On this rather overcast morning, I was pleased to be invited to HS2’s South Portal site to see the progress of the Colne Valley viaduct that will impact many of my constituents who often drive around the Western most part of my constituency.
This visit was arranged by the team at HS2 who are keen to ensure that we understand any impacts caused by the large infrastructure project. I was interested to visit the site to see the recently launched bridge building machine which will create the UK’s longest railway bridge. As part of this process, I am mindful that roads will have to be temporarily closed to allow for the safe construction of the viaduct. I was keen to see how Align and HS2 will minimise the impact of the work and work with the community to ensure they have a say in any impact caused.
I was grateful that I was shown the full extent of the site from the Chiltern Tunnels to the temporary pontoons that have been constructed to aid the work being done on the River Colne. I have been assured that while the work may look extensive, the impact of the work on the natural wildlife will be minimal and there is no risk to the quality of the water in the Colne Valley. This is of particular concern to a number of local residents who have raised their concerns with me in the past. This is also reassuring as, along with other local MPs, I campaign to ensure that the Colne Valley gains further protections in the future.
The team at the site explained how the work will progress over the coming months and the how they have been using local forums to address the many concerns that my constituents have with the project. I have always been keen to raise my personal concerns and the concerns of those constituents who have contacted me about the Colne Valley work or the West Ruislip site. This is of course ongoing work but as we approach the launch of the Tunnel Boring Machines at West Ruislip, I stand ready to raise local concerns directly with HS2.