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Oct 10, 2019
Category: HS2
Posted by: Kathryn

Affinity Water have made an application to allow an increase in abstraction near Watford - to cover the possibility of HS2 damaging the aquifer by tunneling.

Oct 2, 2019
Category: Pollution
Posted by: Kathryn

Following heavy rain, Thames Water's Chesham Sewage Treatment Works discharged sewage into the river on the 24th September.

Sep 19, 2019
Category: HS2
Posted by: Kathryn

With HS2 under review, please contact your MP if you have concerns about this project and its impact on our local rivers.

Jul 18, 2019
Category: Drought
Posted by: Kathryn

Please write to your MP before the 22nd July to encourage them to attend the House of Commons debate on the plight of chalk streams.

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HS2: Have Your Say

Sep 19, 2019

Category: HS2
Posted by: Kathryn

There is a current review into the High Speed Rail 2 project chaired by Doug Oakervee; there is a chance the project could be stopped, please make your feelings known to your local MP's, on the Chess that would be Dame Cheryl Gillan and Mr David Gauke.

There are a number of issues concerning the HS2 project; we do have major reservations about the potential damage to the aquifer that supplies our drinking water and the water for the River Chess. As we are all painfully aware, we are in a water stressed catchment, which has been compounded by three successive dry winters and an ever increasing demand for water. The Chess is running dry, we have had drying events in Chesham every Autumn since 2015, some lasting over a year. We read in the Affinity Water "Water Resource Management Plan" that HS2 require up to 6 mega litres per day of water during the development phase. As yet we have been unable to ascertain where this water is coming from, we have been told by Affinity that they will not be supplying this and the Environment Agency have told us they will not approve additional abstraction from the over-abstracted Colne Catchment, of which the Chess is a part. So where will this monumental volume of water to come from? To put this into perspective that would be two hundred road tankers per day, over 8 deliveries an hour or one every 7 minutes. We have asked HS2 Limited for an answer, as yet, no reply. If there is the remotest chance that this supply is to come from a catchment impacting on the stressed Chiltern chalk streams it will be time to consult the lawyers.

The other major concern is the impact that tunnelling and drilling works will have on the aquifer. We have had many discussions with HS2 on this matter and they have failed to provide evidence that their activity is risk free when it comes to the aquifer. More importantly they have failed to persuade Affinity Water and the Ministry for Transport of this either, as can be seen from the indemnity that was put in place back in 2016. We sent a letter to the then Minister Chris Grayling as recently as 24th June 2019; this was re-sent to Grant Shapps, the current Minister for Transport, as recently as the 21st August 2019. We have asked the Minister to extend the indemnity granted to Affinity Water to all stakeholders in the Rivers Chess and Misbourne catchments. We have not had a response to either of these communications. There is a real risk that the aquifer that feeds the Chess and the Misbourne could be permanently damaged by the work carried out by HS2. Once damage is done it will be close to impossible to rectify the problem. We understand that the Environment Agency have not yet approved the tunnelling element of this project, we have urged them to resist pressure from Government and do the job they are mandated to carry out and protect the environment.

We also note that Government see this indemnity as a liability estimated at £77 million but we also note it does not appear to be limited to this amount. The duration of the liability is scheduled to last for 4 years from 2017 to 2021, we would assume that as the project has been delayed Affinity Water will be looking to extend the time period beyond 2021, which is fast approaching. If this is the case we would suggest this would be a good time for Government to extend the indemnity to all stakeholders.