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HS2 will go ahead

Government have confirmed approval of the railway.

Published by Scarlett Bawden-Gaul at 12:41pm 11th February 2020. (Updated at 1:36pm 11th February 2020) 4-minute read.

HS2 will go ahead

It has been confirmed that HS2, which will go through Buckinghamshire, will go ahead. 

The controversial railway has been approved by Boris Johnson in a speech in the House of Commons.

The Prime Minister has voiced concerns about HS2 Ltd and their behaviour to residents impacted by the route.

He has also announced a minister dedicated to overseeing HS2 in order to restore discipline.

There has been widespread concern over the railway, from politicians, wildlife groups and celebrities. 

Read about HS2 in Buckinghamshire

Concerns include impact on the environment and wildlife, affect on local towns from building and overspending.

Anger and disappointment 

MP's opposed to HS2 have been reacting to the confirmation, including those here in Bucks. 

Rob Butler, MP for Aylesbury has said:

"I am extremely disappointed and incredibly frustrated by this decision, as I know people will be throughout the Aylesbury constituency, in both town and villages. I believe there are better alternatives and very much regret that the government doesn't agree.  

"I have already spoken to the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps MP, and emphasised to him that it is vital that the Aylesbury area benefits fully from the additional investment in infrastructure, including buses, that has been announced today. "

More HS2 stories from Mix96

Dame Cheryl Gillan, MP for Chesham and Amersham has said:

"Today's news is hugely frustrating. This gross expenditure of public money is set to cost in excess of £100 billion and won't provide the predicted benefits.

"HS2 is an ineffective means of enhancing connectivity and addressing capacity problems on our national network, particularly when investment is desperately needed elsewhere."  

The leaders of Bucks County Council and AVDC have issued a joint statement,

Martin Tett and Angela Macpherson said:

"We have consistently opposed this scheme for over ten years. This is not just on environmental grounds but most importantly because the business case has never stacked up and still doesn't. The cost of HS2 has sky rocketed since it was originally proposed just as we predicted.

"The astronomic costs to the taxpayer would be far better spent on improving commuter lines into our major cities and linking our northern towns and cities as a key part of levelling up the country as promised by the Government.

"The proposal in the leaked Oakervee Report to provide for a station in rural north Buckinghamshire is neither welcome nor wanted. We long ago argued that, if there were a station, it should be at Aylesbury to help existing residents - not one that would ruin the countryside."

Meanwhile, wildlife groups have been urging the government to hear their worries and react moving forward. 

HS2 will destroy or significantly impact  108 irreplaceable ancient woodlands, which have been around since the 1600's, 33 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, 693 Local Wildlife Sites and 21 Local Nature Reserves, among other precious habitats.

Matthew Stanton, Head of Planning, Policy and Advocacy at Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust says:

“Now that HS2 has been given the go ahead by the prime minister, it must incorporate a greener vision and deliver biodiversity net gain. 

"If you move a species' house now, and give them a house to move into in 5 years time. Then in those intervening 5 years you've lost that species. Whether we are talking about butterflies, crayfish etc. That is what is being lost with HS2 and the delay with the mitigation works. 

"How can we mitigate the inevitable harm that is going to be done to wildlife. Now, it's all about how much money they're going to put into protecting the environment and creating new habitats."

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