HS2 will cost the Chilterns £170m...
...and no stops mean no economic benefit either, says new report
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.