CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Days after Article 50, European Union pays for HS2 drilling to begin in Camden

EU 'not in a position to speculate' on whether EU will fund future work on the controversial infrastructure project

06 April, 2017 — By Tom Foot

Diggers working on HS2 in Primrose Hill

ENGINEERS working on the multi-billon pound HS2 rail project have begun drilling 60-feet-deep boreholes across Camden in a programme of works financed by… the European Union.

Days after Article 50 was triggered by Prime Minister Theresa May, the EU’s “Connecting Europe Facility” is funding “ground investigation” works in Swiss Cottage, Primrose Hill and Regent’s Park.

Workers are on sites with humming machinery in Gloucester Avenue, Priory Terrace, Fitzroy Road, Langtry Road, Ainsworth Way, Fellows Road and Loudoun Road.

Anti-HS2 campaigner Martin Sheppard, who lives in Primrose Hill, said: “They are a sort of the harbinger, a gloomy presentiment of what is to come. They are not actually drilling where the tunnel is going to be. It’s a crazy project, and wildly incompetent.”

And fellow anti-HS2 campaigner Jeff Travers, a rail engineer who worked on the Jubilee Line extension, said: “What I have discovered is that this is only phase one of the boreholes. There are going to be many more boreholes to come.”

According to the European Commission, a 40million euros deal was reached between HS2 Ltd and ECF, which aims to fund a “trans-european network” allowing travellers to move more easily from one end of the European Union to the other. European funding for HS2 raised eyebrows among some critics who believe Brussels has strong-armed the British government into keeping HS2 on track.

In a post on its website about parking bay suspensions, HS2 Ltd said: “These ground investigation works are co-financed by the European Union’s Connection Europe Facility.” The Department for Transport said HS2 had won a grant of 39million euros but that “no further funding from EU has been secured.

A European Commission spokesman for Article 50 Negotiations with the United Kingdom said they were “not in a position to speculate” on whether EU would fund future HS2 work.

Scarf protest on HS2 threatened trees

CAMPAIGNERS are knitting scarves for trees that are soon to be axed by HS2.

Dozens of trees will be cut down this summer when St James’s Gardens and Euston Square Gardens are bulldozed to make way for the new high-speed railway terminus in Euston.

Protesters are knitting scarves for trees in the first of a series of direct actions planned for HS2.

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