TRANSPORT Minister Simon Burns has incurred the wrath of HS2 opponents after this week telling them to stop opposing the scheme through the courts.

Mr Burns said after High Court judges found in favour of the Department for Transport over the controversial project that campaigners should not "waste any more taxpayers' money on expensive litigation".

But his words sparked anger among Bucks-based opponents to the high speed rail project.

Cllr Seb Berry, who was elected on to Chiltern District Council on an anti HS2 ticket, said: "Simon Burns needs to stop insulting people whose only crime is fighting to save their homes, villages and a nationally important Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

"It's no use the Minister saying 'work with us' when he, his officials and HS2 Ltd simply refuse to acknowledge the terrible destruction that Cameron's white elephant scheme will bring to the very heart of the AONB. 

"The proposed destruction at ancient Mantles Wood for example is a national act of vandalism of which Conservative and Lib Dem Ministers ought to be thoroughly ashamed. 

"Many, many people locally have spent over two years trying to work with HS2 on AONB mitigation proposals, only to be met with a wall of indifference from officials.

"Rather than hectoring distressed local people, it's about time that Mr Burns got out of his Whitehall office, agreed to a proper public visit to the AONB and saw for himself what is going to be lost forever if the government really is stupid enough to push on with this scheme."

Hilary Wharf, director of the Amersham-based HS2 Action Alliance, said: "Simon Burns remonstrates with objectors wasting public money.

"This is extraordinary given the government has already poured hundreds of millions into promoting a white elephant and plans to waste £50bn more on a high speed railway that has no business case or environmental justification. 

"Had the government done a strategic environment assessment before they opted for HS2 they would have realised that there are massively cheaper, and hugely less environmentally destructive means of meeting their own objectives."

And Bucks County Council Leader Martin Tett said: "He still carries on ploughing taxpayers' money into a scheme that doesn’t have more than an abysmal business case.

"He has an absolute cheek telling anybody to stop wasting taxpayers money."

Mr Burns said after Wednesday's judgement: "I urge opponents not to waste any more taxpayers' money on expensive litigation and instead work with us on making HS2 the very best it can be."

He added: "By dismissing all grounds of appeal and declining to refer the case to Europe, this is the second time in four months a court has rejected attempts to derail HS2.

"Parliament is the right place to debate the merits of HS2, not the law courts and we will introduce the hybrid bill for Phase One before the year is out.

"We continue to move forward with the crucial business of getting the scheme ready for construction in 2017 and delivering enormous benefits for the country."

HS2 Ltd Chief Executive Alison Munro said: "I very much welcome the judgement from the court of appeal. We now carry on the vital work we are doing to deliver a high speed rail network that will act as an engine for growth, address the capacity challenge on the railways and connect up eight out of 10 of our biggest cities. 

"We will also continue to do all that we can to minimise the environmental impact of the new network while ensuring that those directly impacted along the route are fairly compensated."