HS2 tunnel move 'is boon for borough'

by Jim Dunton Thu 25 April 2013, 5:53 pm

Ealing Council has saluted HS2 Limited's decision to support the extension of a proposed tunnel to allow future high-speed trains to pass through the borough underground.

The authority had campaigned against earlier plans that would have seen the new London-to-Birmingham rail link built at surface level between North Acton and Northolt,. arguing that it would have caused huge disruption to hundreds of residents and businesses.

This week HS2 Limited announced that it was advising the government to extend its already-planned West Ruislip tunnel for an additional 9 kilometers to pass under Ealing, making it the longest tunnel on the route at a total of 14 kilometers.

A study conducted by the firm following pressure from Ealing Council and residents found that a tunnel through the borough would potentially be cheaper than constructing a surface route, could be completed 15 months quicker, and would not cause the loss of homes and businesses.

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, Ealing’s cabinet member for environment and transport, said the borough had made a compelling argument and residents and businesses could now breathe a huge sigh of relief.

“This is a victory for the course of action we took with the support of our amazing residents,” he said.

Peter Fry, HS2's community and stakeholder manager for London, said the firm’s change of plan showed what could be achieved by working with local people.

In addition to the loss of homes and businesses, Ealing had been particularly concerned that work to construct HS2 would have caused massive traffic disruption at Hanger Lane gyratory, one of London’s busiest junctions.

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