Buckinghamshire County Council

County Councillors took a strong stand against the proposal to route Britain's second high speed rail line through Buckinghamshire and the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Their stand came at the end of a long and animated debate at Thursday's (April 22) full council meeting, the first since Transport Secretary Lord Adonis announced the proposed route of High Speed 2 from London to Birmingham in March.
There was overwhelming support for a motion brought by Val Letheren, Buckinghamshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Transportation, which rejected the Government's preferred and proposed alternative routings through the county.
The council is committed to making the strongest possible representations to the Government opposing the scheme, developing a response to its Exceptional Hardship Scheme, keeping the county's residents informed about developments, and working closely with Buckinghamshire's district councils on the response.
The full wording of the motion:
This County Council notes with disappointment the announcement by this Government of a proposal for a new high speed rail link from London to Birmingham, the preferred route for which would cut directly through Buckinghamshire.
This County Council believes:
- That although there may be a case for a high speed rail service between London and the north of England and Scotland on economic development grounds, the case is not yet proven.
- That the creation of such a line purely to provide a faster routing to Birmingham is doubtful economic benefit and is unacceptable on both environmental and cost grounds.
- That any routing of such a line through the Chiltern Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a nationally designated and protected landscape, has not been justified and in therefore unacceptable.
- That the proposed alternative routings through Buckinghamshire are equally unacceptable on similar grounds.
- That the lack of a proposal for an intermediate stop means that there would be no economic benefit for any area through which the line passed, although these areas would experience all the destruction and disruption of the construction of the line.
- That should a case subsequently be proven for such a high speed service that the council's preferred routes are either along the West Coast Mainline with an intermediate stop in Milton Keynes or via a non AONB routing.
This County Council therefore requests the Cabinet member for Transportation
- Continue to lead the County Council's response, working closely with the Buckinghamshire District Councils.
- Ensure the maximum publicity about the proposal to Buckinghamshire's residents.
- Make the strongest possible representations to Government opposing the scheme on the above grounds.
- Develop the County Council's response to the proposed Exceptional Hardship Scheme (EHS) to protect the interests of Buckinghamshire's residents.
- Keep members and the public informed on developments.