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High Speed 2

The Government is proposing to build a new high speed rail line from London to Birmingham and further north, of which Phase 1 will cut through the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  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 (see Latest News and Archive News sections below). You can access maps of the route from the HS2 website.


Latest news

HS2 Receives Royal Assent

23 February 2017


Archive news

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Request for more funds for landscape enhancements

23 November 2016

Lords Select Committee asked to recommend more funds to integrate HS2 with Chilterns landscape

Chilterns Review Group set up

24 May 2016

The Group will discuss the design of HS2 and allocate funds to local measures in the Chilterns to mitigate the scheme's impacts.

Push for HS2 Review Panel

20 January 2016

Board and local authorities press for effective and fully-funded panel

Rejection of long tunnel 'devastating' for Chilterns

22 July 2015

The HS2 Select Committee has failed to recommend full protection for the AONB

Board gives evidence to HS2 Select Committee

15 July 2015

Made case that impacts on AONB have been understated and only a fully-bored tunnel is adequate mitigation

Board to press HS2 Committee for tunnel

08 June 2015

HS2 Select Committee is visiting the Wendover area on June 11th

HS2 Select Committee visit postponed

21 May 2015

Buckinghamshire visit delayed because of election

£80m tourism income threatened by HS2

23 April 2015

Scale of loss of annual tourism income in Chilterns if HS2 goes ahead could be huge.

Tunnel for HS2 would protect Chilterns

27 March 2015

HS2 Select Committee visit after election

30 January 2015

MPs visit to Chilterns' part of route not until late spring at earliest

Anger at HS2 fund announcement

13 October 2014

HS2 - what's happening

02 October 2014

Push for a fund to benefit the communities and environment adversely affected by HS2

Board petitions Parliament for a full-length tunnel

21 May 2014

The Chilterns Conservation Board's petition to the HS2 Select Committee asks for a full-length bored tunnel for HS2 under the Chilterns AONB

HS2 Petitioning Pop-in Service

07 May 2014

                      Free help for organisations and individuals on objecting to the HS2 Hybrid Bill

Proof HS2 will destroy ancient landscape

30 April 2014

Option for fully-bored HS2 tunnel under Chilterns

25 April 2014

HS2 Environmental Statement inadequate and hugely flawed

27 February 2014

Joint letter to PM on HS2 tunnel extension

27 February 2014

Nearly a third of the ancient woodland threatened by Phase 1 of HS2 could be saved by extending a tunnel in the Chilterns

ES consultation deadline postponed twice in one week

23 January 2014

Government has been pulled up on mistakes made.

HS2 challenges may go to Europe

23 January 2014

Chilterns HS2 tunnel would save country £500m

02 December 2013

Bored tunnel much better value alternative to current proposals

Rushed consultation on HS2 Environment Report unforgivable

28 November 2013

Government in denial about HS2 damage

25 November 2013

HS2 impact on Chilterns far greater than Govt claims

ancient woodland

HS2 spoil to be dumped in Chilterns

18 September 2013

Nearly 1 million cubic metres of spoil could be dumped on farmland in the Misbourne Valley.

High Court split decision on HS2 case

24 July 2013

HS2 Action Alliance case against the Government will now go to the Supreme Court

HS2 environmental report inadequate

15 July 2013

HS2 Environment Report shows huge damage to Chilterns

24 May 2013

Poor case for HS2 says Govt watchdog

16 May 2013

A report from the National Audit Office is scathing about the HS2 business caseHS1 kent

PM confirms tunnel option will be part of environmental consultation

11 April 2013

Prime Minister David Cameron has confirmed that the option of a tunnel under the Chilterns will be considered in the HS2 Environmental Impact Assessment consultation.

Judge's decision on HS2 legal challenges expected on 15 March

08 March 2013

The long-awaited ruling on the 5 legal challenges should be handed down on 15th March

HS2 Mitigation Blueprint for Bucks

06 March 2013

Bucks authorities have unveiled a blueprint for reducing the impact of HS2 if it gets the go-ahead

HS2 mini summit on March 5th

25 February 2013

Local authorities, action groups and the Conservation Board will discuss the latest issues at a meeting in Aylesbury

Latest round of Community Forums

25 February 2013

Round 4 of HS2 Ltd's Community Forums are taking place at the moment

HS2: £600m 'detour' in Cheshire

29 January 2013

The straight route alignment deemed essential for Phase 1 of HS2 seems less important for Phase 2

Full scale of damage highlighted in new DVD

22 January 2013

The enormous impact of HS2 along the whole of its London to Birmingham route is highlighted in a new DVD

HS2 - what's happening in 2013

03 January 2013

There are some key activities taking place this year

High Court hears full case against HS2

17 December 2012

The High Court has now heard all five legal challenges to the Government's proposals for High Speed 2.

HS2 judicial reviews start 3rd December

30 November 2012

Five cases against the Government's plans for High Speed 2 are being heard in the High Court, starting on Monday 3rd December and concluding on Tuesday 11th December.

HS2 Action Alliance calls for review of HS2 proposals

17 October 2012

The West Coast Main Line franchise fiasco highlights the clear need for an independent review of the case for HS2, says the HS2 Action Alliance

Greening out, McLoughlin in

05 September 2012

Patrick McLoughlin takes over from Justine Greening as Secretary of State for Transport

Date set for judicial review of HS2

30 July 2012

The High Court has granted opponents of HS2 the right to seek judicial review of the Government's proposals

Rail investment plans undermine HS2 case

16 July 2012

£9bn rail investment package further weakens business case for HS2

16 July Day of Action for Stop HS2

03 July 2012

The Stop HS2 campaign is calling for a Day of Action on July 16th 2012, the day before Parliament breaks up for the summer.

Plans to assess impact of HS2 inadequate

30 May 2012

The Government’s draft plans to assess the environmental impact of the proposed High Speed 2 rail line are inadequate and hurried.

Cabinet Office warns of risks to HS2 project

29 May 2012

An assessment of HS2 by the Cabinet Office Major Projects Authority has given the project a red-amber status, warning it faces major risks and issues.

Plan to move ancient woods widely criticised

02 May 2012

In a letter to Amersham MP Cheryl Gillan the Transport Secretary Justine Greening has suggested that transplanting ancient woodland on the HS2 route is a credible option to save it.

HS2 Summit in Aylesbury packed out

25 April 2012

Over 130 people attended last week's HS2 Summit in Aylesbury, organised by Bucks County Council and attended by local action groups and HS2 Ltd.

HS2 is economic basket case

17 April 2012

The recent damning report on passenger numbers and costs for High Speed 1 is another nail in the coffin for HS2

Councils seek judicial review of HS2

03 April 2012

A group of 15 local authorities are seeking a judicial review of the Government's High Speed 2 rail project.

Wildlife Trust complains to European Commission over decision on HS2

28 March 2012

The Berks Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust has written to the European Commission to complain that the UK Government selected the route for High Speed 2 without properly considering the environmental impact.

Disappointing start to HS2 Community Forums

22 March 2012

Attendees at the first community meetings organised by HS2 Ltd were disappointed by the poor organisation and lack of clarity on what they will cover.

Meeting for landowners concerned about HS2

06 March 2012

15th March 2012, 6.30pm Amersham. For all landowners and farmers who want to know more about the implications of HS2 and what they can do about it.

New Stop HS2 poster available

01 March 2012

The Stop HS2 campaign have produced a striking new poster available to download here.

emergency Stop HS2 poster

Buy sandwiches - support Stop HS2!

22 February 2012

Sandwich Plus shop in Tring is giving 10p from the sale of certain sandwiches to the Stop HS2 campaign

Board supports legal challenge to HS2

14 February 2012

A letter warning of a potential legal challenge has been sent by the HS2 Action Alliance to the DfT

The HS1 line in Kent

HS2 Ltd announces environmental assessment

03 February 2012

HS2 Ltd is starting environmental and engineering survey work along the HS2 route this month.

New - detailed map showing impact of route changes on Chilterns

27 January 2012

The Conservation Board has produced an interactive map which reveals the impact on the Chilterns of changes to the HS2 line announced in January 2012. 

HS2 - the good, the bad and the uglier

17 January 2012

The route changes announced the the Government bring a bit of good news but quite a lot of bad news for the Chiilterns

HS2 will cause huge and unacceptable damage to Chilterns

10 January 2012

The Chilterns Conservation Board today condemned the Government’s decision to proceed to the next stage of building a high speed rail line which will plough through the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Muddled thinking on HS2

09 January 2012

Responses to the pro-HS2 comments from union leaders and economists

Buy the Stop HS2 Christmas single!

20 December 2011

Anti-HS2 campaigners are being urged to buy a single released by a local band to publicise the HS2 issue in advance of the Government's decision next month.

Longer tunnel will not help Chilterns

05 December 2011

If the High Speed Two rail line goes ahead the Chilterns AONB will be badly damaged, despite new Govt proposals to increase the length of tunnel under the AONB.

High speed railway on wrong track?

08 November 2011

Today's report from the Transport Select Committee contains many reservations about the Government's proposals for a high speed rail network.

Parliamentary debate on HS2

10 October 2011

Impact on natural & historic environment

22 August 2011

Detailed descriptions of the impact of HS2 on the natural and historic environment of the Chilterns are now available - see the profile descriptions for map 1-5.

Ramblers Association map

08 June 2011

The Ramblers' Association have created a map showing all the rights of way along the HS2 route which will be affected if it goes ahead.


25 May 2011

13 local authorities including county and district authorities in Bucks have joined together to campaign against HS2 under the name 51m

Detailed maps published

17 May 2011

Detailed maps showing the impact of HS2 on the natural environment, historic features and rights of way network between Chalfont St Giles and Wendover, plus panorama photos along the route, are now available.

New factsheet

12 May 2011

Read the Conservation Board's new factsheet on the impact of HS2 on the Chilterns

The case against HS2

09 May 2011

Read a summary of the case against HS2 as presented by Steve Rodrick at the Great Missenden Rally on 8 May

Taxpayers Alliance report

04 February 2011

A report just published by the Tax Payers' Alliance confirms that there are many flaws in the business case for HS2.

read the report

Tunnelling impact outlined

29 November 2010

The impacts of tunnnelling through the chalk geology of the Misbourne Valley are outlined in a report by Dr Haydon Bailey for the Chiltern Society. The impacts could include pollution of underground water from which domestic supplies are taken and a total loss of surface flow in the River Misbourne.


27 October 2010

Keith Hoffmeister of the Chiltern Society Photo Group has produced an excellent slideshow which shows in detail the countryside that will be damaged if HS2's Route 3 through the Misbourne Valley is built.


Government announcement

On March 11th 2010 plans were announced by the Government to build a new high speed rail line between London and Birmingham that will pass through the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The aim is that the line, known as High Speed 2, will ultimately extend to northern England.

Routes through Chilterns

The Government's preferred route for the line as it passes through the Chilterns is via the Misbourne Valley, in a tunnel past Chalfont St Giles and Amersham and then mostly overground to Wendover. Construction of the route if it gets the go-ahead will start in 2017 and take nine years, at a cost of £33 billion.

Conservation Board response

The Chilterns Conservation Board believes that the net benefits of the new line, both environmental and economic, have not been proven and therefore there is not a strong enough case to justify causing irreversible damage to the Chilterns AONB. It is opposed to the line coming through any part of the Chilterns.

The Chilterns is protected as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, part of the same family as National Parks - its countryside is nationally important. It is not an appropriate place for any major development. Even if High Speed 2 is considered to be in the national interest that case has yet to be proven and accepted as beyond doubt. In the Board's view there are realistic alternatives to achieving the same environmental and economic gains.

National planning law states that major development within an AONB can only be considered if it is clearly in the national interest and cannot go anywhere else. The Conservation Board does not believe that High Speed 2 meets either of these tests.

What you can do if you are opposed to the line being built through the Chilterns:

Video Clips

A YouTube clip of a German high speed train entering a tunnel at 186 mph and the associated noise:

A YouTube clip of a German high speed train exiting a tunnel at 160 mph: