Lord to make case for an underground HS2
Attempt to save area of natural beauty to come before second reading
A MEMBER of the House of Lords is set to make the case as to why HS2 should be entirely buried beneath the Chilterns Area of Natural Beauty (AONB).
Lord Wilf Stevenson of Little Missenden is set to host a briefing at the House Of Lords to promote and explain the proposal for a long tunnel through the Chilterns AONB.
He is being supported by local MPs including Chesham and Amersham’s Cheryl Gillan, as well as local authorities, the Chiltern Conservation Board, the Chiltern Society and other groups.
The event is timed to take place the before the second reading of the Bill in the House of Lords and before the Lords select committee is formally established.
Last month, the HS2 hybrid bill, which gives permission for work on construction of the first phase of HS2 to begin, was passed through the House of Commons. It followed recommendations from the HS2 select committee that the project should not be tunnelled under the Chilterns AONB.
However, protesters are now fixing their attention on the House of Lords and petitioners in favour of the tunnel have produced a leaflet for the Lords ahead of the Bill’s reading.
It says: “The value of the other benefits to be derived from further tunnelling has so far been inadequately considered by the promoter [HS2 Ltd].
“These include the real economic impacts of property blight, traffic congestion, the impact on tourism and other local businesses, etc.
“Once a proper account is taken of the costs and benefits of an extended tunnel, the Chilterns proposal will not be materially more expensive to the nation and will better conserve the AONB as a national asset for future generations.”
HS2 Ltd estimates that if the Bill passes through the Lords, it will then be given Royal Assent later this year, clearing the way for construction of the line to begin next year.
Lord support: Cheryl Gillan MP