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Postponed HS2 Meet 'Gives More Time To Protect Countryside'

Wendover Dean HS2 from photo montage - from HS2 Environmental Statement

6:35am 14th May 2015

The HS2 committee's proposed visit to Amersham and Chesham, Aylesbury and Buckingham constituencies is to be rescheduled, it's not necessarily a bad thing according to Chesham and Amersham's newly re-elected MP.

One of the Lib Dem constituents to lose their seats in the recent elections happened to be a key committee member ... so the visit on 20, 21, and 22 May will be moved forward, probably to July.

MP Cheryl Gillan says she wants to remember her party's manifesto - which promised to protect areas of outstanding natural beauty:

"It was always an ambitious plan to think that the committee could just continue with the same membership particularly in the light of the General Election results and the change in the balance of MPs at Westminster. However we are continuing to prepare for the eventual visit of the newly constituted Committee to indicate the challenge we face of saving the Chilterns AONB from the damage that this project will cause if it goes ahead unchanged.

"Failing an abandonment of the project, which is highly unlikely given its inclusion in the Conservative manifesto, in the Chilterns we will continue to push for the Government and HS2 Ltd to accept the long tunnel proposals in order to protect the AONB.

"The Conservative manifesto makes the specific pledge that we will protect the Green Belt, and maintain national protections for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Parks, Sites of Special Scientific Interests and other environmental designations."

"I will be taking steps to seek to ensure The Conservative Government maintains our manifesto promise in this area."

David Lidington, MP for Aylesbury, said:

"Following the postponement, I subsequently spoke to the Committee Chairman, Robert Syms MP. The reason for the postponement is that there are likely to be changes to the Committee's membership. The Liberal Democrat member was not re-elected.

"The new parliamentary arithmetic will probably mean the appointment of an SNP member and I gather that the Labour membership may also change.

"Mr Syms told me that he intended to reschedule the visit as soon as possible but that it was clearly important that the people who were to hear the evidence should all have had the opportunity to see the affected neighbourhoods themselves."

Rt Hon John Bercow said:

"I look forward to showing members of the Select Committee affected areas in the Buckingham constituency in the near future in order that they can see for themselves the impact that this project will have in the area".

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