Following my visit to the Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre in Harefield in May, I wrote to Andrew Stephenson, Minister of State for Transport, about the adverse effects caused by the nearby construction of HS2.
The Dogs Trust have continued to provide an exemplary service under extraordinary circumstances as they faced the challenges of the pandemic. However, I explained that the full extent of the damage has become very clear, as the work associated with HS2 is having a detrimental impact on the welfare of dogs in care, resulting in a wing of the rehoming centre having to be closed.
I asked the Minister to work with the charity to mitigate further disturbance so that their work to protect the wellbeing of animals can continue.
I have now received a response with assurances that HS2 are continuing to actively engage with the Dogs Trust in Harefield to identify solutions that are right for them to ensure that disruption is minimised.
I understand that the case now sits with HS2’s Special Cases Panel, “which oversees and manages the assessment of cases that, because of their unique circumstances, are not fully protected by standard policies for the alleviation of construction impacts. The Panel considers the individual circumstances of each case in order to decide whether any alternative mitigation or other reasonable adjustment should be offered.”
The Panel’s conclusions have not yet been drawn, and so I will await the outcome. However, I will continue to press HS2 and the Minister to ensure that this is not simply rhetoric and that we gain some meaningful assurances for the Dogs Trust and other parts of the community impacted by the works.
The Minister's response can be found below.