Welcome to the Chilterns AONB, with thanks to Lord Adonis

... and to HS2 Amersham Action Group

Travellers on the A413 cannot fail to notice the latest addition to the Chiltern Hills - a bare, angular pyramid of clay and chalk beside the roundabout at Great Missenden. This new ‘Hill’ is just the first of many new additions - tunnels, ponds, ventilation shafts and two hideous viaducts near Wendover - which are in store for the area should HS2, the Government’s proposed high speed rail link from London to Birmingham, go ahead.

However, this is not yet inevitable; the works currently underway are only preliminary, and the designs for the main works not yet completed. The cost has not yet been agreed with the designated contractors, and no contracts signed to actually build the railway, despite HS2 Ltd having already spent £5 billion of taxpayer’s money.

The Amersham Group

The HS2 Amersham Action Group was formed soon after the project was announced (in 2010) and continues to oppose the construction of the railway at every opportunity. We staged Information days, ran alternative displays at HS2 ‘engagement’ events, and petitioned the parliamentary select committee to obtain a better deal for Amersham. Thanks to the generous donations from our supporters, we have contributed to Stop HS2 and HS2 Action Alliance, the national campaigns against the project, and made donations to the legal funds of individuals involved in disputes with HS2. Since the bill to construct HS2 received Royal Assent, we have also held regular meetings with HS2 Ltd and their contractors, and suggested additional measures to mitigate some of the worst effects of construction, based on our local knowledge. Some of these may even be implemented.

While mitigation is all very well, the best way to avoid adverse effects is by cancellation of HS2, and there is (at last) some signs of progress in that direction. Despite engaging 17 PR companies, HS2 continue to receive a bad press, having recently been savaged by both Panorama and Dispatches. While the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, claims that the project is ‘on time and on budget’ (as was Crossrail), the previous HS2 Chief Executive admits that no-one knows what the final cost will be and the project is already well behind schedule. In 2011 the cost was identified as £32 billion, but this has now increased to what would appear to be around £100 billion according to independent rail experts- half of this amount would be sufficient to replace all the rolling stock on the existing network.

Why HS2 ?

We strongly believe that HS2 is a very flawed concept, ill-thought out and launched for political reasons, sponsored by lobbyists, and not for the Public’s real benefit. Its proposers now say that HS2 will provide increased capacity, rather than high speed, but all requests to disclose official capacity statistics have been refused, so why would anyone believe this argument – particularly since Euston (where HS2 terminates) is not even in the top 5 stations for overcrowded trains.

Numerous questions are now being asked - about the performance, effectiveness and extravagance of the management, and victims of Compulsory Purchase Orders are resorting to law, to obtain prompt and adequate compensation. The Treasury are planning a review of major infrastructure projects, and so once some semblance of government emerges from the Brexit train wreck, the outlook for HS2 may be rather bleak.

What you can do ...

While most Chiltern residents have very little influence over the Treasury, or its select committees, it is still possible to help defeat this project. Every exposure of HS2 incompetence and maladministration reinforces the idea that this is a project which is out of control. Every undertaking ignored to save money shows that they will be unable to stick to the budget, and every poll or petition signed, shows that HS2 is a sure vote loser (as demonstrated by the recent Haddenham and Stone district council election, where the Conservative candidate lost to the Greens).

You can report problems with HS2 (or their contractors) at HS2watch.com , and keep up to date with developments affecting the Chilterns, on our news pages .You can also write to your MP to ask him or her to question the viability of HS2 in Parliament, and provide them with evidence to use against it.

Help us defeat HS2 – the wrong project, on the wrong route under the wrong management.