October 30, 2015
Buckingham constituents present petitions to HS2 Select Committee
John writes for the Buckingham and Winslow Advertiser & Bucks Herald.
Many of you may know that Buckinghamshire has descended to Westminster en masse in recent days. Residents, Parish Councils, the District Council and the County Council have been to Room 5 in the House of Commons to address the High Speed 2 Bill Select Committee. For those who aren’t aware, this is a special Select Committee which hears from those directly affected by HS2, and it has the power to make changes to the plans for the project on the basis of the evidence presented.
Last week, it was my turn to speak to the Committee on behalf of my constituents. I spent over an hour with the Committee talking about the impact that HS2 will have on the Buckingham constituency, from the villages to the South-West of Aylesbury right up to the villages on the Buckinghamshire-Northamptonshire border. I made the point to the Committee, as I have done to successive Governments over the last five years, that Buckinghamshire needs much, much more in terms of mitigation if HS2 is to go ahead. Amongst other things, I spoke about the need for tunnelling in Chetwode, the need for substantial compensation and mitigation in the Steeple Claydon and Calvert areas, as well as the need for sound issues in all affected areas – including Twyford and Quainton – to be properly addressed. I also raised with the Committee specific traffic concerns raised by residents of Ellesborough Parish, Stone, Bishopstone, Hartwell, Sedrup, Gawcott, Lenborough, Hillesden and Princes Risborough.
I am very pleased to have seen or read the evidence offered to the Committee by Buckingham constituency residents and Parish Councils in the area; they have all made forceful cases, hammering home the point that this part of North Buckinghamshire will be devastated if the project goes ahead, and that much more needs to be done to protect it.
There is, of course, no guarantee that we will get everything that we have asked for – although I genuinely do believe that we have a very strong case. For readers who haven’t been to the Committee yet but who are scheduled to do so, I wish you luck. You have my full support.