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HS2 Tunnel Plans Could Damage Water Supply

Giving evidence to Westminster's High Speed Rail committee, Dr Haydon Bailey said that HS2's plans to bore through the Misbourne Valley are worrying.

Published by the Mix96 News Team at 3:03pm 16th July 2015. 3-minute read.

HS2 Tunnel Plans Could Damage Water Supply

Our water supply in Buckinghamshire could be damaged, if HS2's current Chiltern tunnel plans happen.

That's according to one geologist, Dr Haydon Bailey.

Giving evidence to Westminster's High Speed Rail committee, he said that HS2's plans to bore through the Misbourne Valley are worrying.

He says there's a major regional water supply under the chalky ground and that could be damaged by just drilling one hole, weakening the ground.

So he's told the committee a three-layer tunnel would be better - protecting the water supply and allowing emergency access.

He said:

"The proposed route crosses the Misbourne Valley where the tunnel crown will be at a level with less than six metres of competent chalk above it. Above this will be gravel and weathered rubbly chalk and there is certainly the threat of ground failure at the valley crossing point close to Chalfont St Giles.

"The chances of the River Misbourne surviving this must be close to zero with the resulting loss of environmental benefits, wildlife habitats and public amenities.

"The chalk aquifer below the Misbourne valley is a major regional water supply, with numerous public water sources/boreholes in proximity to the proposed route. The public water supply at Chalfont St. Giles will certainly be jeopardised by the tunnel construction, and several other boreholes along the Misbourne valley at Amersham and Great Missenden will be threatened.

"In addition to this, 22 per cent of London's water supply is at risk should there be any damage to or pollution of the chalk aquifer in this and the adjacent Colne valleys."

John Gladwin, presenting the petition on behalf of the Society, said a three bore tunnel was the only tunnel option that would considerably reduce the risk to the aquifer and eliminate any damage to the AONB because it would be built deeper in more solid chalk.

A middle emergency tunnel would also make it safer for passengers in the event of an incident in which a train had to be evacuated.

"We believe our case for a three bore tunnel is a matter of balancing the extra construction costs against the value of conserving the AONB and the environmental and other benefits, including increased passenger safety.

"Whilst this cost is quite considerable it represents only a tiny percentage of the overall construction cost while enabling the government to meet its commitments to conserve and enhance the AONB".

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