responding to this was therefore also critical, otherwise errors and misjudgments would go uncorrected and become fixed in the HS2 engineering plans.
This task faced the society's HS2 project team at the start of 2014.
SERIOUS OMISSIONS AND NO SPECIFIC COMMITMENTS
As well as the potentially disastrous mismatch in the HS2 Environmental Statement between the company's archaeological report on Doddershall deserted medieval village site and its engineering plans (see HS2 ploughs on: Now Doddershall deserted village faces destruction), the society's Response identified other serious omissions:
Click here to read the full text of the Society's Response.
The 400,000-word Statement (ES) was published by HS2 Limited before Christmas 2013. The deadline for responses was 27 February.
Fortunately not all 400,000 words were on heritage issues. The ES also covered effects on wildlife and the natural environment, noise and visual intrusion, and other issues. But, with heritage information spread across 28 volumes with 35 appendices and various Map Books, just tracking down the predicted effects of HS2 on individual sites, buildings and monuments was a gargantuan task.
Hopefully these contributions will persuade HS2 Limited of the need to minimise the impact of construction `on historic assets along the line. In some cases rescue excavation will be the ‘best’ option before destruction. Grim's Ditch and Stoke Mandeville church ruins are two examples.
NEEDED: PUBLIC ACCESS TO EXCAVATIONS, FINDS AND RESULTS
So far HS2 have made no provision for the storage and curation of archaeological finds that will be recovered during construction. This was a significant omission with HS1, the high-speed line across Kent to the Channel Tunnel. The society is pressing hard for well-defined HS2 budgeted provision for:
The society's response has also been widely circulated, including to all Bucks Members of Parliament, County Council members and officers.
To see present and future activities
To see the results of work already done