This article was first published by South Heath Against HS2 as ‘One Cheer For the Select Committee’
As a result of both engineering and environmental assessments, the Government has been persuaded that it propose an amendment to the HS2 hybrid Bill. Namely to extend the deep-bored Chilterns tunnel, beginning at Amersham, a further distance of 2.6km.
This therefore negates the need for the formerly proposed ‘green tunnel’ and will save the countryside around South Heath, much of the environmental damage that would have resulted from the high speed rail project.
I am just one resident of South Heath, I speak for myself and my family. To the Select Committee, I would like to offer my thanks for their help, in what I believe is a small victory for common sense. I really am grateful for both their time and effort and the time and effort of everyone that has made this possible.
One might think that since South Heath has largely been spared by this act of mercy, that I would put away my keyboard and ‘do the decent thing’. Were it not for the fact that I have never been NIMBY about HS2, I would probably have rejoiced in my personal good fortune and done exactly that.
However, this countryside has been my friend and neighbour for most of my life. I have walked it’s quiet footpaths, delighted in it’s solitude, appreciated it’s rare beauty and met countless fellow travellers as I did so. They have come from all over the world, exploring the Ridgeway, completing part of a Duke of Edinburgh award, renting a holiday cottage, or just getting away from the city for a day.
I know we need better infrastructure, that’s why initially I didn’t protest about HS2. I want to reduce the amount of cars on our roads as much as any passionate green activist.
I wish to make it very clear that it wasn’t because HS2 passed by my back door, that prompted me and inspired my opposition to HS2. It was that it was, I have always believed, an ill thought out project, that seemed to be ‘made up as it went along’.
A hugely disruptive and damaging project that needn’t have cut yet another new route through relatively undamaged countryside. Especially since the government wasn’t even sure why we needed it so badly. “We need speed!” or then again was it “we need capacity?”
So thanks guys for the tunnel, but despite the good news for South Heath, I am still here and I will continue to do what I can for our area of outstanding natural beauty… all of it!