COUNCIL bosses are to spend up to £350,000 petitioning the government not to go ahead with HS2.

Members of Chiltern District Council's cabinet yesterday agreed to earmark the money from the authority's reserves to formally appeal to Parliament not to go ahead with the controversial project.

Some of the money is to be spent on getting expert advice on how best to mitigate the impact of any work that takes place in the district.

Council chief executive Alan Goodrum said the highest priorities are mitigating tunnelling issues, the noise created by building work and the visual impact of construction traffic.

He said: "We are going to need additional help, not just for staff hours, but expertise in issues such as tunnels. We are going to need a nationally recognised area of expertise if we go forward."

Cllr Isobel Darby said: "We are still hoping this will never come to fruition and certainly hoping people in Westminster might come to their senses and give this stupid plan up.

"This is our last chance - if it's built it's going to be there for generations. We owe it to the people who live here now and future generations to fight now to get the very best possible mitigation."

Leader Nick Rose added: "We have a duty to our community to do precisely that - we've built up reserves for a rainy day. If HS2 does go ahead - by God, it's not a rainy day, it's a deluge."

Chiltern District Council was one of the authorities that contributed funds towards an ultimately unsuccessful High Court challenge against HS2.

Cllr Rose said: "The legal process has come to an end. As far as a challenge is concerned, we are concerned with an entirely different process. It's reasonable to say whereas the legal process was an all or nothing challenge, we stand a very good prospect of achieving some crumbs of comfort with petitioning."