HS2 decision sets ‘dangerous precedent’ says Chiltern Society

The Chiltern Society said today the decision to route HS2 across the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty sets a dangerous precedent for other protected areas of landscape in the country.

The Society, which has over 6,700 members working to protect and enhance the Chilterns, will now petition Parliament to have HS2 tunnelled under the entire AONB in order to reduce the environmental damage the railway will bring.

Chairman David Harris said: “The Chilterns AONB is supposed to beaprotected landscape. It is the only AONB in Britain that will be crossed byHS2 in its first and second phase. Yesterday’s decision by MPs sets a dangerous precedent. From now on areas of legally protected countryside, such as National ParksandAONBs, are not as safe as theybelievethey are from infrastructure projects.

“HS2, as proposed,will now travel through the middle of the Chilterns AONB at its widest part, inevitably damaging its integrity.The travesty is that other routes between London and Birmingham that could have avoided this sensitive and unique landscape were not considered properly.

“Most MPs have shown that ensuring unique and fragile landscapes are protected for future generations is low down among their priorities.”