Great Missenden protesters continue battle with HS2 contractors

Protests continue at Great Missenden as protesters continue to stop HS2 contractors from cutting down ancient trees near the Link Road.

Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 4:39 pm
Protesters took to the trees to make their voices heard

The trees are due to be cut down to widen a road in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, but campaigners said the work should be halted until a review into the project is published.

Some of the trees are older than the village itself.

The protesters however showed no signs of softening their stances today, with one protester stating yesterday he'd stay in the trees 'as long as it takes'.

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Buckinghamshire County Council have asked HS2 to pause works until the outcome of the upcoming Oakervee HS2 review is known.

However, HS2 have continued work with no heed to these calls.

Alan Woodward, who has been protesting at the site since Sunday, said he is there to stop the decimation of Buckinghamshire's wonderful countryside.

He said: "We have been down here since Sunday stopping the HS2 contractors from beginning work in this area.

"The turnout so far has been amazing, we must have had about 600 visitors since Sunday to the site.

"We've held off the contractors so far, and as of today (Tuesday) they look to have stopped work again."

Several protesters are camping at the site by the roadside, looking to maintain a 24 hour presence at the site.

Alan added: "From a personal point of view I'm a father. I want to leave something our children to enjoy. HS2 has already devastated areas I enjoyed playing in in Harfield as a young lad.

"This is the wrong project at the wrong time - we shouldn't allow HS2 to devastate our countryside when the money could be used better elsewhere.

"We're not going to move until they leave!"

Alan also said that HS2 replacing road cones with metal bollards had caused chaos earlier in the day, as Emergency Service vehicles tried to bypass traffic by using the closed off lanes.

He said the situation was 'dangerous'.

The link road works are part of the HS2 mitigation package which was agreed with Bucks County Council several years ago.

A briefing document on the county council's website reads: "This haul road will open up access to the ‘trace’ line of the railway and mean that as much HS2 construction traffic as possible can be kept off of public roads.

Another protester Dermot Cox said: "There's a group of protesters been there since Monday when work was due to start.

"We are calling for the trees to be saved, and the road widening to be paused until the end of the review and stopped altogether.

"The trees are beautiful and vital part of the ecosystem. We don't need a three lane road from a small town to the A413.

"The protesters are there to stop this act of environmental vandalism.

"HS2 has agreed not to cut the trees down today because the protesters are conveying the strength of local feeling.

"The underlying issue here is HS2 is currently under review, due in a few weeks time. It is possible this report will cancel HS2. If these trees are cut down, they will be gone forever, it's just common sense to stop this work until the outcome of the review.

"Even if the Oakervee review green lights HS2, I cannot see why it makes sense to build this three lane road. The only reason they want to do this is to save a bit of traffic congestion caused by lorries on this road. It's madness."

An HS2 spokesperson said:

“As announced by government at the start of the Oakervee review, limited preparatory works on the project will continue in parallel. The haul road at Great Missenden will allow us to take construction traffic off local roads and limit disruption to the community.

“One of the biggest challenges facing this country is climate change and road and air travel are significant contributors to this. The most effective way to cut transport carbon emissions in the UK and improve our air quality is to invest in rail, including HS2. This is the only way we will get people out of their cars, off domestic flights and take lorries off our congested roads.”