Following detailed engineering and environmental assessment, the UK Government has agreed to propose an amendment to the HS2 hybrid Bill to extend the deep-bored Chilterns tunnel by 2.6km to a new portal just past South Heath.
By continuing the main tunnel all the way past the village, a separate ‘green tunnel’, designed to reduce noise and help blend the line into the landscape, would no longer be needed.
As well as reducing the scale and duration of local construction activity, the new proposals would also preserve 12 hectares of woodland at the nearby Mantle’s Wood, Sibley’s Coppice and Farthings Wood.
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The changes are in line with the recommendations of the hybrid Bill Select Committee, a group of MPs tasked with considering petitions against the Bill. The new proposals will be included in a future Additional Provision to the Bill.
Transport Minister, Robert Goodwill said:
We are committed to listening to the communities that live along the HS2 route as we deliver the railway’s important national benefits. These new proposals will protect woodland and mean less disruption for people living nearby. It is essential that we take their views into account so that we build this vital railway in the best way possible.
Alison Munro, HS2 Managing Director of Development said:
HS2 is determined to keep the environmental impact of the project as small as possible and we recognise the importance of listening to stakeholders and local communities as we continue to develop the scheme.
Major infrastructure projects like HS2 will always be about striking a balance between engineering, cost and environmental impacts. We will remain open to potential design improvements and I believe today’s proposals would deliver a successful long-term solution for South Heath, Hyde Heath, Great Missenden and the wider area.