“I’m OK” – a view from Any Questions

Any Questions: will be repeated 13.10 Radio 4, Saturday 27th August.

When it become known that Any Questions would be broadcast from Aylesbury’s Waterside Theatre, a number of Stop HS2 supporters got tickets to see the programme being made (live) and submit questions.

Eventually the panel were asked whether it was right to spend £32 billion on HS2.  It was clear from their answers that only one panelist knew anything about it – and she was against it.

A different panelist displayed a typical assumption towards HS2 of many people who live in legally protected areas.  Whatever the arguments against HS2, she didn’t need to worry about similar issues happening near her, because she lived in the New Forest, and so no large scale infrastructure projects was ever going to affect her.

Unfortunately, she is wrong.

The people who live in the Chilterns AONB thought they had legal protection from large scale infrastructure projects – until the HS2 plans were revealed.

That’s why the Chilterns’ issue is so important.

The AONB was supposed to provide protection, but it hasn’t.  It shows that anyone concerned about other AONBs that the legal protection they think they benefit from is valid only as long as the Government does not have other plans.

The Governent isn’t even going to have a Public Inquiry, in spite of the massive scale, and damage which will occur to the AONB.

But combined with the changes in the planning laws which the Government is proposing, and suddenly legally protected, environmentally sensitive areas suddenly look a lot more vulnerable…

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