Fears for wildlife as Aylesbury Vale brook is emptied of water

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HS2 has refuted claims its contractors may have siphoned off water from Padbury Brook in recent days.

Buckingham MP Greg Smith has called for an urgent meeting with the firm, due to fears for wildlife in Padbury Brook, after water levels were seen to have dropped dramatically.

But HS2 Ltd says no water has been taken from the brook in the past fortnight – and blamed lack of rainfall for the low water level.

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On Sunday, August 7, Mr Smith wrote on his Facebook page: “I’ve received reports of the Padbury Brook through Steeple Claydon and Twyford having been emptied of water over the past few days.

The dried-up brook at TwyfordThe dried-up brook at Twyford
The dried-up brook at Twyford

"It is understandable that, with HS2’s intense operations in the area, my constituents are deeply concerned at the possibility that site personnel may have siphoned off water from the brook for use in their own compounds.”

He told the Bucks Herald: “This is unacceptable but not surprising. My constituency has already been hit hard by HS2 so this further revelation is just beyond disappointing.

"It is bad enough that my constituents do not benefit from this project - the least that can be done is that there is as little disruption to their community as possible.”

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He has asked HS2 project managers to meet with him urgently and review the situation, and thanked local residents and councillors for alerting him to this situation.

Greg Smith MP at Padbury BrookGreg Smith MP at Padbury Brook
Greg Smith MP at Padbury Brook

But HS2 says it is not currently taking any water from the brook and added that the primary cause of the low water level in the brook - in line with other watercourses across the south east of England - is the lack of rainfall.

An HS2 Ltd spokesperson said: “We take our environmental responsibilities seriously and all our activity is carried out with the relevant permissions.

"While the vast majority of water used on HS2 sites comes from other sources, we do have approval from the Environment Agency to take a limited amount of water from Padbury Brook each day.

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"This is carefully monitored and we stopped taking water from the brook almost two weeks ago.”

The company added that water for activities such as washing wheels and reducing dust, which the local community say are important for them, is currently being brought to site by road.