In October 2020 The Lee Parish Council, along with other local parishes, was invited to review the latest edition of the HS2 ‘Local Traffic Management Plan’ for the area. To our alarm, it appeared to show significant increases in the volume of traffic on the A413 (and A355) compared to what we had been led to believe at the time the Phase 1 Bill was enacted by Parliament. This had come about because all of the construction sites between Amersham and Stoke Mandeville were now planned to be served by the A355/A413, whereas at the time of debate in Parliament, other routes were also deemed to be available to serve this area.
A review of traffic and impacts on the A413 by local parishes and Community Boards was urgently sent to HS2 and a meeting was held in January 2020 to discuss the topic. The meeting was attended by the HS2 Independent Construction Commissioner, as well as our local MP, Bucks Council Officers and Cllrs and senior HS2 management. Sensing that the response from HS2 Ltd management was unsatisfactory, the Commissioner invited HS2 Ltd to provide further information and then chaired a second meeting in February 2021, at which local councils again made a presentation of their concerns. HS2 Ltd reported that they are of the view that there are no significant unmitigated adverse impacts from the increase in traffic likely to now be travelling on the A355 / A413, over and above that which was estimated at the time of the Bill enactment. More detailed evidence in support of this statement was requested.
Local parish councils and Buckinghamshire Council (the approving Highways Authority) now have to decide if they are satisfied with the response and, if not, what to do about it. Buckinghamshire Council could withhold construction route approvals; local parishes could call for a Judicial Review.