Thursday 27 February 2014
The Environmental Statement on High Speed 2 fails to properly assess the impacts of the proposed high speed line on the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and contains hardly any options to avoid serious damage to this nationally-protected countryside. These conclusions are included in the response the Chilterns Conservation Board has submitted today to the Government’s consultation on the HS2 Environmental Statement.
The Board objects to the development of High Speed 2 because of the significant and irreversible damage it would do to the nationally protected landscape of the Chilterns AONB.
The Environmental Statement, produced by HS2 Ltd, comes to the extraordinary conclusion that the overall impact on the Chilterns AONB is only moderately adverse. This is not credible and flies in the face of the actual facts about HS2’s impact on the Chilterns. These include:
The Board has made clear in its response that the only way to avoid huge and permanent damage to the Chilterns is for HS2 to be placed in a fully bored tunnel under the whole AONB. Only then can it be claimed that the Government has complied with its legal duty to conserve and enhance the Chilterns AONB as one of the country’s finest landscapes.
A fully bored tunnel under the Chilterns would save 10 hectares of ancient woodland from destruction, a third of that destined for destruction along the whole route from London to Birmingham. Steve Rodrick, Chief Officer of the Chilterns Conservation Board, comments: “As both ancient woodland and the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty have been given national protection, how can it make sense to destroy them? A full length bored tunnel under the Chilterns to save these national treasures is desirable and practical.”
The Board’s full response to the consultation on the HS2 Environmental Statement can be found on our Maps and Documents page.