I am utterly disappointed and very concerned with the conduct of senior East West Rail Alliance leaders in the past few weeks and months. The Alliance has shown blatant disregard for the safety and wellbeing of my constituents and has refused to engage with the Local Authority on how to mitigate the project’s impact. I am calling on the Alliance and the Department for Transport to recognise in full the damage this project has caused and to make amends as a matter of urgency.
The significant amount of disruption caused by the EWR’s earthworks is far-reaching and, at times, downright dangerous. The Alliance has demonstrated a severe lack of urgency when responding to excessive amounts of mud along the roads leading to/from their compounds, in effect leaving the highway in a hazardous state that threatens the safety of my constituents. Residents of Newton Longville, Steeple Claydon and Verney Junction, have been hit particularly hard – having already suffered through month after month and year after year of continuous disruption to their daily lives. Mud continues to cake the road surface; mile after mile of grass verges have been destroyed by EWR HGVs passing each other on narrow country lanes; several stretches of road are now considered dangerous due to the damage caused by EWR’s construction traffic.
This is unacceptable and cannot go on.
Despite what is clearly an urgent and alarming situation, the Alliance has been unwilling to step up the resources needed to deal with it. It has therefore fallen to the Local Authority and my office to clean up after the Alliance, a perpetual burden which is unwarranted, unnecessary, and unfair. Buckinghamshire Council has been forced to re-direct it’s own resources to dealing with the fallout of the Alliance’s poor conduct; those within the Council who’ve been assigned to pick up the pieces have informed me of the toll it’s taken, with many already having experienced the overwhelming impact of HS2.
To make matters worse, the Alliance has u-turned on it’s willingness to constructively engage with key local stakeholders, including the Council. Representation at critical joint meetings has been patchy and there is a general expectation from the Alliance that we engage on their terms. This is NOT how a major infrastructure project should be managed; standards have slipped considerably, and it is plain for everyone involved to see.
The delivery of East West Rail should not and cannot be conditional on the daily misery suffered by stakeholders, which those overseeing the project have failed to remedy, resulting in blighted communities and an overburdened local authority. The Alliance must step up, engage with us constructively, and put in place measures to prevent any further risk to the safety and wellbeing of my constituents.
Greg Smith MP email@example.com