Monday 25 November 2013
The Government is in denial about the damage that High Speed 2 will do to the nationally protected Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), according to the Chilterns Conservation Board which was created by Parliament to protect the Chilterns AONB.
Mike Fox, Chairman of the Conservation Board, said he was “deeply alarmed by the claim made by Baroness Kramer, the junior Transport Minister that, "Fewer than two miles of the 13 miles of the route that go through the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty will be at surface level or above.""
This is simply not true. The railway will be on a viaduct, embankment or in a shallow cutting for 4 miles (6.7 kms) as it passes through the Chilterns. This doesn’t include the 2.4 kms it will be in a so-called green tunnel, which means excavating a large trench to bury the railway and then cover it with a concrete lid.
The Government also intends to dump 3 million tonnes of spoil from HS2 on the Chilterns skyline and along the route to try and hide it. According to Steve Rodrick, Chief Officer of the Conservation Board: “An HS2 engineer told a public meeting that, “it will be landscaped and look very nice”. Words fail me when I think our precious national heritage is going to be desecrated by people with so little feeling for what is special and unique.”
"What makes this even worse is that it will destroy irreplaceable ancient woodland. It is lunacy to design a railway to emerge from a tunnel in the middle of ancient woodland, on the top of a hill in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; but that is an example of how the Government is 'protecting' the environment. No amount of tree planting can make up for this loss. In all 33 ancient woods will be destroyed by HS2. That cannot be acceptable in a country which preaches to the rest of the world about deforestation.”