Councillor Danny Beales: Holding them to account


Twitter: @dannybeales

Councillor Danny Beales’ letter to the Camden New Journal about Camden Council’s efforts to hold HS2 Ltd to account for the impact of construction works on local residents. The full letter is below:

As if we weren’t bad enough living through a pandemic with a construction site on their doorstep, residents at the Regent’s Park Estate have also had to endure construction disruption while following government advice to stay home and save lives. 

We have been clear from the start that HS2 has to take responsibility for the impact they have on our residents who live nearest the construction and we’ve consistently lobbied HS2 to take action.

One of the key mitigations we secured from the government was a commitment to provide noise insulation for 1,300 properties. HS2 had three years to complete this scheme before main works commenced, yet it has only installed the full package of measures in 22per cent of these properties.

Residents should not be subjected to harmful noise and dust from construction while spending more of their days at home, nor with increasing summer temperatures and this is simply unacceptable. We will be contacting all the residents of those blocks to discuss the issues they face.

I wrote to Mark Thurston, HS2’s chief executive, on this point specifically last week urging them to resume the noise insulation programme immediately and prioritise protecting residents, particularly those living in the Cartmel, Coniston and Langdale blocks. Residents have already been exposed to nearly a year of demolition works without the protections they were promised.

Our pest control team have increased their visits to the Langdale block because of the impacts of construction, which has displaced rats to nearby areas. We’re also working with HS2 on additional rat-baiting measures in the vicinity of the site boundary, including in Regent’s Park Estate.

Going forward, we must have greater transparency from HS2. We need clear timelines and increased resources to complete the insulation programme. We’ve been pressing HS2 and their contractor to share more detail around their programme for residents in these blocks, but they’ve dragged their heels in sharing the information. As this becomes clearer, we will continue to push HS2 Ltd for any additional measures needed to support our residents. We also call for them to pay for their assessment of impacts to be independently assessed by noise and dust pollution experts.

The HS2 project is now proceeding in a vastly different climate to previously, and it should not be restarting works without adaptions to mitigate the impacts on the local community.

 We’ve stood by our residents from the very start, and we will continue to do so by holding HS2 to account on their promises.

Cllr Danny Beales is Cabinet Member for Investing in Communities and a Inclusive Economy at Camden Council.