A NEW route for an HS2 tunnel the whole way through the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has been put forward in a study launched on Friday.

The 24.7km tunnel would closely follow existing transport links, allow the line to have a lesser gradient than what is currently proposed, and lessen the impact on the environment, the study claimed.

It would cost £1.85billion to construct the tunnel - around two per cent of the total cost of the HS2 project.

The proposed line goes under Chalfont St Giles, between Little Kingshill and Little Missenden and parallel to the A413 - all the while passing under the River Misbourne.

The government's current proposed route takes HS2 through the widest part of the Chilterns AONB, which the report - produced by development and infrastructure consultants Peter Brett Associates - states will "militate rather than mitigate the impact" the line will have on the environment.

The study was commissioned by Chiltern District Council, Aylesbury Vale District Council, Buckinghamshire County Council and the Chilterns Conservation Board.

Chiltern District Council Leader Nick Rose said: "HS2 would create a huge and ugly scar through parts of the AONB. Our proposal represents a huge improvement over the existing government proposed scheme and avoids the reckless damage that the rail line would cause."

Steve Rodrick, Chief Officer at the Chilterns Conservation Board, added: "The Chilterns AONB is natural heritage and we expect those responsible for designing the HS2 railway to protect this special place. A long bored tunnel is the only acceptable solution."