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MP Cheryl Gillan: I've done everything I can on High Speed 2
CHERYL Gillan, the Amersham and Chesham MP, said this afternoon she has done everything she can for her constituents over High Speed 2.
A statement released from the Welsh Secretary on her website, as campaigners call for her resignation from her Government position, also said she hopes to achieve further improvements to the Chesham and Amersham section.
She expects further developments, alluding to a possible judicial review being considered by the 51m alliance of councils.
Mrs Gillan said she is also pressing for a new look at compensation payments.
Read her full statement here below.
"I would like to update you on the recent developments regarding High Speed 2.
I thought it best to wait until after any announcement before responding and not to comment on leaks, rumours and inaccurate reports.
The statement that was made yesterday by the Transport Secretary to the House and the subsequent questions can be found here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm120110/debtext/120110-0001.htm#12011048000001 I responded with this initial statement: “The statement today reflects the Government’s decision to move forward on the proposal for HS2. We are still, relative to the timescales for the project, at the beginning of the process.
I welcome the further steps that have been taken to mitigate the impact on Chesham and Amersham.
I have arranged to meet with the Transport Secretary to ensure that any ultimate decisions on the project and on any route do as little damage as possible to our environment and our local communities and fully compensate all those that could be affected by today’s decision and any future new High Speed line.”
I appreciate that there are many people who remain disappointed but – given there is overwhelming support in the House of Commons across all parties – we have made good progress in improving the protection of the Chilterns and the AONB. The position for Old Amersham and through to Little Missenden has been significantly improved with 1.4 miles of extra tunnelling continuing from the previous tunnel exit by Old Amersham.
There is also a proposed extension to the green tunnel at South Heath. However the proposals are complex and I am currently studying the new improvements to the section through Chesham and Amersham with a view to reinforcing and hopefully improving on those changes that we have already achieved to the original route.
HS2 was first published by the last Labour Government but it has been actively promoted by both the Liberal Democrat and Conservative Parties.
As we all know, in a Parliamentary democracy the views of the majority prevail and currently the majority of MPs in the House of Commons support the HS2 project.
The groups and individuals opposed to the project or the route have all made tremendous efforts to put their case across, with the Secretary of State for Transport acknowledging the volume of consultation responses in her statement. I have done everything I can to make that case on behalf of constituents who oppose the project or the route. However – bearing in mind the likelihood of HS2 progressing to the next stages – I have also worked hard to ensure that, if it ultimately proceeds on a route through the Chilterns, the impact on areas like Chesham and Amersham is mitigated as much as possible.
The statement reflects the Government’s decision – in the National interest - to move forward on the proposal for HS2 and must be dealt with on this basis. As I have said it has come as a great disappointment to many people.
However, as I have also said, we are still, relative to the timescales for such a major infrastructure project, at the beginning of the process and I am certainly not stopping the work on behalf of constituents to improve the situation further at this early stage.
The further steps that have been taken to mitigate the impact on Chesham and Amersham (if this route prevails) are welcome and I have already spoken to and arranged to meet the Transport Secretary in the not too distant future to ensure that any ultimate decisions on the project and on any route do as little damage as possible to our environment and local communities.
Importantly for many people, I am also pressing for a fresh look at compensation to ensure that all those affected by today’s decision and any future new High Speed line are fully compensated if it goes ahead. I will also continue to explore any route alternatives that may present themselves particularly as the environmental impact assessment and engineering details progress.
There will continue to be many developments and I understand that a judicial review is currently being considered by 51M and Buckinghamshire County Council.
A leaflet published by the Department for Transport outlining the next steps for the project can be found at: http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/hs2-governments-decisions/hs2-governments-decisions.pdf I will continue to ensure that constituents’ views are represented at the highest levels in Government whether for or against HS2 itself or parts of the detailed HS2 proposals, but I will also continue to try to negotiate and reinforce improvements so that if HS2 is built Chesham and Amersham receives the best possible outcome in the circumstances."
Please continue to check my website, www.cherylgillan.co.uk, to view regular updates on what action I am taking on this important issue.
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