How we will care for the environment

Our plans for the future of Hampton Kempton Waterworks Railway (HKWR) involve an extension across unspoilt land-The South Field Diversion and the reinstatement of the original track from near Bunny Lane down to the terminus at Hydes Field.

The scheme will be built with due regard for the following criteria:

1. Sustainability

The scheme will be completed using environmental design policies and its benefits in accordance with PPG and Hounslow Council sustainable design policies and guidance. Furthermore, the impacts of the scheme are considered small and very local, given the nature of the scheme, the site setting and the careful attention to assessing the environmental source, pathways and receptors and resultant pragmatic and sustainable design input. The scheme is, in effect, a re-use of an existing and previously developed route which is now an inaccessible area. In terms of other sustainability criteria, as an example, materials will be chosen based on the highest sustainability credentials (i.e. as local as is feasible to minimise transport costs) and as “lifetime inert” as is feasible. In terms of operation, the management already have a sustainability strategy to minimise resource usage and maximise recycling and re-use.

2. Energy usage

There will be very few buildings and they will all be built using low impact materials. As an example, the carriage shed will be an unheated industrial construction and will be constructed using the highest sustainable material as is feasible and commensurate with the operation requirements of scale and sensitivity of the scheme. The stations at Bunny Lane and Hydes Field will use sustainable low maintenance and inert materials with colours chosen to blend in with the surroundings.

3. Noise

The railway will be constructed on empty scrubland or old railway tracks, proximate to large national transport infrastructure (A316 and SWT line to Shepperton. There are no residences within several hundred metres. Note: the closest receptor would be the station at Hydes Field/Oldfield Road; this is not a sensitive receptor and has likely ambient noise levels that exceed those generated by the scheme. The station is also next to a business park.

4. Air quality

The railway will be built in either areas adjacent to large transport infrastructure with likely poor air quality or restricted access areas which have potentially “good” air quality The railway is primarily weekend activity only, and trains are isolated and infrequent.

5. Amenity value

The railway will be a community attraction which will enhance biodiversity and increase access to nature areas.   It is designed for families undertaking a trip through currently inaccessible rural areas and will enhance the amenity of the site.

6. Wildlife protection

The railway will be built in phases, and for each phase we will be surveying the area to make sure we are not damaging any important habitats. An overall phase 1 habitat survey has been undertaken for the whole length of the track for areas that are accessible; this enabled us to assess the likely sensitive receptors and precautionary approach required given the nature of the works. Following that initial survey, we will undertake phased surveys for each phase.

7. Ecology report

A detailed ecology report will be made at appropriate stages

– Land contamination

A full Phase 1 Desk Study / Ground Contamination Risk Assessment report will be undertaken. The site includes land that is either undeveloped scrub land or old railway track. The railway track section has been tested for any dangerous contaminants and found to be clear of any residual contamination from its previous use.

8. Landscaping statement

The construction of the railway will involve the construction of several embankments. Given the site setting, these will not have any aesthetic impacts on sensitive receptors and will be designed to ultimately enhance the route, and an opportunity taken to increase the biodiversity of the area without increasing flood risk where they are within the floodplain or proximate to watercourses. The embankments will be appropriately engineered to industry standards.

– Outline construction statement with deviations

A method statement for the key engineered and design elements will be included in the application and, as appropriate, a more detailed design provided as part of technical assessments (e.g. the flood risk) as is appropriate and to levels of detail commensurate with the scale and sensitivity of the scheme.

– Traffic and transport

The expansion will not involve any changes to statutory roads or transport infrastructure. Access to the railway site is via a private road not carrying through traffic. We have access to 120 spaces of car parking which is considered appropriate to the restricted visitor numbers that can be managed, even after the expansion.

 – Signage

The scheme will be designed as an integrated project, drawing on the expertise of local knowledge, the historical significance of the site and operation, and will continue the educational approach to the operation by the applicants. The applicant will also work in collaboration with the council (e.g.  ecology and conservation officers) to maximise the information available, for example, in design and content of interpretation boards at the site and information sources.

9. Flood Risk Assessment and Drainage

A full detailed PPG compliant Flood Risk Assessment and drainage strategy is a result of the collaboration with the flood risk consultant, Environment Agency, project engineers, project ecology consultants and landscape designers. The FRA is fully PPG, London Plan and Hounslow council policy and guidance compliant. The FRA has provided a detailed site-specific design input to ensure the scheme reduces flood risk overall where feasible; this is a key aspiration of PPG and Hounslow guidance. The report concludes that the scheme can be constructed and operated safely, without increasing flood risk elsewhere, rather reducing flood risk overall and increasing environmental benefit. It is therefore considered appropriate in flood risk terms in accordance with the PPG.

10. Recycling / Living and Dead Hedging

At HKWR we have built a dead hedge. As the railway strives to be as green and eco-friendly as possible, our volunteers built this beautiful structure out of pruned branches, green cuttings, and overgrowth, gathered from around the railway track. The hedge provides a natural habitat for small mammals, birds and insects and cost HKWR virtually nothing to build. This is the first of our living and dead hedge initiative and our hope is it will contribute to the area’s conservation, especially with the railway being so near to the Thames Water Kempton Nature Reserve, a site of special scientific interest.