Case for Chilterns tunnel to go before select committee

Map showing proposed HS2 route through Bucks and the alternative long tunnel
Map showing proposed HS2 route through Bucks and the alternative long tunnel

The case for an extended tunnel protecting the whole of the Chilterns – including Wendover – from HS2 will be put to politicians next month.

An alliance of Buckinghamshire councils will present their case to the HS2 Select Committee, which will make recommendations to the government, from July 13 to 16.

Aylesbury MP David Lidington will also make an ‘informal’ presentation about the tunnel to the committee on June 30.

Under the current government plans, a deep bored tunnel will run only under south Bucks, with the line emerging overground near Great Missenden and a cut and cover structure (a ‘green tunnel’ in HS2 Ltd vocabulary) running past Wendover.

However, the alliance is calling for a 24.2km tunnel throughout the whole of the Chilterns, emerging at Stoke Mandeville.

They say the tunnel mitigates ‘so far as is possible the impact on Wendover’ and actually makes gives HS2 a ‘more economic route to operate’.

The cost of this alternative route, dubbed the Chilterns Long Route, is estimated at £1.85bn, making it £400m more expensive than the current section.

It is also claimed that the tunnel meets new EU safety standards, with an underground firefighting station taking the place of the previously required mandatory open air gap on tunnels over 20km.