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Hearing tomorrow: HS2 face Information Rights Tribunal related to potential contamination of London’s water supply

Tomorrow, 4th March, from 10am, HS2 Ltd and the Information Commissioner of HS2 face a remote public hearing at the First-tier Tribunal General Regulatory Chamber, brought by local resident and Save Colne Valley Campaigner, Sarah Green.

It concerns the refusal of HS2 Ltd to release the water risk assessments for the load test piling, which took place at Harvil Road, Hillingdon, Colne Valley, from June-September 2020.

Despite requests from the public, the information was not released until after HS2 contractors drilled test piles 70 meters deep into the delicate chalk aquifer in the Colne Valley.  

HS2 plans to drive hundreds more deep piles across the valley for footings for the colossal weight of a 3.4km viaduct to carry the High Speed rail train

By refusing to release the information before the testing was completed, HS2 prevented public scrutiny and representations to the regulator, the Environment Agency. This prevented contributions to sustainable development and the effective running of the public sector.

This is yet another example of HS2 failing in their claims of “being a good neighbour” and of believing that the law simply does not apply to them.

The delayed documents now reveal that there are serious deficiencies in HS2’s assessments. HS2’s construction risks doing permanent damage to an important water source, which supplies 22% of London’s drinking water. At a time when the water supply for the south east is already under intense pressure.

A water pollution expert has stated that HS2 have not considered the impact that leachate from a nearby contaminated landfill site, New Years Green Covert, will have on the aquifer.

This is extremely worrying news for the 3.2 million Londoners who rely on that aquifer for clean drinking water.

This risk was highlighted by Affinity Water, one of London’s main suppliers which draws 60% of its water from the source, in a report to the House of Commons in 2013. Affinity Water has now been indemnified by the government, which suggests a serious risk.

Sarah Green, who is bringing the case, said, “HS2’s plans here risk contaminating the water for 3.2million people, which we believe is not only illegal, but it is immoral and it has to be prevented.”

Tomorrow’s court case is another important step towards safeguarding London’s clean drinking water and ensuring HS2 Ltd follow their legal obligations.

To join the hearing by video or telephone from 10am, or for more information about this case, please contact:

Written by Adamacio

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