Down but not out in HS2 tun­nel fight

Cam­paign­ers ‘firmly be­lieve’ there is still a case to be made

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

CAM­PAIGN­ERS have is­sued a call to arms for an eleventh-hour push to bury HS2 un­der the Chilterns Area of Nat­u­ral Beauty.

Last week, the HS2 se­lect com­mit­tee, which has the power to rec­om­mend changes to the line be­fore it is built, said that it was not con­vinced of the need for the tun­nel that cam­paign­ers say would lessen the im­pact of HS2 on the area.

Chair­man of the se­lect com­mit­tee Robert Syms said although some pe­ti­tion­ers are yet to be heard on the sub­ject, it is ‘un­likely that an over­whelm­ing case will be made out for the long tun­nel op­tions as we move for­ward into fur­ther hear­ings’.

Cam­paign­ers, how­ever, are re­fus­ing to be beaten and are en­cour­ag­ing more peo­ple to come for­ward with spe­cific of ex­am­ples of how the ex­ist­ing HS2 con­struc­tion works will af­fect them, and how a tun­nel would be of ben­e­fit to their lives.

Jim Con­boy, of Amer­sham Against HS2 and the Che­sham So­ci­ety, said: “We be­lieve there is still plenty to fight for.

“The chair­man has said that it is un­likely, but in the au­tumn, peo­ple from the Che­sham and Amer­sham ar­eas are sched­uled to pe­ti­tion the com­mit­tee and we firmly be­lieve there is still a case to be made here.

“It might be a case of high­light­ing spe­cific cases of how peo­ple will be af­fected, so we want peo­ple to come for­ward and tell us what the im­pact will be on them.”

Mr Con­boy said it is pos­si­ble the ar­gu­ment could change from the im­pact on the Area of Nat­u­ral Beauty to ex­am­ples where chil­dren are liv­ing on the op­po­site side of the line to their school and face years of their jour­neys be­ing dis­rupted by con­struc­tion, or cases of peo­ple be­ing forced to move be­cause of the pro­ject.

He said: “We have to keep fight­ing for the tun­nel, and that is what we are go­ing to do.

“We have to show ex­actly why we need it and how peo­ple liv­ing in this area will ben­e­fit from it.”

If you would like to get in touch with the ac­tion group, go to www. che­sham­so­ci­ and fol­low the link.

FIGHT­ING ON: Che­sham so­ci­ety’s HS2 ex­pert Jim Con­boy

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