House of Lords Select Committing Hearing – July 20th 2016

Location:12:25pm, Houses of Parliament.


Committee:, Charles Holbech ,Malcolm Patterson,  Bob Jarrett


The hearing began with Charles Holbech giving a summary of the petition:

There would be 1,000 HS2 HGVs and 204 LGVs through Wardington daily. That represented two per minute in a 10 hour period, and this would seriously affect the quality of life in Wardington.  He outlined that the volume of HGVs using the A361 is to carry spoil from Greatworth and Turweston, for use at Lower Boddington, a distance of 27 miles. Wardington would not cope with this volume of traffic and it would be unsafe. Following the Commons Select Committee report and their recommendations, there have been assurances from HS2 to construct an internal haul road to Greatworth and to review the feasibility to extend the haul road to Turweston. Also, a review of a bypass around the village was to be encouraged. As yet we have received no concrete proposal from HS2. HS2 has rejected the idea of a bypass as unnecessary, on the basis that mitigating measures proposed by them would be sufficient. OCC has responded recently that the mitigation measures required through Wardington and along the A361 may not be achievable or deliverable. There was also a proposal from Priors Hardwick to move the track under the Oxford canal, rather than over, generating excess spoil that could be used at Lower Boddington. This has been dismissed by HS2, as this is the wrong type of spoil.


Charles then presented his slides and video to illustrate Wardington’s objections. The final slide outlined a list of relief requirements:-

•       Extension of haul road to Turweston (priority)

•       Reduction in max no. of HGVs to far less than 1,000 per day

o   no traffic movements outside 8am to 6pm on weekdays

•       Construction of bypass to east of Wardington

o      permanent or temporary

•       Review of extent of need for excavated material at Lower Boddington

•       Lowering of track bed at Boddington Loop

o   movement of excess spoil to Lower Boddington

•       Impact assessment and monitoring


Mr Timothy Mold QC responded on behalf of HS2.

He referred to a letter of assurance, dated 25th January 2016:

·         To limit the number of HGVs to 500 both ways:

·         To construct a haul road to Greatworth, (this will be provided, but they could not commit to the timing to achieve this),

·         To limit the volume of spoil required at Lower Boddington

·         To review extending the haul road to from Greatworth to Turweston, pointing out that there were issues with crossing the A43 and the Great Ouse.

HS2 has committed to informing Wardington PC and OCC periodically, every 3 months, of progress with these assurances. He stated that OCC was the relevant qualifying authority for lorry movements and dismissed the need for an independent adjudicator, as OCC perform this function. The spoil from Turweston is required at Lower Boddington for the track bed (engineering fill) and there is no evidence that any spoil from further up the line is suitable for this kind of work. HS2 is unable to commit to substantial reductions in the volume of traffic on the A361 but would hope to complete the feasibility of extending the haul road to Turweston and report back to the select committee before their decision in the autumn.

OCC maintains that the A361 is suitable for the movements of HGVs and HS2 does not support a bypass, whether permanent or temporary, as it could not be completed in time to carry the traffic and that would lead to increased volumes through Wardington. Finally, the impact assessment is detailed in the Environmental Statement, which covers the traffic assessment in the area concerned.

In reply, Charles said he was grateful for the assurance to construct the haul road to Greatworth but 1000 HGVs is still too high.

The construction of the extension haul road to Turweston should happen, unless HS2 states that it is not technically feasible. Even if constructed, this could lead to a 30% reduction, which is quantity not quality and we shall have the same problems and concerns. Mitigating proposals do not answer the concerns considering a 6 metre width of road and 1 metre width of footpath.

In respect to a bypass, the Secretary of State should commence on a review of estimated costs and benefits before any commencement of work.

We request a reduction of HGVs to 200 both ways, which would still be a 100% increase, and no construction traffic outside 8am to 6pm on weekdays; also, a review of the actual volumes of spoil required at Lower Boddington; and finally, for an Impact Assessment of 1000 HGVs and 204 LGVs on Wardington should be done before work commences and provision should be put in place to monitor all levels and restrictions agreed.

Lord Freeman thanked all for making matters very clear for the Committee and he said that they would reach a judgement and communicate it in due course.

The Hearing closed 14:25pm

Very many thanks to Charles for his time ,expertise and for such an excellent presentation.

HS2 Action Group