‘Bury HS2, not our beau­ti­ful scenery’

Cam­paign­ers urge for project to be scrapped or con­sider a tun­nel

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

HS2 PRO­TEST­ERS are send­ing a strong mes­sage to the Gov­ern­ment over the multi-bil­lion pound project – bury it.

A huge new cam­paign has been launched in the run up to May’s elec­tions which urges politi­cians to ei­ther scrap HS2 or tun­nel it un­der the whole of the Chilterns.

MPs will visit the Chilterns in May fol­low­ing the gen­eral elec­tion. They will send find­ings to the gov­ern­ment to con­sider when plan­ning the next move over HS2.

Cam­paign­ers are plan­ning key in­for­ma­tion ses­sions to in­form peo­ple in the area of the need for a tun­nel, and the benefits it would en­tail.

To­day (Thurs­day) Chiltern Dis­trict Coun­cil, along with Bucks County Coun­cil, the Chilterns Con­ser­va­tion Board and Ayles­bury Vale Dis­trict Coun­cil, will un­veil al­ter­na­tive plans to tun­nel un­der the whole of the Chilterns at a press con­fer­ence in Lon­don. Bucks MP Ch­eryl Gil­lan will also at­tend.

Ac­tion groups from around Bucks will stage a public in­for­ma­tion day on Satur­day April 11, where they will dis­cuss the dif­fer­ent tun­nelling op­tions.

Chris Wil­son, of the HS2 Amer­sham Ac­tion Group, and one of the or­gan­is­ers of the April 11 event, said: “We want peo­ple to re­alise that there is still a fight to be won.

“We are in a sit­u­a­tion where we are fac­ing los­ing our Area of Nat­u­ral Beauty, which is a real jewel in the crown, not just for the Chilterns but for the UK.

“Once that has been lost or dam­aged, it won’t be com­ing back. We have to fight to pro­tect that and do what­ever we can to keep it.”

The event will go ahead at Amer­sham Free Church Hall in Wood­side Road from 11am on­wards, and will give peo­ple the chance to drop by and speak to peo­ple in­clud­ing HS2 Ac­tion Al­liance direc­tor Hi­lary Wharf, as well as rep­re­sen­ta­tives of groups such as the Chiltern So­ci­ety and other cam­paign­ers. Mr Wil­son said: “The fight against HS2 has not gone away. This is an in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant time and we be­lieve we can make a dif­fer­ence to what hap­pens to this area.”

de­stroyed and threat­ened if ex­ist­ing plans for HS2 are pressed ahead with.

Chiltern Dis­trict Coun­cil and its part­ners are con­vinced that dam­ag­ing the AONB can be avoided, and so car­ried out an in­de­pen­dent re­port to con­sider a bet­ter al­ter­na­tive to the gov­ern­ment’s pro­posed route.

The tun­nelling plans are be­ing an­nounced now be­fore Pur­dah comes into play – the time be­fore an elec­tion dur­ing which elec­tion can­di­dates can­not make any an­nounce­ments about new ini­tia­tives.

Coun­cil­lor Darby said: “As of March 30, we have Pur­dah, so we have to be very care­ful what we do and say. It’s a case of get­ting it out pub­licly, oth­er­wise we can­not do any­thing un­til May.”

Photo by Katie Lamb BA151944

STILL FIGHT­ING: Peo­ple gath­ered here at Amer­sham Free Church are among thopse around Bucks launch­ing a cam­paign to min­imise

the im­pact of HS2

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