ENVIRONMENTAL groups have voiced fears for picturesque countryside near Tring following the launch of a consultation on proposals for high-speed rail.
The Department for Transport plans, which would see high-speed train lines carve through the Chiltern Hills, were opened to public scrutiny on Monday.
Chiltern Conservation Board chief officer Steve Rodrick said: “There is simply no case for High Speed 2, especially through a nationally-protected landscape loved by millions. Our opposition is based on solid facts. The Government claims it will be a green form of transport but there is no evidence to support this claim.”
Chairman Mike Fox added: “Make no mistake, this will be a great scar for more than six miles across the Chiltern Hills that will be with us for ever.”
Meanwhile, Chiltern Countryside Group spokesman Sue Yeomans said: “Building HS2 in any part of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty would set a precedent for infrastructure of this scale in AONBs. The group does not accept that a case has been proven for justifying such proposals as being in the national interest.”
The consultation runs until July 29 and covers plans that HS2 Ltd claims will slash 30 minutes off the journey time between Birmingham and London and will deliver £44billion worth of benefits to the economy.
Chairman of HS2 Ltd Brian Briscoe said: “Our work has shown there is a real need for HS2 to relieve the ever-worsening problems of overcrowding on the rail system and the economic boost it will bring.
“But we want to do everything we can to minimise the potential impacts of HS2.”
He encouraged people to attend HS2 roadshows. The closest to Tring is at Wendover Memorial Hall on May 13 and 14. Respond online at www.highspeedrail.dft.gov.uk