Article - Mud on the Road

September 07, 2018

Harvil Road is a busy road, home to several heavy industries bringing a constant stream of HGV’s (heavy goods vehicles) for much of the day. It is also a hospital road leading to a life-saving heart hospital in Harefield and well used by the other emergency services. Sadly, this road is notorious as an accident hotspot and fatalities have often prompted campaigners to request a reduction in speed limit. Road safety is of utmost concern to all who use it and should be especially so for the companies who share it.

Not everyone it appears does share this concern and protesters on Harvil Road have regularly witnessed breaches in road safety at the HS2 works entrance (North gate). Almost every day during the Winter, vehicles were seen leaving the compound trailing slippery mud along the road and yes it is still happening to this day. A dangerous activity as the reduction in surface friction causes wheels to lose surface grip and result in loss of vehicle control. Protesters have been documenting these incidents since last year and Louisa Ede, a local business woman has taken up the issue with Hillingdon Council she says, ‘In 2013 I was fined and shut down for a week when the council received a complaint of my vehicles leaving mud on the road. HS2 regularly leaves mud on Harvil road and far worse than in my experience, why is this continuing to happen?’

After raising the matter with the council, a road cleaning unit is now being intermittently deployed but protestors say this is hardly satisfactory when the mud is sometimes left for days on end. HS2 have stated in their own document, Draft Code of Conduct Practice, ‘appropriate wheel cleaning measures will be employed to prevent the transfer and accumulation of mud or other granular deposits on the highways.’ but HS2 are clearly failing to honour this commitment. There are many solutions available such as wheel washing facilities which other companies employ, and it seems unacceptable that so little has been done.

Another hazard frequently observed stems from the ‘illegal driveway’ created by HS2. This illegal driveway could never have obtained planning permission had HS2 been made to apply through the proper channels. On refusal of deliveries at the gate road safety logic would suggest allowing vehicles entry to turn around but they are forced to back out on the bend of the most dangerous part of Harvil road. HS2 security preferring to keep their gates firmly locked. Clearly there is room for improvement!

In addition to communications with Hillingdon Council, protesters have made HS2 well aware by raising these issues in the high court. Road safety evidence was served to HS2’s top international solicitors, Evershed and Sutherland, and witness statements containing evidence were also read out. Failing this the protestors have been directly requesting a road safety meeting with HS2 community liaison representative but four months later they are still waiting.

HS2 subcontractor Murphy ltd are proud to display their latest pledge as “considerate contractors” stating their compliance to certain codes such as ‘Respect the Community and Secure Everyone’s Safety’. But can it be possible to respect a community when the local people do not welcome or want this project; set to destroy their environment, houses and local businesses. And can they really be showing their intentions to ‘securing safety’ when these documented road safety issues have been left to continue?

If you have experienced any problems with HS2 road safety, we would like to hear from you. Come and visit us at the Wildlife Protection Camp on Harvil Road or email us at ‘Local people coming together to stop the madness of HS2.’

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