On Wednesday, Buckingham town and district councillor Robin Stuchbury took this reporter on a rambling journey across farmland between Twyford and Preston Bissett – ground zero for HS2.
Clearly at home in his green wellies (while I ruined my leather shoes), Robin shared his passion for the countryside that he farmed for 40 years, from the mid-1970s until he moved on five years ago.
With HS2 vans in the background for company, Robin explained how the land is 'one environment' and attempting to recreate it overnight elsewhere - referencing HS2's 'Green Corridor' mitigation claims - will simply not work.
Robin said: “When they (HS2) come through the whole of North Bucks with this railway and they take the environment out, they're taking 50, 80, 100 years of growth and you can't replace that. Once you've destroyed the environment, the animals can't move somewhere else – they become refugees. The insects and the eggs on these plants will go, so there'll be a whole generation of extinction of wildlife.”
As we walked across the fields that he clearly knows like the back of his hand, Robin spoke of how the farming community managed their environment at their own cost and without fanfare, pausing every now and then to point out hedges he laid and cut decades ago.
Bemoaning their imminent loss, along with the threat posed to dozens of species of butterflies, birds and rodents that he reeled off, Robin concluded:
“This is a personal tragedy for family farmers who have been misled, misinformed and mistreated.”