Thursday 23 February 2017
The Chilterns Conservation Board is disappointed that the HS2 Hybrid Bill has today received Royal Assent to proceed. The Conservation Board has worked very hard with its partners within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to lessen the impact of HS2 proposals on this internationally significant landscape. Although changes were made to the original proposals to address some of the concerns of the CCB and others, we have always said that a fully bored tunnel under the Chilterns would be the best way to reduce harm. This option was rejected by the HS2 Select Committee.
Following that decision, the Conservation Board and Local Authorities pushed hard for an HS2 Review Group to be set up to seek an exemplar design for the scheme through the Chilterns. Sue Holden from the Chilterns Conservation Board said: “We would like to thank all the residents and local organisations who have fought so long and so hard alongside the Conservation Board and Local Authorities to protect the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty from the impacts of HS2. Whilst deeply saddened by the decision and acknowledging that there will be permanent changes to our very special landscape, we will now turn our efforts to making the very best of the situation, working as part of the Chilterns Review Group which we and Local Authorities pushed so hard for.”
The Review Group involves Local Authorities in Buckinghamshire, the Chilterns Conservation Board, Natural England, HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport. As well as seeking to influence the design, the Group will identify extra environmental measures to further integrate the scheme into the AONB and enhance the wider area.
A Programme Manager, Helen Hall, has now been appointed to take forward the work of the Review Group and will be based within the Chilterns Conservation Board. One of Helen’s priorities once in post will be to liaise with local communities and local groups on the work of the Review Group. Workshops and exhibitions will be arranged for later in the year so the public can find out more and give feedback on the initial proposals.
For more information on the work of the Review Group click here.