Here comes more work

In a postscript to I only just noticed that (posted 25 April 2012) I mentioned that HS2 Ltd has published in draft a new tome for our delectation, succinctly entitled HS2 London to West Midlands EIA Scope and Methodology Report. If you are a sad case like me, and get a kick out of reading such things, the delight of delving into this almost two-hundred page work is only a mouse click away.

This is an important publication as it will, as it says in its title, set the scope of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) work and the methodology to be employed; we can expect that it will become the “bible” for the EIA activities and discussions over the next year or so. So it is right that HS2 Ltd has issued its document in draft for consultation. However, anyone who has been foolish enough to click the link above and actually read any of it will, I’m sure, agree with me that it pretty specialist stuff. So HS2 Ltd does not envisage a public consultation like the one last summer and has taken the step of publishing a list of the bodies that it considers as “formal consultees” in Annex A, which forms chapter 20 of the report (on pages 175-177).

This listing is introduced by the following paragraph:

“Comment will be sought from the following list of formal consultees on the content of the Scope and Methodology Report. Consultees are not limited to this list and responses received from others will be taken into account where they are relevant to the Scope and Methodology consultation.”

So if you want to respond to the consultation, as an individual or on behalf of an action group for example, you can and, if HS2 Ltd considers your observations “relevant”, they will be “taken into account”. So if you want to avoid your submission being binned, just make sure that you don’t make irrelevant comments. Better still, get a “formal consultee” to make your comments on your behalf.

The list of the bodies that HS2 Ltd considers competent to respond is interesting. The usual suspects are included; including a selection of government agencies, Network Rail, Transport forLondon and the Health and Safety Executive. Every local authority affected by the route is also listed, including the Greater London Authority, Birmingham City Council, county councils, borough councils and district councils.

The list also includes seventy-three parish councils, plus a further nine added by an erratum (here). It is strange to me that HS2 Ltd sees fit to include all of these parish councils, which on the whole are unlikely to be able to resource much in the way of specialist environmental knowledge, but excludes any environmental charities (such as the wildlife trusts), action groups or, would you believe it, the Chilterns Conservation Board.

We all have until 12:00 hrs on 30 May 2012 to respond (the consultation officially started on 4 April 2012).

Like many others, I will be working my way through the document during the time allowed to see if I have any comments to make that HS2 Ltd may deem to be relevant. As you might expect if you have read many of my blogs, the first section that I looked at was on airborne sound (section 13.3 on pages 114 to 122). There I found a surprise, which I will tell you about in my next blog.


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