Send your news, photos and videos by texting bucksfreepress to 80360 or upload here
Amersham and Chesham MP to oppose High Speed 2 rail link
Watch our video of the MPs addressing people outside the meeting. The Bucks Free Press was unable to get access to film the meeting.
AN MP said last night she would oppose plans for a high speed rail link – even if it means going against her party's policy.
Cheryl Gillan, MP for Amersham and Chesham, said she would look after the interests of her constituents first, even though her party supports the proposed link from London to the north.
The Conservative MP was speaking at a public meeting at the Misbourne School in Great Missenden about the controversial High Speed 2 plans, which has a path through the Chiltern hills as its preferred route.
An audience member asked her and fellow Tory MP David Lidington, whose constituency includes Great Missenden, if they would be prepared to oppose their party's political manifesto.
Mrs Gillan said: “The route isn't part of our manifesto, but I would defy the party whip – be very, very sure of that.
“My constituents come first to me in all instances.”
She added: “I believe this project will threaten the quality of our lives – not just now but for generations to come.
“If this route ever comes to fruition there will be a lot more than just the blight on the properties nearby. The implications for the area will be absolutely phenomenal.”
Mrs Gillan said completing the tunnelling project under Amersham and the Chalfonts would take five and a half years, with the one near Great Missenden taking four years.
She added the chalk streams in the Chilterns – the only ones of their kind in Europe – needed protecting.
“I will protect them until I can no longer do so,” she said. “They are surely worth protecting.”
She said the results of an environmental impact assessment – which must be carried out as a legal requirement – would not be announced until after the election.
Representatives from the Chiltern Conservation Board, the Chilterns Society and the Chiltern Countryside Group spoke at the meeting.
Hundreds of people were left outside in the wind and rain as the hall filled to capacity well before the scheduled start time (see link to previous story, below).
Buckinghamshire County Council's portfolio holder for transport, Cllr Val Letheren, was among the other speakers at last night's meeting.
She said: “We must all sing from the same hymn sheet. We must go out there and fight this, because I think we can win.”
Cllr Mike Colston, who arranged the meeting, said: “I hope to hand over the AONB to my grandchildren's grandchildren. When we are concerned about the environment, it seems perverse to propose what they are doing. It doesn't bear thinking about.”
Aylesbury MP David Lidington said: “We've got to focus on changing the minds of the Department of Transport and whoever is Secretary of State after the election. We must focus on the evidence to win the argument.”
He said it was “complete nonsense” to limit the link to between London and Birmingham.
The line could eventually be extended to Glasgow, cutting journey times between the Scottish city and London to three and a half hours.
As part of the route consultation, the Government has launched an exceptional hardship scheme for residents whose property value would be adversely affected by any building work.
But Chiltern District Council's cabinet member for transport, Cllr Nick Rose, said the scheme was “extremely perverse” and “outrageous”.
Comments are closed on this article.