HS2 will be tunnelled under Ruislip, according to new maps published by the Department for Transport.

In a statement prior to her speech to the House of Commons, transport secretary Justine Greening explained that she had decided to make changes to the £32billion route after the strong responses received during the five-month consultation period last year.

The new maps, available here , show that a 2.75-mile tunnel would be constructed from Northolt, under Ruislip, to Ickenham, just west of West Ruislip Station. A tunnel shaft is planned for the Express Dairy site in Victoria Road.

Ms Greening said: "People living along the line of route highlighted particular concerns and provided constructive and thoughtful comments about the London to West Midlands route proposed at consultation.

"Following careful study by my engineers I can announce a package of alterations to further reduce the routes impacts.

"The changes mean that more than half the route will now be mitigated by tunnel or cutting and there will also be a reduction in the impacts on people and communities, ancient woodlands and important heritage sites."

The news comes as a surprise because the idea of tunnelling at this point of the route was dismissed by the previous transport secretary, Philip Hammond, as "too expensive" in December 2010.

However, Harefield has not been spared and the dreaded Colne Valley Viaduct still appears in the DfT's updated drawings published for the first time today (Tuesday).

Despite these revelations, Hillingdon Against HS2 has vowed to carry on fighting the route, because of the disruption to the area the tunnels would cause during the long period of construction.

Keri Brennan, chairman of the umbrella campaign group, said: "That the government has decided to tunnel the section of the route through Ruislip is good news for people who faced losing their homes and gardens and we are proud we have got local voices heard through our campaign.

"However, this is not something to be grateful for  the route should never have been designed without one. Additionally tunnels have their own problems which we will now study in great detail and some homes will still be lost as 'air-vents'.

"For residents in other areas of Hillingdon they face terrible losses of homes, green spaces and noise pollution as well as construction chaos.

"We also continue to wait for the plans for the Heathrow Spur that the government chose to delay and not include in the consultation.

"We will continue to fight this scheme on behalf of local residents and on behalf of all British tax-payers."

Links:

http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/hs2-maps-20120110/hs2arp00drrw05004issue3.pdf  

http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/hs2-maps-20120110/hs2arp00drrw05005issue3.pdf  

http://www.dft.gov.uk/publications/hs2-maps-20120110/  

See Wednesday's Uxbridge Gazette for more detail and reaction to today's HS2 developments.