The HS2 threat to the Chilterns
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The HS2 Environmental Statement
The Chiltern Society’s response to the HS2 Environmental Statement (Phase 1) is now being studied by the Government.
Although the Environmental Statement represented the last chance the Chiltern Society had to comment publicly on the London to Birmingham plans, there is still much to do. The critical Second Reading of the HS2 Hybrid Bill is still scheduled to be put before the House of Commons in late Spring. Once it is published, we will then decide whether to petition Parliament.
In the meantime, the Chiltern Society will continue to lobby MPs and others in our efforts to ensure that any high speed rail link between London and Birmingham does not cross the Chilterns AONB. If the proposed route is chosen we will then be campaigning for HS2 to be in a fully-bored tunnel under the entire Chilterns AONB.
If you would like to speak to one of our HS2 team please contact the Chiltern Society office (01494 771250).
Dumping spoil or clogging roads?
Chiltern Society members, please let us know your opinion.
At recent community forum meetings, HS2 indicated it was in negotiations with a landowner at South Heath to deposit 800,000 cubic metres of earth onto the AONB, thereby reshaping the landscape.
The company said that if the scheme went ahead, the spoil from proposed cuttings in the AONB would be spread over “a sizeable area” within two or three miles of the planned tunnel portal at Mantles Wood. The company expressed the view that this would be preferable to construction lorries making thousands of journeys along narrow roads and lanes in the Chilterns.
How to respond to this proposal is one of those ‘rock and a hard place’ type decisions. The Chiltern Society – while maintaining its main stance of opposing HS2 through the Chilterns – will shortly be deciding how to respond following a discussion by the Executive Council.
In the meantime, if members have any views that can be considered as part of the EC's decision-making, please contact us by email (members only please).
Donate to our Fighting Fund here.
Video in aid of our Fighting Fund
For the first time, a DVD showing the damage the proposed HS2 route from London to Birmingham would bring to the ENTIRE 140 mile stretch has been produced by Keith Hoffmeister, with commentary by actor Geoffrey Palmer OBE (pictured right).
It illustrates the homes that would be demolished, the communities that would be devastated and the woodlands, sports facilities, wildlife sites and beautiful countryside that would be irreparably damaged if HS2 followed its currently proposed route from London Euston to central Birmingham and beyond.
You can view a sample of the DVD below. The full version is available FREE from our office in Chesham, Bucks or you can purchase it now for £5 (including postage and packing) by clicking the 'Buy now' button below. All profits go to our Fighting Fund to stop HS2 crossing the Chilterns.
The Chiltern Society and HS2
The Chiltern Society is strongly opposed to the current proposal to construct a high speed railway – HS2 – across the Chilterns.
The Chiltern Society was formed nearly 50 years ago with a primary objective to conserve, protect and promote this unique landscape, including its Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
It is the Society's view that the current HS2 proposals, if developed, would result in enormous harm to the Chilterns countryside and environment. We do not accept that to route HS2 through the Chilterns is in the national interest.
Our national campaign
The Society is one of the founding members of a group of national and regional organisations* that have signed The Right Lines Charter.
The Charter's main principles call for:
Providing a national transport strategy
We believe that any high speed rail proposals must be part of a long-term, joined-up nationwide transport strategy, involving all forms of transport.
Testing all the options
We believe that decisions involving major infrastructure proposals like HS2 should be made once alternative options have been thoroughly considered, particularly with regard to environmental and sustainability issues.
Ensuring proper public involvement
We believe that once the alternative options for developments such as HS2 have been thoroughly explored, an extensive public participation consultation should take place outlining the pros and cons of each alternative.
Prioritising environmental protection
We believe there is more to high speed rail than delivering the fastest speed possible. It is in our national interest, both today and in the future, that adverse impacts on our natural environment and landscape, cultural heritage and local communities are minimised to the greatest possible degree.
Our Chilterns campaign
In addition to lobbying with national and regional organisations via the Charter Group, the Society is also conducting a campaign in its own area to fulfil its objective of protecting the Chilterns from unwanted and unnecessary development.
We have produced a DVD which demonstrates the impact the proposed HS2 route would have on this precious and largely unspoiled area. The DVD has been sent to national and local decision-makers and is being shown to community groups.
We have organised protest walks, including a daily walk around the Prime Minister's Chilterns base at Chequers, to highlight our opposition.
We are producing detailed technical reports, written by experts in their field who are also Society members, outlining the threat the proposed HS2 route would have on the Chilterns.
We are attending and speaking at meetings of residents groups and community organisations explaining our opposition to HS2 across the Chilterns
And we are conducting a marketing campaign which includes a Facebook page and the production and distribution of posters.
We are also working with other regional organisations, including the Chilterns Conservation Board, Buckinghamshire County Council and community groups, that are actively opposed to the proposed HS2 route.
We would urge Chiltern Society members and those who support our views to express their serious concern.
*The other signatories of the Charter for Assessing High Speed Rail are The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), the Campaign for Better Transport, Civic Voice, Environmental Law Foundation, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Railfuture, Ramblers, RSPB, SPAB, The Woodland Trust and The Wildlife Trusts.