HS2 will cost the Chilterns £170m...

...and no stops mean no eco­nomic ben­e­fit ei­ther, says new re­port

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by Jack Abell jack.abell@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

Busi­nesses, tourism and ameni­ties will be hit dur­ing and after con­struc­tion

Re­port: tun­nel through to limit im­pact on area of out­stand­ing nat­u­ral beauty

A NEW re­port has re­vealed the scale of the eco­nomic im­pact which HS2 could have on the Chilterns, claim­ing the es­ti­mated cost to the area will be at least £170.4 mil­lion.

Chiltern Dis­trict Coun­cil com­mis­sioned a re­port from Peter Brett As­so­ciates, a de­vel­op­ment and in­fra­struc­ture con­sul­tancy business.

The fin­ished study pre­dicts the im­pact the pro­posed rail line would have on the dis­trict’s busi­nesses, tourism and loss of ameni­ties both dur­ing its con­struc­tion and af­ter­wards.

It also points out that the line would bring no eco­nomic ben­e­fits to the Chilterns, due to the fact that there would be no stop­ping sta­tions in the Chilterns, with the line in­stead plough­ing through the Area of Nat­u­ral Beauty (AONB).

Chair­man of Chal­font St Peter Parish Coun­cil and an­tiHS2 cam­paigner Linda Smith said: “We knew the costs to this area would be high, and it is some­thing that HS2 Ltd have never seemed to take into ac­count.

“There are ab­so­lutely no eco­nomic ben­e­fits to this area what­so­ever from HS2.”

The re­port urges the gov­ern­ment to in­stead tun­nel through the AONB in or­der to min­imise the im­pact that the line will have.

It says: “It is rea­son­able to as­sume that HS2 will gen­er­ate sub­stan­tial gains for ar­eas where there will be a stop­ping sta­tion. But no sta­tion is planned in, or even close to, Chiltern dis­trict, so lo­cal ben­e­fits will be ab­sent.

“The only im­pacts for the dis­trict are there­fore one-sided and neg­a­tive, and this needs to be un­der­stood so that the ap­pro­pri­ate mit­i­ga­tions are put n place.

“The op­tion of tun­nelling through the whole dis­trict, par­tic­u­larly if the tun­nelling route was out­side the dis­trict, would help off­set against the re­ported eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal losses.”

The re­port looks at how busi­nesses op­er­ate in the dis­trict and how the line would af­fect them, as well as added trans­port costs, ex­pected dam­age to roads and the fact that many tourists are likely to be dis­cour­aged from vis­it­ing the area be­cause of HS2.

It says the fig­ure of £170.4m is a ‘con­ser­va­tive as­sess­ment’ and the fi­nal cost to the dis­trict could well be more.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.