HS2 apply for Licence to bore the Chiltern Tunnel through the Aquifer

Published on April 6, 2021

This was established when at the Society’s request, Lord Berkeley asked written questions with regard to this – see link.

The answer is concerning. Of the three assessments submitted, two are in draft.

We have raised the issue of the risks of tunnelling through the aquifer since this route through the Chilterns was decided upon nearly 10 years ago. The key issues relate to:

  • The risk of losing the River Misbourne through water diversion
  • The risk of polluting the drinking water for local people and London

It is almost unbelievable that having ordered the tunnel boring machines and being ready to start tunnelling, HS2 Ltd had not applied to the Environment Agency for a licence. The EA has less than two months to agree or deny the licence. Not an enviable task, when two of the key assessments are in draft only.

The Ground Investigation work carried out by HS2 has demonstrated the fractured nature for the chalk in the Misbourne aquifer. This has been confirmed by an updated geological survey by the British Geological Survey.