Mr Robert Syms MP, Chair of the High Speed Rail Bill Select Committee, delivered a statement on 21st July to the effect that the Select Committee is strongly of the view that the case for a long tunnel has not been made, and that without prejudicing the arguments the Committee may hear from future petitioners the Committee believes it is unlikely that an overwhelming case will be made out for a long tunnel option through the Chilterns.
Richard Hebditch, the National Trust’s External Affairs Director responded to this announcement:
“We’re disappointed that the Committee already seem to be ruling out a long tunnel under the Chilterns. Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty have that designation because of their importance to the nation. As the nation’s biggest infrastructure project for decades, the HS2 project should have the best mitigation for its route through the AONB. In our view, that means a fully bored tunnel. We hope that the Committee will think again on this when they hear from individual petitioners in the coming months.”