Sig­nif­i­cant year in fight against HS2

Com­mit­tee visit and gen­eral elec­tion will be piv­otal to cam­paign

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

THE next year will be a key time in the bat­tle against HS2 in Bucks, cam­paign­ers say.

It has been an­nounced that a cross-party se­lect com­mit­tee of MPs will visit Bucks on Jan­uary 15 to look at the ar­eas which will be most af­fected when work be­gins on the first phase of build­ing the line.

There will also be the chance for in­di­vid­u­als, groups and coun­cils in Bucks to make pre­sen­ta­tions to the com­mit­tee to ex­plain their main con­cerns and to state the need for the im­pact of the project to be mit­i­gated.

Pro­test­ers against the line are in the process of pre­par­ing their pre­sen­ta­tions and say that the com­ing months could be cru­cial in the fight.

Hi­lary Wharf, di­rec­tor of the Amer­sham based HS2 Ac­tion Al­liance said: “It’s a very im­por­tant time, un­doubt­edly. We need to make sure that our points are made as clearly as pos­si­ble to the se­lect com­mit­tee, and to make sure that they un­der­stand just how much im­pact the project is go­ing to have.

“We want them to see ar­eas like Man­tles Wood [in Amer­sham], which could be dec­i­mated if the plans stay as they are.

“We also need to stress the need for a tun­nel un­der­neath the whole of the Area of Nat­u­ral Beauty.”

The se­lect com­mit­tee is sched­uled to tour Bucks for one day, look­ing at the ar­eas most af­fected, but cam­paign­ers, as well as Bucks County Coun­cil, want this to be ex­tended to three days, say­ing that there is far too much to see.

Frank Par­tridge, chair­man of Den­ham Against HS2, said: “In this area, there are places like Savay Lake, the Hilling­don Out­door Ac­tiv­ity Cen­tre and the Colne Val­ley Park to look at, and then there are so many places in the Chilterns and beyond that.

“I can’t see how it can be done in one day, so we think it’s re­ally im­por­tant that the visit is ex­tended.

“It’s a very big year. It’s some­thing that we’ve been pre­par­ing for.

“The other im­por­tant point is that there will be a gen­eral elec­tion after which the whole po­lit­i­cal land­scape of the coun­try could change, so it could re­ally be a key time for HS2.”

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