6 metre construction demonstrating proposed sound barrier height

Ron Peterson, Wendover HS2  |  Published: Apr 11th 2016
The scissor lift in place, courtesy Andrew Band
The scissor lift in place, courtesy Andrew Band

6 metre construction demonstrating proposed sound barrier height 

 

Summary.

Wendover HS2 have decided to illustrate the height of the 6 metre sound barriers that HS2 Ltd and the House of Commons Select Committee have decided provides adequate mitigation for the town. We disagree. From the early HS2 roadshows with “scientific” sound booths showing that a blackbird would drown out the noise of the train, we have arrived at a point that the only 6 metre sound barriers in the UK are required to make Wendover legally sound reduced.

Wendover HS2 are over the weekend of April 8-10th using a scissor lift to illustrate the height of these barriers to the residents.

 

Background.

We were deeply disappointed but, regrettably, not surprised by the House of Commons HS2 Select Committee which failed to recommend extending the Chiltern Tunnel throughout the whole length of the A.O.N.B to the North of Wendover.

As one of the largest communities directly on the HS2 route, Wendover is being affected disproportionately by the scheme.  A massive civil engineering project will cut through the heart of the village, yet Wendover will have the least level of mitigation spent per affected household along the route. In the vicinity the proposal is for two viaducts each 500 metres long and a height of 15 metres joined by a massive embankment  over 1km long all sitting within the A.O.N.B.

HS2Ltd and the Select Committee obviously realised that the original  noise calculations for Wendover were grossly erroneous and totally misleading. In order to try to prevent any further mention of a fully bored tunnel HS2Ltd decided to pre-empt any further discussion by presenting a plan to The Select Committee that involved the construction of 6 metre sound barriers from the Small Dene viaduct to the meagre extension of called “Green Tunnel” portal. There are no such barriers anywhere in use in the U.K. and in a letter  to a local engineer Sir David Higgins, Chairman of HS2, incredulously claims the rationale for this as:-

“5.5 metre high noise barriers have lower noise reduction than 6 metre ones”.

“6.5 metre high noise barriers have greater visual impact than 6 metre high barriers”.

 

This pre-emptive strike by HS2Ltd was meekly accepted by the Select Committee who by this stage, were clearly keen to finish the whole Select Committee Process and any further argument would have the disagreeable effect of possibly taking yet more time. HS2Ltd have also suggested paying Bucks County Council to erect and maintain 2 further rows of 4 metre barriers to help protect the ancient Church and an adjoining school.

These 3 layers of barriers will have a devastating visual impact on an already blighted town, with local shopkeepers rightly concerned about their future viability in the middle of Europe’s largest building site for many years  to come.

Wendover HS2 have decided to demonstrate the overbearing nature of a 6 metre barrier by using a scissor lift to illustrate the scale of these structures.

The evidence presented by the local community  to the Select Committee over the Petitioning period covered wide ranging impacts on the local area on hydrogeology, noise, transport disruption and damage to local business, as well as a gross visual impact on the Chilterns AONB.

HS2 Ltd. has demonstrated gross incompetence in failing to adequately address these issues or indeed anything that might illustrate that a full tunnel throughout the whole A.O.N.B. might be a sensible idea. They have also rejected calls for an independent costing exercise to compare the current above ground route with its attendant problems with a fully bored tunnel. Presumably they are nervous of the outcome as they currently are the sole supplier of cost data.

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