Would a new ‘M40’ be worse than HS2?

Chair­man ‘hints’ at threat of mo­tor­way and homes over high speed line

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

CAM­PAIGN­ERS against HS2 have rub­bished claims from the leader of the con­tro­ver­sial project that a new mo­tor­way could be built in the Chilterns if the project was to be scrapped.

Sir David Hig­gins, chair­man of HS2 Ltd, gave an in­ter­view at the week­end in which he im­plied that HS2 be­ing built is pro­tect­ing the Chilterns Area of Nat­u­ral Beauty from the com­bined threats of a new mo­tor­way and from more homes be­ing built.

Sir David told the Sun­day Times: “I went to the Chilterns and I said ‘Do you know what the big­gest threat to the Chilterns is?’ and they said HS2, and I said, ‘No it’s hous­ing’.

He also added: “I drive down the M40 all the time and I think ‘Imag­ine if we have to build another M40’.

How­ever, his com­ments have been dis­missed by op­po­nents of the rail project as scare­mon­ger­ing.

Frank Par­tridge, chair­man of Den­ham Against HS2, said: “I don’t take it se­ri­ously. It came out of left field, and I don’t think I was alone in be­ing as­ton­ished.

“David Hig­gins is not in a po­si­tion to start say­ing we need ex­tra mo­tor­ways.

“This is just a sort of threat and I can’t see that there is any need for a new mo­tor­way or where it would go.”

Sir David’s com­ments were also crit­i­cised by Chiltern Dis­trict coun­cil­lor Nick Rose, who is also the coun­cil’s lead spokesman against HS2.

He said: “Just when you think it can’t get any more far­ci­cal, Sir David Hig­gins says HS2 will pro­tect the green belt, adding that the big­gest threat will be the de­mand for new hous­ing.

“Has any­one thought this one through?

“More than half of HS2’s pas­sage through the Chilterns AONB is built on the sur­face, de­stroy­ing tran­quil coun­try­side and an­cient wood­lands, and wreck­ing vil­lages in the process.”

Sir David’s com­ments came as plans for an HS3 line, link­ing Manch­ester and Leeds were an­nounced, which cam­paign­ers in this area say demon­strate that pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment com­ments about HS2 re­ju­ve­nat­ing the north were false.

They also fol­lowed a YouGov poll, which showed that just 24 per cent of re­spon­dents are in favour of the scheme.

Would you rather have a new mo­tor­way or HS2 run­ning through the Chilterns? Email our let­ters page at buck­snews@trin­i­tysouth.co.uk.

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