Council leaders express concern about HS2 review announcement

This newspaper has been running the HS2: Enough Is Enough campaign
This newspaper has been running the HS2: Enough Is Enough campaign

AVDC and Bucks County Council leaders have expressed their concern about a new Government review of HS2.

Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) has welcomed the recently announced review into HS2, but leader Angela Macpherson wrote to both Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps reiterating the Council’s deep concerns and opposition to the project.

In her letter Cllr Macpherson said: “Buckinghamshire and Aylesbury Vale residents and communities have campaigned tirelessly for many years for government to rethink this project, which in our view has a fundamentally flawed business case, no gain to our communities, residents and businesses, and will cause long term, irreversible damage to our environment and wildlife”.

In her letter she also highlighted the eye-watering increase in the estimates for completing the HS2 project, which had risen from an initial target of £56 billion to in excess of £80 billion, and demanded that all enabling works cease immediately, until the review is concluded and not recommenced unless and until a Notice to Proceed is formally approved.

Ms Macpherson also called for all enabling works to be stopped until notice proceed has been granted following the review, in a bid to save our areas of natural beauty as well as people's homes and livelihoods.

And at Bucks County Council leader Martin Tett also expressed his scepticism about the impartiality of the review.

Speaking to The Bucks Herald, he said: "We welcome the review, but on the other hand I am really concerned about the composition of the panel.
"The chair of the review was the chair of HS2 so he is effectively marking his won homework.

"It needs independent experts, an independent chair and a balance of people from local government who are pro and against HS2."

And Mr Tett said that Bucks County Council would be submitting a document to the panel giving good reasons why the money could be better spent elsewhere.

He said: "We will be saying that there are better options, particularly with regard to the midlands and the north."