Category Archives: High Speed Two (HS2)

Natascha Engel MP comments on HS2 at Tapton Lock’s launch of Santa Cruises

North East Derbyshire MP, Natascha Engel, attended the launch of the Santa Special Cruise at Tapton Lock on 2 November 2013.

Speaking to Eckington Parish TV, Natascha talks about her personal memories of Tapton Lock and comments on the impact HS2 could have on the future of the canal.

Natascha Engel Speaks out against HS2 on Daily Politics Show

High Speed Rail gathered more momentum on Thursday 31 October 2013 when the Preparation Bill returned to the House of Commons for its Third Reading.

Natascha Engel, Member of Parliament for North East Derbyshire has consistently spoken out against HS2.

In 2008 costings for the the project stood at £17bn. Today it stands at £50bn with many respected organisations and businesses questioning the viability of the whole project.

Commenting after the debate in which only 36 Members of Parliament voted against the Third reading Natascha Engel said,

“There is no doubt that we do need to improve our railways and transport infrastructure but with such an important project costing billions of pounds this needs to be done with more care.  We should be looking at any other options for improving our railways, but where are they? How did the Department for Transport identify where the problems were on our railways and what other options were looked at?  I have not seen anything.  The people in my constituency of North East Derbyshire who are affected by this project are not only paying for this through their taxes but they are paying for it with their homes and communities.  I voted against the Third reading and will keep opposing it.”

 

 

 

 

To watch Natascha’s interview visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03gps89/Daily_Politics_31_10_2013/

 

Derbyshire County Council consult on HS2

Derbyshire County Council are running a series of local meetings to gather feedback concerning the proposed route of HS2 through Derbyshire. For full details of all of the meetings across the County click here. Meetings in North East Derbyshire are as follows:

  • Killamarsh 14 November 12pm – 8pm Killamarsh Sports Centre, Stanley St
  • Staveley 29 November 12pm – 8pm The Speedwell Rooms, Inkersall Road

To read County Council reports on HS2 click the links below

HS2 – The Government’s proposals for High Speed Rail

Arrangements for responding to the Government’s proposals.

HS2 Consultation Events

HS2 Ltd and Central Government will be hosting public consultation events along the proposed route of Phase 2. Some of the dates and venues for those in the Sheffield City Region have been announced and these are:

Killamarsh          Thursday 14 November 2013        12pm-8pm                 Killamarsh Sports Centre, Stanley Street, Killamarsh S21 1EL

Meadowhall        Friday 15 November 2013             12pm-8pm                     IceSheffield, Coleridge Road, Sheffield S9 5DA

Meadowhall        Saturday 16 November 2013        12pm-8pm                    IceSheffield, Coleridge Road, Sheffield S9 5DA

Barnsley               Saturday 2 November 2013         10am-5pm                              Barnsley Town Hall, Church Street, Barnsley S70 2PA

 

 

 

Public Consultation on HS2 Proposed Route

The Government launched the public consultation on the HS2 proposed route on 17 July.  The consultation will close at 5pm on 31 January 2014.

It is important that as many people as possible respond to the consultation.

You can find more information about how to do this by clicking on the following link:

HS2 Phase Two Route Public Consultation

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natascha Engel MP responds to consultation on Exceptional Hardship Compensation Scheme

HS2 Exceptional Hardship Scheme Consultation

Response from Natascha Engel MP

Member of Parliament for North East Derbyshire

Introduction

 As the Member of Parliament for North East Derbyshire, three locations within my constituency are directly affected by the proposed HS2 route.  It would have been reasonable to expect that before the announcement on 28 January 2013 that residents in these communities would have been consulted. The Government, together with HS2 Ltd failed to do this. Following the announcement some residents received letters about the potential impact upon their property, others did not. In fact the use of outdated maps meant that in one location approximately thirty homes were not even aware they would be directly affected. The Government and HS2 should have worked more closely with local communities about the project before unveiling any proposed route. It is difficult to understand how anyone can respond to something they have little or no information about.  The questions in the consultation document are closed and how can anyone know if they qualify for compensation until they know exactly where the line is going.

I am making this contribution to the consultation on behalf of the many constituents I have who are directly or indirectly affected by the proposed HS2 route up to Leeds.

 “Do you agree or disagree that the Department for Transport should introduce an Exceptional Hardship Scheme for Phase Two ahead of decisions on how to proceed with the routes? What are your reasons?”

On the assumption that HS2 will move forward I agree that there should be an Exceptional Hardship Scheme in place.  Such a scheme however does not minimise the impact that has been felt by residents and businesses in the communities affected.

The consultation makes reference to the fact that there is no legal requirement by Government to introduce this Scheme but there is clearly a moral obligation to address the following.

  1. Blight to properties and business which was immediate following the announcement on 28 January 2013.
  2. Properties that have been devalued and are now unsellable.
  3. People who are in a property trap through blight imposed upon them which is unfair and unjust and takes away the freedom to move.
  4. Businesses working on advance bookings that have seen an immediate decline and/or cancellation of existing bookings because of future uncertainty.
  5. The scheme should be in place for the duration of the project.

“Do you agree or disagree with the proposed criteria underpinning the Exceptional Hardship Scheme for Phase Two? What are your reasons? Please specify any alternative principles you would propose, including specific criteria for determining qualification for the scheme.”

 The criteria are too limited and restrictive and as a result will not help those seriously affected by the proposals.

1. All property should be included. It is unfair to exclude anyone who falls outside the criteria of residential, small business or agricultural unit owner-occupier, a mortgagee or the personal representative of a deceased person who had a qualifying interest at the time of death.

2.Tenants in rented property that is blighted should be compensated to reduce the financial burden of relocation.

3. Location of property affected by construction or operation is a criteria. How can there be a determination of location of property when no distance has been fixed from the initial preferred route to satisfy criteria and in reality it is not possible to fix this until the route is finalised?

4. How can an applicant assess the distance of their property from the proposed route when it has been admitted that maps used in North East Derbyshire were incorrect?

5. How can it be fair that an applicant in an affected area has to accept an offer of only 85% of market value from a potential purchaser when no compensation is being offered to make up the difference?

6. The criteria of no prior knowledge makes affected properties even less attractive to potential buyers.

7. The Exceptional Hardship Scheme should be available to anyone who wants to move and is unable to do so because of HS2.

8. The scheme provides that exceptional hardship cannot be predefined.  This makes the scheme uncertain and limited that it simply cannot be fair.

Alternatives:

1. Anyone who is faced with financial loss, either through property devaluation and/or relocation should be fully compensated.

2. The Exceptional Hardship criteria should include everyone wanting or needing to move.

3. Compensation should be paid to 100% of the blight free market value.  There should be no requirement for applicants to accept offers of only 85% of property value.

4. The criteria of prior knowledge should not exist where a property has been sold and purchased under existing market forces. This would provide certainty for prospective purchasers that in due course, if affected, they will be compensated.  It will also have the effect of keeping the property market moving in blighted areas.

5. Interim compensation should be afforded to properties deemed to be affected up until the route is safeguarded.

“Do you agree or disagree with the proposed process for operating the Exceptional Hardship Scheme for Phase Two? What are your reasons? Please specify any alternative arrangements which you would suggest.”

 I disagree with the proposed process.

1. HS2 Ltd would administer the scheme on behalf of the Secretary of State and a majority independent panel would be appointed by HS2 to consider applications.  Such a panel cannot be considered as independent when they clearly represent the interests of HS2 Limited.

2. The panel should be wholly independent and selected by an independent body.

3. Successful applicants should also be able to choose a Chartered Surveyor outside of the pool selected by Government if they so wish, with all costs being met by the Government.

4. Unsuccessful applicants should have a right of appeal to a further independent panel. There should also be an independent right of appeal for applicants who are unsuccessful in their initial application.

5. The five criteria set out to determine qualification for the Scheme is too broad. It is noted that consideration of any less than five would be at the discretion of the decision maker and would be considered under the process of extenuating circumstances.

In the interests of fairness and justice applications should be considered where applicants meet one or more of the five criteria.

Further clarification should be provided on the status of the decision maker so as to ensure independence from either Government or HS2 Ltd.

Natascha Engel MP

15 May 2013

Local MP Signals NO to HS2

Speaking in the Queen’s Speech debate in Parliament (15 May) Natascha Engel, Member of Parliament for North East Derbyshire, set out her concerns about the Government’s economic growth strategy in relation to High Speed 2.

Natascha outlined her main concerns about how government policy has affected the daily lives of her constituents in Renishaw, Killamarsh and Staveley.

In her speech Natascha criticised the Government on their lack of consultation, the lack of any clear economic case for HS2 and the fact that almost £800m of taxpayers money has already been spent on a scheme that is not even off the ground.

Supporting Natascha Engel’s viewpoint on the lack of any economic case, the National Audit Office warned in a report published today that it hadreservations about the business case” and had also estimated a £3.3bn shortfall in funding.

Commenting Natascha said,

“The Government has shown a complete lack of understanding about people’s lives and communities that were blighted from the day the proposed route was published. Even though nothing will happen in North East Derbyshire for 20 years houses can’t be sold, businesses are affected and regeneration projects such as the Chesterfield Canal Trust are facing an uncertain future. It is not a case of not in my backyard but through the house and village in which people have lived for generations.  They do not benefit from HS2 and the train does not even stop in Derbyshire.”

Urging the Government to listen to her constituents Natascha said until this happened she would oppose plans for HS2.

To read Natascha Engel’s speech click  link the following: House of Commons Hansard Debates for 15 May 2013 (pt 0003) or read below.

QUEEN’S SPEECH DEBATE

HOUSE OF COMMONS

15 MAY 2013

5.28 pm

Natascha Engel (North East Derbyshire) (Lab): It is a great pleasure for me to take part in this final day of the Queen’s Speech debate, and to talk about the Government’s plan for economic growth. I have serious concerns about their proposals for the big infrastructure project HS2, which will mean that high-speed trains will go through the northern part of my constituency, just south of Sheffield—through Staveley, Killamarsh and, in particular, the village of Renishaw.

My main objections are to the lack of information for, and consultation with, the people whom the project will affect; the lack of a coherent economic case beyond a vague promise to open up the regions; and the lack of any real information about that economic case, when £800 million of taxpayers’ money has already been spent on preparatory work, and preparation is currently being made, in the two Bills that are to come before Parliament, for the spending of at least a further £33 billion.

Some of the things I am most concerned about, however, are the complete lack of understanding about people’s lives and the communities in which they live, and the fact that regeneration projects were blighted on the very day the plans for the HS2 route were published. Even though nothing will happen in my part of Derbyshire for 20 years, people are already finding it almost impossible to sell their homes, and businesses are starting to suffer. The main business and employer in the village of Renishaw is a fabulous wedding venue for people all around south Yorkshire and northern Derbyshire. It is very famous and has been operating for many years. Even though it is 20 years before anything may or may not happen, people are already cancelling weddings there simply because of the uncertainty.

The Chesterfield canal project, which regenerates very poor parts of the constituency, has also been operating for decades. The HS2 tracks will go right over the canal, and any match funding raised for the development of the canal has already stopped. These are important economic regeneration projects that have been stopped in their tracks because of the publication of a train line route, which has not even been finalised yet, let alone built.

This is not a “not in my backyard” argument. The tracks will go right through families’ houses, and through villages in which people have lived for many generations. They will not benefit from HS2, as the train does not stop in Derbyshire, but the HS2 project will stop all the regeneration and economic gains we have been making since the closures in the coal and steel industry.

That is not the only thing that is of concern to me. This is feeding into a far wider political problem. We say we represent these people, but they say they are not being consulted and not being allowed to have a say. In fact, we are saying we know better than they do what is good for them, but in this case we do not. I urge the Government to consult, persuade and explain, and to listen to all these people whose lives we are proposing to destroy. Until we do so, I will oppose these plans.

Link to High Speed 2:  National Audit Office

HIGH SPEED 2

Consultation on Exceptional Hardship compensation scheme extended

The Government has now extended the consultation period on the Exceptional Hardship Scheme to 20 May 2013. 

If you would like information on the consultation please get in touch on 01246 439018. 

Natascha will be making a submission to the consultation following the public meetings that have been held in her constituency in areas that will be affected by the proposed HS2 route announced by the Government on 28 January 2013.  Meetings have taken place in Renishaw, Killamarsh and Staveley.

Natascha is deeply concerned about the devastation this will cause to communities in the north of the constituency.   She is also worried that this is being done so quickly without giving anyone time to investigate what the impact assessments are, what the financial modelling was, nor what alternatives were explored.  That is before we even start on the compensation scheme.

On 28 February Natascha raised a question with the Secretary of State for Transport about alternatives to HS2.  See below Natascha’s question and the Minister’s response.

Natascha Engel (North East Derbyshire) (Lab): Was an upgrade of the current midland main line service considered as a cheaper, faster and far less destructive alternative to the building of a new London to Leeds HS2 route? If not, why not?

Mr McLoughlin: As I announced in my statement on the subject, HS2 is also about capacity. We are upgrading the line to which the hon. Lady referred, and I hope that its electrification during the period between 2014 and 2019 will benefit her constituents.

Natascha is currently receiving information and questions from constituents about HS2 and once all of the public meetings have taken place the information will collated and passed on to the Transport Minister.

Info about the route:

http://www.hs2.org.uk/phase-two/leeds

Exceptional Hardship Scheme Consultations:

http://www.hs2.org.uk/have-your-say/consultations/phase-two/exceptional-hardship-scheme

Further info: http://www.hs2.org.uk/sites/default/files/inserts/P2EHS05%20Exceptional_Hardship_DL%20tagged%20for%20WEB%20vfinal.pdf

Hardship Scheme (Department for Transport): http://www.hs2.org.uk/sites/default/files/inserts/Consultation%20Document.pdf

How to get involved:

http://www.hs2.org.uk/have-your-say/consultations/phase-two/exceptional-hardship-scheme/how-to-respond

http://www.hs2.org.uk/sites/default/files/inserts/Consultation%20Response%20Form.pdf

Natascha Engel MP writes for Derbyshire Times on HS2

26 FEBRUARY 2013

The Chesterfield Canal has always been very special to me. After I was elected in 2005, my first official engagement as MP was to take part in the Chesterfield Canal celebrations at Tapton Lock.

Since then, I have watched as the canal has grown with the new Hollingwood Hub, a walk that takes you all the way to Tapton Lock, a marina in the Staveley Basin, and amazing plans in Killamarsh where the canal was to bring regeneration and a new way of canal-side life.

But the High Speed Rail link from London to Leeds (HS2) has put a stop to all of that.

The plans were announced and the route unveiled last month. Since then we have had a chance to look at the details. It has raised more questions than answers.

Canals and railways have traditionally always worked together. Now, for the first time, the railway is working against the canal.

The Chesterfield Canal Trust has already raised its concerns about the accuracy of the information that the engineers have been working on – with roads that don’t exist on the map but parts of the canal that are filled in already, missing from the plans.

The consultation ends next month giving us inadequate time to study the detail – particularly about what the other options were.

The impact of this scheme is felt far and wide. The Sitwell Arms at Renishaw which has only recently been developed and expanded with its fabulous pub, restaurant and wedding fayres, has the line going straight through it.

Many people are uncertain about what will happen to their homes, how close to the line you could or would want to live, what the compensation scheme will provide. But most importantly, a project that is unlikely to bear fruit for 20 years means that already planning permissions will not be granted and houses become difficult to sell. Worst of all is the uncertainty. What if it runs out of money and steam before this stretch is even built?

And why has it been announced now, a full year before expected? Could it be to do with a government needing to demonstrate that it has a strategy for economic growth at any price? With a plan this size, and at such a cost, the detail and the motivation must be correct and beyond reproach. Those people who are affected must be kept properly informed.

Big infrastructure projects can be very exciting, bring jobs and rejuvenate local economies. But done the wrong way, they can have the opposite effect. HS2 is cutting through the canal in Renishaw and Killamarsh. The regeneration that the canal would have brought has gone. Instead, we will have a High Speed train line that won’t even stop here, won’t even stop in Sheffield, but will go to Meadow Hall.

The amount of money it would cost to finish the canal and build the train around it is minimal in comparison with the total cost of the project. That would be an argument I could support – in return for the blight of the train, we get our canal fully restored: local and national economic growth, and perfectly possible.

As it says on the Chesterfield Canal website:

“In 1769, John Varley walked or rode the entire length of the canal before producing a map to show to Parliament. This was for a project expected to cost £95,000. It is a shame that no one seems to have set foot in Staveley for a project expected to cost £33 billion.”

I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

Press Release: Natascha Engel MP concerned about HS2 proposed route

Commenting Natascha Engel said:

“HS2 is an exciting opportunity for investment and jobs, but we need to look at the details to ensure that local communities are as little affected as possible.”

” Like everyone else I have only just seen the details of the proposed route of HS2 and how it will affect North East Derbyshire.   I know that there will be many people within my constituency in areas such as Staveley, Barrow Hill, Mastin Moor, Renishaw and Killamarsh who will be very worried about the proposals.  HS2 is a massive project which will affect not just towns and villages in North East Derbyshire but also the Chesterfield Canal regeneration project. I will be holding consultations in the affected areas to ensure that I can take people’s concerns directly to government.”

STATEMENT ENDS