Government to launch review to reconsider HS2

It has been announced that the government is launching a review of high-speed rail link HS2 – with the aim of reaching a final “go or no-go” decision by the end of the year, the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said. The review will consider whether and how the project to connect London, the Midlands and Northern England should proceed.

For years, the Chiltern Society has campaigned tirelessly against HS2 and its inevitable damaging consequences to the Chilterns environment and its wildlife. Simon Kearey, Chiltern Society Chairman said, “We are of course very pleased that the government is reconsidering it’s position on the HS2 project. Not only is the business case extremely weak, but the irrevocable impacts on our local countryside would be catastrophic if it were to go ahead.”

The Chiltern Society has today written to the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to reiterate the severe impact that HS2 will have on the countryside, should it go ahead.

In summary, the letters highlight our concerns that if the project proceeds, the Chilterns will incur the following damages and risks to its landscape:

  • the loss of 38km of ancient hedgerows
  • the loss of 176ha of good quality farmland
  • the cutting of migration routes for wild animals for 5 km. Currently no provision has been made for Green Bridges to enable animal migration
  • the risk to the Misbourne Aquifer through tunnelling and the loss of the Misbourne, a rare chalk stream
  • the risk to Bacombe Hill SSSI, where we have established that the hill is unstable
  • increased pressure on our already strained rivers and streams, with an expected use of 1 million liters of water per day for construction

The full letter can be read here.

We urge you to write to your local MP asking them to highlight the plight of the Chilterns countryside and it’s wildlife and encourage the government to scrap the project once and for all.

You can find your MP’s contact details here.