Wendover Parish Council shares several concerns about HS2 work in the area

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Tom Walsh, Chairman of Wendover Parish Council has shared several concerns about HS2's work in the area.

The concerns centre around HS2's use of Bentonite in a production unit just south of Wendover.

Bentonite is a type of clay that swells and gels when dispersed in water. It acts like a liquid when agitated or stirred and like a solid when left at rest.

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Mr Walsh said: "Bentonite is to be used to lubricate and to seal the deep (50 metre) excavations necessary to build the foundations for the Small Dean viaduct.

Several concerns have been raised about HS2 in the local areaSeveral concerns have been raised about HS2 in the local area
Several concerns have been raised about HS2 in the local area

"HS2/EKFB have had it pointed out to them that many residents and farmers in the area draw water from boreholes.

"There is a danger of contamination.

"Network Rail guidance regarding Bentonite is clear. It must not be allowed into drains and watercourses."

As “mud”, it is used as a lubricant when drilling or pipe pushing and as “slurry” it is used to fill and support the sides of excavations during the construction of diaphragm walls, cut off walls, or piles.

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Parish Council Chairman Tom Walsh (centre)Parish Council Chairman Tom Walsh (centre)
Parish Council Chairman Tom Walsh (centre)

Liquid bentonite is highly polluting and if it enters watercourses or drains it can cause damage to plants and animals in watercourse.

There are also concerns about diverting water from the Coombe Hill aquifer, which could potentially cause flooding.

Mr Walsh said: "To construct the railway past Wendover in the way that HS2 proposes, they have to deal with the substantial volume of water generated by the Coombe Hill aquifer.

"The current state of play is that HS2/ EKFB is running to catch up with it’s belated ground investigation programme.

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"Our hydrogeologist has repeatedly pointed out to them that the risk of causing flooding downstream, by diverting water that currently flows into the Wendover Arm canal and the SSSI at Weston Turville, is a very real one.

"Areas affected by this flood risk include Stoke Mandeville and Fairford Leas."

To make matters worse, Wendover residents have been alleging 'heavy handed security methods' are being employed, and security staff at the sites are being 'aggressive' to residents who are simply trying to find their way around the new layouts in the area.

HS2 were given two days to respond, but failed to do so.