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Author Topic: Chiltern Evergreen 3 project - ongoing discussion  (Read 262618 times)
Btline
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« on: November 16, 2011, 04:12:40 pm »

I wish I could read this article. However, it looks as if the current plans have been rejected. Shocked

http://www.planningresource.co.uk/Development_Control/login/1104575/
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Timmer
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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2011, 04:16:32 pm »

Hopefully ChrisB will be able to find out something and report back.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2011, 04:18:44 pm »

By the Inspector only. The Secretary of State can however make her own mind up.

That article rewads (free registration!) -

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The inspector recommended that the Chiltern Railways order - which would involve constructing a new railway line to connect the Oxford-Bicester line to the Bicester-London line - should not be made because of bat roosts in Wolvercote Tunnel in Oxford.
The inspector concluded that the tunnel was used for "swarming, commuting, foraging and a temporary roost site" and that the proposed scheme in the tunnel would "change conditions in the tunnel" because of works to lower the floor and relay the tracks.
He also said that, following the work, more trains would pass through the tunnel at higher speeds and that the scheme, without mitgation, would be likely to "damage or destroy a breeding site or resting place used by bats".
But the inspector said that Chiltern Railways proposed mitigation measure "in the form of a lighting installation to sweep the tunnel clear of flying bats before each train arrived was an innovative one".
However, he added that there was no evidence that the measure had been used successfully elsewhere.
The Department for Transport said the secretary of state would be "minded to make the order and give the planning direction" if Chiltern Railways was introduce appropriate mitigation measures.

The inspector noted in his report that there was a strong need to increase rail capacity in the Oxford to London corridor as overcrowding on peak trains was common.


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ChrisB
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« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2011, 04:20:58 pm »

Further.....

Chiltern are already on the case as per this 'bat news' from October re the Wolvercote tunnel.

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Bat traffic lights
 
Chiltern Railways has set up an innovative new lighting trial to protect bats using Wolvercote railway tunnel and this story was in the Metro, the Telegraph, Oxford Mail and the Mirror. The trial is part of our plans to upgrade the Oxford to Bicester line and will examine how lights in the tunnel might be used to alert bats and get them out of the way when a train is approaching.
 
Our initial research shows that bats mostly use the tunnel as a flight corridor. In addition, up to 19 bats have been recorded roosting in the tunnel, but it is not a breeding site. Whilst the bats are clearly not disturbed by the trains that already use the tunnel, the project is designed to help protect them in future.
 
The work will involve installing 25 lighting units in the tunnel and is designed to replicate train frequencies during one of the longest nights of the year, 31st October, when bats are at their most active. As part of the system, approaching trains would trigger the tunnel lights prior to their arrival, prompting the bats to take up a safe, static position in the roosting crevices at the side of the tunnel. 
 
Alongside installation work, including before and after surveys of the tunnel, the trial itself will take place over four consecutive nights between 23.00 and 05.00. Its aim is to gather evidence on the system^s effectiveness as a means of protecting roosting bats.

This, I surmise, is why there's been no decision since the Inspector reported at the end of July. The SoS has to announce a decision by the end of January.

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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2011, 06:34:22 pm »

I'm sure that this will not cause the scheme to collapse.  It would be batty if it did {cough}.
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To view my cab run over the new Reading Viaduct as well as a relief line cab ride at Reading just after Platforms 12-15 opened and my 'before and after' video comparison of the Cotswold Line Redoubling scheme, see: http://www.dailymotion.com/user/IndustryInsider/1
paul7755
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« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2011, 06:58:35 pm »

The actual report and the SofS's 'not yet in a position to decide' letter are on the DfT page:

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Summary of Secretary of State^s views
6. For the reasons explained in this letter, the Secretary of State considers that she is not yet in a position to decide whether to accept the Inspector^s recommendations.
However, if Chiltern were able to overcome the impediment to implementation of the scheme identified by the Inspector, she would be minded to make the Order and give the planning direction. This letter invites Chiltern to inform the Secretary of State of progress since the close of the inquiry in agreeing with Natural England mitigation measures for species protected under the Habitats Regulations.

http://www.dft.gov.uk/publications/twa-10-app-01/
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Btline
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« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2011, 10:44:36 pm »

Obviously, the protected status of bats should be taken very seriously. But I fail to see the severity on existing infrastructure. If this was due to the new chord bulldozing through a habitat, I would sympathise, but this is an existing tunnel.

Isn't this line due to be part of EWR as well? So will this stall those plans - no-one mentioned it in the recent debate in parliament. A few bats could de-rail a large rail project.

Could the bats be moved?
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2011, 10:38:30 am »

I would be surprised, no, amazed, if a compromise can't be reached, especially given Teresa Villiers open comments on the link in the East-West Rail 30-minute debate a couple of days ago - she must be aware of the current situation.
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To view my cab run over the new Reading Viaduct as well as a relief line cab ride at Reading just after Platforms 12-15 opened and my 'before and after' video comparison of the Cotswold Line Redoubling scheme, see: http://www.dailymotion.com/user/IndustryInsider/1
gwr2006
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« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2011, 10:58:41 am »

No...don't beleive all you read in the press

The Inspector^s report and the letter from the Secretary of State^s recording her views on the report are now published on the DfT website.

http://www.dft.gov.uk/publications/twa-20111115

The Secretary of State writes that she is minded to give permission for the Evergreen 3 proposals to run an Oxford to London Marylebone via Bicester train service.

However, this is subject to Chiltern and Natural England being able to agree the necessary mitigation measures for the bats in Wolvercot Tunnel.  The Secretary of State has given the two parties until the 13th December to agree a detailed way forward and subject to this being achieved she will then sign the TWA order by the 20th January 2012.

It should be noted that the Inspector had recommended, despite its many benefits, that the scheme be refused because of the bat issue.

Based on this, Chiltern Railways have said that many of the trade press are starting to report that the scheme has been refused.  However, his decision has effectively been over-ruled as long as a solution can be agreed with Natural England.

Roll on 2014 - a year late but it's coming!

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eightf48544
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« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2011, 11:03:04 am »

But surely there are already trains going through the tunnel! Both passenger and freight.
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Oxman
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« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2011, 12:33:32 pm »

Yes, there are trains using the tunnel at present, but low frequency and low speed.

The Chiltern service would see high frequency and much higher speeds, and that is where the problem is perceived to be.
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Gordon the Blue Engine
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« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2011, 04:22:43 pm »

It's absolutely ridiculous that the presence of bats should have any effect on improvements to the country's infrastructure.  There are far too many of them all ready - it's not as if they are in danger of extinction.  And they leave a mess if you are unfortunate to have them in your house/garage/church etc.

We're mad to put the needs of bats above the needs of people.
 
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paul7755
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« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2011, 05:46:36 pm »

No...don't beleive all you read in the press
The Inspector^s report and the letter from the Secretary of State^s recording her views on the report are now published on the DfT website.

I had already posted all this if you'd read back a bit...

Paul
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2011, 09:05:01 pm »

From the Oxford Mail:

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Wildlife could halt ^130m Oxford train link

A new ^130m Rail service from Oxford to London Marylebone is not being approved by a planning inspector because of bats in Wolvercot Tunnel.

The risk of harming bats and great crested newts has presented a major obstacle to the Evergreen 3 scheme to create a fast Oxford-Bicester-London service.

Commuters had been looking forward to a new service within three years following a public inquiry into the scheme.

But we have learnt that the inspector has withheld approval from Chiltern Railways^ scheme because of the impact on the bats who use Wolvercot tunnel on their travels around North Oxford and Wolvercote.

The inspector said the bats also used the tunnel for roosts, commuting and foraging. And he warned more trains travelling at higher speed would put bats at risk and make the tunnel unusable.

Chiltern Railways had proposed a new light system to be installed for the first time in the UK to make sure bats get a warning about trains rumbling through. But the inspector says there is no evidence that it had been used successfully elsewhere.

The inspector also said that no scheme had been agreed by Chiltern Railways and Natural England to mitigate harm that would be caused to a nearby habitat of great crested newts.

With the inspector^s report still to be published, Transport Secretary Justine Greening has stepped in, urging Chiltern and Natural England to find a speedy solution.

A Department of Transport letter sent parties at the inquiry said: ^We are not in a position to decide whether to accept the inspector^s recommendations and invite Chiltern and Natural England to advise us of progress in their discussions since the inquiry on necessary licences in respect of bats and great crested newts, which would also be affected by the scheme.^

The letter said if measures to protect these species were agreed the Transport Secretary would ^be minded to approve the scheme^. Chiltern Railways and Natural England were given four weeks to respond.

Chiltern Railways expressed confidence that the issue could be quickly resolved. Allan Dare, strategic development manager, said: ^The Secretary of State is satisfied that there is a compelling need to increase rail capacity between Oxford and London and that the scheme will bring substantial transportation benefits. Discussions with Natural England are now at an advanced stage; we hope to complete these shortly.^

Jonathan Gittos, of the Engage Oxford group, which raised residents^ concerns about noise and vibrations from the new speed service, said: ^This has come as a great surprise. It seems a completely mad world when the inspector seems to pay more attention to the needs of bats and newts than people.^

But he said some of the residents^ noise concerns seemed to have been taken on board by the inspector. The report will impose planning conditions to ensure ^noise and vibrations are kept to acceptable limits".
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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
ChrisB
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« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2011, 09:39:38 pm »

Define "acceptable limits". I can see another fight by them later.

The Inspector was more worried over the works in the tunnel, too, with all the works trains passing through too
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