Chilterns Conservation Board's position on the cancellation of the Northern Leg of High Speed 2

Chilterns Conservation Board’s position on the cancellation of the Northern Leg of High Speed 2

The announcement last Wednesday by the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, cancelling the leg of the High Speed 2 railway (HS2) north of Birmingham, has further undermined the justification for the only remaining section of the route, from London to Birmingham.

The CCB opposed the routing of HS2 through the Chilterns AONB from the outset, due to its significant and lasting negative impacts. We remain extremely concerned at the damage and disruption the project has caused, and continues to cause, to the landscape, nature and local communities of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).  

The context of HS2 has changed considerably, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic.  

The nation’s – and the Government’s – understanding and appreciation of the value of our natural world has increased significantly, including the huge benefits it provides to people’s health and wellbeing. We believe that continuing with HS2 will not only be damaging to the environment and people’s wellbeing, but also be directly contradictory to key Government policies and ambitions, not least its commitment to leave the natural environment in a better state for future generations.  

The Government has also committed to the on-going roll out of high-speed broadband across the UK, in recognition of the boost to the economy achieved by increased connectivity for businesses and home working. Business journeys have become far less important and, in some sectors, frowned upon. Even when justified, internet connectivity available in all forms of transport will mean that journey time is not wasted, and the value for money offered by high-speed rail should be questioned. 

For more information, see here and read our letter to Douglas Oakervee, Chair of the HS2 review. 

 

Photo credit: Chiltern Society

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