HS2 campaigners prepare to show their tunnel vision
Protesters switch focus to limiting the damage of rail line
ANTI-HS2 campaigners are preparing to step up their fight for an extended tunnel under the Chilterns.
The battle to save the countryside has switched from calling for the project to be completely scrapped to limiting the damage to the Chilterns if it goes ahead.
HS2 Ltd intends to tunnel under some of the Bucks countryside, between Chalfont St Peter and Amersham, but campaigners want this extended much further.
Denham-based campaigners want the tunnel to go under the whole of the Colne Valley and Amersham-based campaigners want it extended under Amersham Great Missenden before emerging near Wendover.
The government dismissed the calls as too costly.
Early next year a crossparty parliamentary select committee will visit Buckinghamshire to look at the areas that will be affected by building work
and in the first phase of the line.
Councils, groups and neighbours will then have the chance to make their cases to committee members. Although they will not be able to argue that HS2 should be scrapped altogether, protesters will be able to say how their homes and livelihoods will be affected, and suggest how the impact of the project could be mitigated.
Chief among these mitigation arguments is tunnelling HS2 under the Chilterns Area of Natural Beauty to preserve as much of it as possible.
HS2 Amersham Action Group’s Stan Mason said: “It’s a very important time for us. It’s our chance to convince the government to make changes.”
He added: “The point about tunnelling will be one of the main
It’s a very important time for us. It’s our chance to convince the government to make changes”
arguments being put forward. If that ends up happening then the impact on this area will be much less.”
Community groups and Bucks County Council have already offered advice to people who will be presenting to the select committee, to ensure their arguments are as effective as possible, and that people are fully prepared for the meeting and know what to expect.
An announcement on the date of the committee’s visit to Bucks is expected after the Christmas break.