CAMPAIGNERS determined for the high speed rail line to be tunnelled under Ealing have questioned claims that it would 'cost too much'.
A freedom of information (FOI) request by Ealing Labour to HS2 Ltd revealed estimates for a tunnel would cost an additional £360million - just over one per cent of the overall £32billion cost.
The overground route through the borough would already cost £800m.
Current proposals see the line tunnelled from Euston to a new interchange at Old Oak Common and from Northolt to West Ruislip, excluding residential areas in North Acton, Perivale, Greenford and Northolt.
Ealing Council’s transport leader, Bassam Mahfouz, said the lack of detail in the breakdown of figures shows HS2 has ‘never seriously considered what would be the best option for Ealing’.
And he will now challenge the company on the estimates on behalf of residents who face losing their homes and noise pollution from the 250kph trains.
He said: “We don’t know if they’ve included savings from not having to buy people’s homes, close and rebuild bridges and the traffic chaos the building works will cause. Even if this estimate turns out to be accurate, £360m represents one per cent of the cost of HS2. Residents in Ealing should be entitled to the same protection from this project as residents elsewhere in London.”
Perivale resident and chairman of North Ealing Against HS2, Alex Nieora, also criticised the Department for Transport this week for ignoring households in Ealing, when transport bosses have found £50m for a 2.7mile-long tunnel in Ruislip and £500m for a tunnel through the Chilterns.
“HS2 is the biggest threat to people’s homes, families and quality of life in north Ealing since the A40 was widened in the 1970s,” he said. “The DfT says that a tunnel under residential areas of north Ealing would be too expensive, conveniently ignoring that a tunnel would cost about a small per cent of the overall cost.
“An admission that while wealthy rural areas are protected, less affluent areas with a far greater population density don’t matter.”
He added: “Homes will be demolished and bridges replaced at Hanger Lane gyratory. Ancient Perivale Wood and our natural heritage risks being drowned out by the noise and retired folk will be unable to sit in their gardens or open windows. All this could be avoided with a tunnel.”
To support and stay informed with the campaign contact Mr Nieora at email@example.com.