Cheryl Gillan said this week it would set the "wrong precedent" if HS2 proceeds as planned through the Chilterns instead of going into a tunnel.

The Chesham and Amersham MP repeated calls for a tunnel to be bored the whole width of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty when she gave a presentation to members of the HS2 Select Committee yesterday.

She said HS2 Ltd are persisting with "rushed" proposals to run the route of the line through the AONB despite the environmental damage it would cause.

During her presentation to Select Committee members Mrs Gillan claimed HS2 Ltd - the company behind the controversial proposals - had "conceded" including a tunnel through the Chilterns at this late stage of the planning process would not delay the building schedule.

The former Welsh Secretary said: "It's going to result in significant time savings.

"This becomes a great solution for the area and won't, as far as I understand it, require a new environmental assessment."

Mrs Gillan said just 45 per cent of the line through the AONB would go underground, with the rest crossing the protected area through viaducts, embankments and so-called green tunnels, where earth is built up and over sections of the line to screen it from view.

She said: "What HS2 plans to do at the moment is fail to protect and enhance the AONB. The right thing to do is protect it to a greater degree. It would be a wrong precedent if we fail to protect this asset for future generations.

"The original route was rushed. We were told it has to go right through the AONB because of speed. The argument has moved on to capacity.

"It's still maintained it follows existing transport corridors. You will see the A413; you'll make up your own mind over whether that's a major transport route."

She added: "I would like the whole project cancelled, but I know I can't have that."

The Select Committee will be visiting Mrs Gillan's constituency on Monday to see for themselves what impact building work will have on residents.

Their visit starts from Chalfont and Latimer station at 9.30am. Click here to view the full itinerary of their visit.