HS2 in Bucks & Oxfordshire update: Green light for HS2’s ambitious Chiltern tunnel chalk grassland project
HS2 have obtained approval for an ambitious scheme which will use material excavated from the Chiltern tunnels to create 127 hectares of new chalk grassland, woodland, wood pasture and wetland habitats around the tunnel’s south portal.
The ‘Colne Valley Western Slopes’ project – which was approved under Schedule 17 of the HS2 Act by Three Rivers District Council and Buckinghamshire Council – will see the transformation of what is now a construction site into one of the largest areas of new chalk grassland in the Chiltern hills.
This will sit alongside new areas of woodland, wood pasture and wetlands, including almost 65,000 trees and shrubs of 32 species and nearly 3.5km of new hedgerows. Around 4.5km of new footpath, cycling and horse-riding routes will give the public access to large parts of the site, which sits between the Colne Valley Regional Park and the Chilterns AONB.
The plans have been developed by our main works contractor, Align(a joint venture formed of three international infrastructure companies: Bouygues Travaux Publics, Sir Robert McAlpine, and VolkerFitzpatrick), working with Jacobs and LDA Design. As well as the landscaping, the approval also includes the design of the south portal itself and associated service buildings. Going forward, we and our contractors will continue to work closely with the planning authorities to develop the final restoration of the site.