THE Prime Minister has assured a council leader that a tunnel alternative will be included in an HS2 environmental impact consultation.

David Cameron confirmed the Chiltern Ridges Action Group’s (CRAG) suggestion for an underground tunnel through the Chilterns would be included in HS2 Ltd’s Environmental Impact Assessment consultation.

Chiltern District Council Leader Councillor Nick Rose told Full Council on Tuesday that he had written to the PM to ask if the option would be included in the paper, which is expected to go out later this year. Cllr Rose received the reply last week.

CRAG teamed up with engineers Peter Brett Associates and The Conserve the Chilterns and Countryside group to draw up the tunnel proposals.

The idea is to bore a tunnel from the Amersham area to a point near Wendover in a bid to protect the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

CDC councillors wrote to the BFP in February urging the government to re-consider the CRAG tunnel option after it was initially rejected.

They wrote: “HS2 Ltd’s most recent decision to rule out the specific CRAG tunnel with a gap at either Mantles Wood or Wendover Dean proposal on grounds of cost, is symptomatic of the dismissive way in which they are dealing with AONB issues.

“This has to end. The wider costs to society must be taken into account, including landscape value, not only the costs of construction.

“We are calling upon HS2 Ltd to include tunnel options within the EIA and for our MP to lobby for the extra money that is required to protect the AONB in the event that this awful scheme proceeds.

“That is the very least that they can do if the Government is serious about protecting this nationally-important environment.”