The impact of HS2 on the Chilterns AONB

Now that plans are developed, we know there will be a heavy environmental cost of HS2 on the Chilterns, including:

  • Dramatic changes in landform and the construction of vast concrete structures including two squat viaducts, tunnel portals, together with a new wirescape of overhead line electrification equipment, noise barriers and high fencing – all at odds with the natural beauty of a protected landscape.
  • Constant assault on tranquillity, from both the noise and visual disturbance of trains passing at high speed every few minutes through the Misbourne valley.
  • Physical interruption of many rights of way – including the internationally significant Ridgeway National Trail and the Chilterns Cycle Way – both used annually by thousands of people for relaxation and recreation, with recognised benefits to health and wellbeing.
  • Loss of key elements of the Chilterns’ cultural heritage – including ancient sunken greenways and one of the remaining sections of the Grim’s Ditch scheduled monument.
  • Loss of historic hedgerows and field patterns and fragmentation of habitats and wildlife corridors – directly contrary to the Lawton principles of ‘bigger, better and more joined up’ habitats.
  • Concerns that HS2 tunnels beneath the River Misbourne will impact on water draining through the fragile chalk and affect the flow of the Misbourne, and other rivers, in addition to water quality. The Chilterns chalk aquifer not only supplies fresh drinking water to many people in the south east of England, but it is also the source of nine of the UK’s internationally important chalk streams.

 

Direct loss of protected wildlife species

HS2 Ltd has acknowledged that all barn owls living and hunting within a 3km distance either side of the HS2 route will be killed (a 6km wide danger zone).

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Goodbye Grim's Ditch

This video, filmed and edited by local resident, Karl Neilson, shows the devastation HS2 has caused to Grim’s Ditch, a linear earthworks, ancient woodland and scheduled monument dating back to at least the Iron Age.

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The visible effects of HS2 on the Chilterns landscape.

Photos from 2015 vs. September 2019 taken from Angling Spring Wood public footpath.  After photo shows new HS2 road constructed  from the  Great Missenden Link Road roundabout to take construction traffic to tunnel portal.

The Chiltern Society has been keeping a photographic record of changes to the Chilterns and Colne Valley Park as construction progresses. You can view the photographic diary here.

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