Starmer calls on HS2 to help residents left with ‘unbearable’ noise and dust
MP raises concerns over conditions in council-owned blocks on top of construction site
27 August, 2020 — By Tom Foot
THE leader of the Labour Party has warned that dust and noise from the HS2 construction site has made living conditions for neighbouring residents “unbearable”.
Sir Keir Starmer was responding to growing concerns about the impact of the £120billion high speed railway works in Euston on three council-owned blocks on the Regent’s Park estate.
The Holborn and St Pancras MP told the New Journal: “Residents in Langdale, Coniston and Cartmel are facing increasing disruption from HS2 works on their doorsteps. For many the dust, noise and other disturbances have made staying at home unbearable, particularly during the pandemic.”
“Failure to properly mitigate the impact on Camden’s residents is untenable if HS2 is to fulfil its stated intention to be a good neighbour. I hope HS2 will respond constructively to the very serious concerns that have been raised.”
Mr Starmer – who has supported the HS2 project nationally – has recently visited the Regent’s Park estate and said he had “raised concerns with Camden Council, HS2 and the Department for Transport on a number of occasions”.
The warning comes as a woman in Langdale – which overlooks the main construction site – contacted the New Journal about her 11-year-old son. He was recently taken to hospital with breathing problems and is wearing a mask indoors because of the dust.
The boy’s mother, who did not want to be named, said: “He had a bump come up on his neck about two months ago and after the biopsy at the Whittington they said it was his glands, and most likely had been made worse by HS2 dust. It has blocked his nose and throat.”
She said she had told her son to wear a mask inside the house now “to limit the dust he is inhaling”.
Last month Sajjad Miah, who lives on the Drummond Street estate, told the New Journal how he had been advised to wear a visor constantly to stop construction dust inflaming his eye condition. Another resident of Langdale, who organised a petition to get residents moved out of the blocks on health and safety grounds, has told how her daughter has been diagnosed with breathing problems in recent months.
Works to build the HS2 railway, between Birmingham and Euston, are not due to be finished in Camden until 2036. So far, the project has demolished three council blocks on the Regent’s Park estate and dozens of buildings to the west of Euston station.
A secondary school has been decanted while the area’s only park, St James Gardens, was closed permanently and estate playgrounds and greens have been swallowed up by the project. Hundreds of residents remaining near the construction site were promised air ventilation units in 2017, but just 11 per cent of the devices have been fitted.
The New Journal has reported that the council is working on a plan to help all tenants in the three blocks move into new homes. An announcement is expected in September.
An HS2 Ltd spokesperson said there are six dust monitors around Regent’s Park estate and if readings get too high “the site teams investigate and works may be halted”, adding: “We have a number of measures in place to minimise disruption for residents near our construction sites. We take all complaints extremely seriously and have an extensive complaints policy and process.”
Camden Cabinet Councillor Danny Beales said: “Residents’ concerns are at the front and centre of our thinking as we push HS2 Ltd to honour their existing commitments and go further to provide protection against noise and dust.”
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