Fight for best out­come will go on

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

CAM­PAIGN­ERS against HS2 are set to grill a gov­ern­ment com­mit­tee on its rea­sons for turn­ing down a full tun­nel un­der the Chilterns Area of Nat­u­ral Beauty.

The Chilterns Con­ser­va­tion Board, along with Bucks County Coun­cil and Chiltern Dis­trict Coun­cil, pre­sented a case to the HS2 se­lect com­mit­tee ear­lier this year, de­tail­ing how a tun­nel un­der the AONB would of­fer pro­tec­tion against the im­pact of the con­tro­ver­sial rail line.

Last week how­ever, com­mit­tee chair­man Robert Syms said in a brief state­ment that: “On the ev­i­dence heard we are strongly of the view that the case for a long tun­nel is not made out.

“With­out pre­judg­ing the ar­gu­ments we may hear from fu­ture pe­ti­tion­ers we be­lieve it is un­likely that an over­whelm­ing case will be made out for the long tun­nel op­tions as we move for­ward into fur­ther hear­ings.”

Fol­l­low­ing this an­nounce­ment, cam­paign­ers hit out at the de­ci­sion, call­ing it dev­as­tat­ing, and now say that they will con­tinue to push for mit­i­ga­tion against the im­pact of the line.

Claire For­rest of the Chilterns Con­ser­va­tion Board, said: “What will def­i­nitely be hap­pen­ing is that the se­lect com­mit­tee will be hav­ing more ses­sions in the au­tumn. Other groups in the Chilterns will be press­ing for the best pos­si­ble mit­i­ga­tion for what is pro­posed.

“In the mean time we are go­ing to try and get a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing on why the com­mit­tee came to that con­clu­sion.”

She added: “We were not given any in­di­ca­tion be­fore the com­mit­tee made its de­ci­sion of what they were go­ing to say.

“Our pro­pos­als were am­bi­tious but to have them dis­missed as they were in such a brief state­ment was galling.

“That is why we want to find out more about ex­actly how that de­ci­sion was reached and why.”

Some mem­bers of the com­mit­tee are set to re­visit Bucks on Mon­day, Au­gust 10 for a short tour of the af­fected ar­eas, but the trip is set to be on a smaller scale than pre­vi­ous vis­its.

There will then be more dis­cus­sions on po­ten­tial ad­di­tional mit­i­ga­tion for the Chilterns.

CAM­PAIGN: The HS2 se­lect com­mit­tee look­ing at part of the HS2 route through the Wen­dover coun­try­side. Above, mem­bers of the Iver Traf­fic Ac­tion group

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