Fight for best outcome will go on
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