Useful information and archive

On this page you can find the latest HS2 news, useful links and information in our timeline of events and access papers and reports from our archive.

Chilterns ANOB

Chris Packham's petition prompts a Westminster Hall debate [September 2021]

On 13th September 2021, a petition by Chris Packham called for the government to stop work on HS2 immediately and hold a new vote to repeal the legislation. The petition achieved over 150000 signatures, which prompted a Westminster Hall debate on HS2.

We issued a briefing to MPs in advance of the debate, and would like to thank all MPs who voiced their concerns, especially those pertinent to the Chilterns AONB. We agree that a full debate is now needed to address the increasing costs, increased environmental damage, lack of respect for local communities and a much-needed revised business case. We are also pleased that the minister agreed to answer in writing all the questions that he did not have time to address in the debate.

The Government approves a Notice to Proceed and a Full Business Case for Phase One [April 2020]

On Wednesday 15 April, the Government gave approval to HS2 Ltd to issue Notice to Proceed for the Phase One route of HS2 from Birmingham to London. It did this in order to give the construction industry certainty while the country is suffering from the Covid-19 pandemic. At the same time, the Department for Transport published its HS2 Phase One full business case.

hs2 proposed route

Regular visitors to our website will know that, along with many other organisations, we continue to have grave concerns, and unanswered questions, regarding the irrevocable damage that HS2 will cause to the natural beauty and tranquillity of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The Chilterns Conservation Board is therefore extremely disappointed that this notice to proceed has been issued. We are also particularly concerned at the Government’s admission in the Full Business Case that

“Rapid developments and the uncertain outcome of the COVID-19 outbreak mean it has not been possible within the FBC to undertake specific analysis to determine the outbreak’s potential longer-term impacts to transport passenger demand.” [1]

The Government also acknowledges that “…until new information is available on the potential longer-term impact of COVID-19 on long-term demand and economic growth it is not possible to say whether this will materially impact the Value for Money of HS2.” [2]

Given the uncertainties created by Covid-19, we urge the Government to revisit its assumptions on passenger demand and economic growth, and to rethink HS2.

[20 April 2020]

[1] (paragraph 20)
[2] (paragraph 21)

The Oakervee review of HS2 [August 2019]

In August 2019 the Chilterns Conservation Board welcomed the Governments independent review of the HS2 programme and wrote to Douglas Oakervee, Chair of the HS2 Review setting out our deep concerns for the irrevocable damage to the natural beauty and tranquillity of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Read our letter here

The Oakervee review of HS2 concluded in February 2020 and we were deeply saddened to discover the recommendation that HS2 should go ahead and subsequent decision to that effect by the Government.  We believe that the context of HS2 has changed considerably since Parliament approved the project and take the view that, to continue with HS2, would not only be damaging to the environment and people’s wellbeing but also be directly contradictory to key Government policies and ambitions.

Read our full statement here

Timeline of events

In the timeline below, you can follow the recent work of the Chilterns Conservation Board and other organisations to hold HS2’s contractors to account over the felling of ancient woodland, the contamination of water supplies, damage to river banks and other failures to protect wildlife species affected.

The Chiltern Society has been keeping a photographic record of changes to the Chilterns and Colne Valley Park as construction progresses. View the Chiltern Society HS2 Photographic Diary.

Archive Papers

Report commissioned by Chiltern District Council and supported by the Chilterns Conservation Board, Aylesbury Vale District Council and Buckinghamshire County Council. It sets out the numerous benefits of a fully-bored tunnel under the whole of the Chilterns AONB.


Latest HS2 News

HS2: more sinkholes open up in the Chilterns

We are aware of a further two sinkholes appearing in farmed fields between Sibley’s Coppice and Frith Hill.

Hyde Heath Sinkhole

We have been made aware of a second sinkhole occurring above one of the HS2 tunnel boring machines (TBMs) in Hyde Heath.

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

The announcement by the Prime Minister cancelling HS2 north of Birmingham undermines the justification for the remaining section of the route.

Chilterns ANOB
Chilterns ANOB

The Management Plan for the Chilterns National Landscape

The Management Plan sets out the policies and actions to be followed by all stakeholders to conserve and enhance this special place. The current Plan (“the Chilterns AONB Management Plan 2019-24”) has been extended to March 2025 and is currently under review.
Chilterns ANOB

Challenging HS2

Find out how we are actively working to hold HS2 and their contractors to account, to reduce environmental damage and seek the best designs possible.