Chiltern Society calls for three bore tunnel for HS2

  |  Published: May 23rd 2014

The Chiltern Society has asked Parliament to construct a three bore tunnel, similar to the Channel Tunnel, for HS2 under the entire Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The heritage and conservation charity, which has nearly 7,000 members, has petitioned MPs on the Select Committee considering in detail the HS2 London to Birmingham high speed rail Bill.

Such a tunnel would enable the Government to meet its commitment under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act to conserve and enhance AONBs because a three bore tunnel would eliminate the need to build such visual intrusions as ventilation shafts, access roads and security fencing. The current proposal envisages a two bore tunnel through approximately half the AONB.

John Gladwin, chairman of the Chiltern Society's HS2 campaign group said: "A three bore tunnel would also be able to go deeper, thereby reducing the risk to the public water supply in the Chilterns and the risk of losing the River Misbourne because of potential changes to the flow of water through the aquifer.

"In addition, a three bore tunnel is a proven system for substantially ensuring the safety of passengers in the event of an accident in one tunnel.

"The Chilterns AONB is the only AONB in the country to be affected by the HS2 project. Its landscape is supposed to be protected by law and a three bore tunnel from the M25 to north of Wendover is the only solution that would fully protect it. Overall, any additional cost would be minimal compared to the overall HS2 budget and in the Society's view should be easily met by the contingency fund already set aside."

The Chiltern Society is petitioning on a number of other points in the HS2 Bill, including the proposal to dump large quantities of imported spoil in the AONB, altering the profile of this unique protected ancient English countryside. Its representatives could be called to give evidence before the HS2 Select Committee later this year.

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