MP to put HS2 tunnel case to select committee
CHERYL Gillan is set to present her petition to the HS2 select committee later this month.
Mrs Gillan, MP for Chesham and Amersham, has been a long time opponent of the controversial rail project, and will highlight to the committee what she believes are the severe environmental impacts it will have on the Chilterns.
The committee, made up of MPs from different parties, visited the Chilterns last year to see first hand the areas affected, and has the power to recommend to the government that changes are made to existing plans for HS2.
Mrs Gillan said: “I look forward to making my presentation to the select committee and use this opportunity to continue to emphasise the scale and gravity of the impacts of HS2 in the Chilterns.
“I am grateful to the committee for their work so far, especially their recommendation for an extended tunnel to South Heath, however, I will be making the point strongly that we still need more tunnelling to give the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty the protection it deserves. The job is only half done.”
The select committee said last year that it was unlikely to be persuaded that further tunnelling in the Chilterns area is necessary, but this has not stopped campaigners in the area from continuing to push for it. They want to see a tunnel under the entire area in order to minimise the impact of the project, and Mrs Gillan has also backed this.
She added: “I have been in contact with local authorities, parish councils and community groups throughout this process, and aim to summarise concerns from affected residents from across the constituency in my presentation.
“I will be asking that, if HS2 does go ahead, it is done in the right way with the highest levels of community and environmental mitigation, fair compensation for those affected and consideration for local residents.
“I will also be pressing the Select Committee to recommend an independent regulator to oversee the construction of HS2. My constituents, and all those on the route of HS2, should have reassurance that this project is being built to the highest standards, and that if HS2 does not do what it has agreed to do, there are proper checks and balances in place to rectify this.”
Mrs Gillan will be presenting her petitions to the committee at the House of Commons on January 28.