If members of the HS2 Select Committee weren't already well aware of the strength of feeling in Bucks against the proposed high speed rail line coming our way, they surely do now.

They will have already known from the sheer number of people who have petitioned them against the highly controversial, multi billion pound proposals that there is a great deal of opposition to it within the county. Indeed, of the 2,000 or so people to have sent in petitions setting out their reasons for opposition, more than half are from the Chilterns.

This week four of the MPs who are hearing evidence against HS2 took time out from their busy schedule to tour our county and see for themselves the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that will be ruined for years to come.

Ruined not just by the railway line itself when it is eventually opened, but in the several years it will take to construct it in the first place.

They spent more than an hour walking through Mantles Wood, an area of irreplaceable ancient woodland between Amersham and Great Missenden that will be chopped down to make way for a massive cutting.

They attempted to navigate a narrow country lane that construction HGVs are expected to drive down as part of the building project; their minibus was too wide and had to turn around.

They met farmer Ross Pusey, who will lose more than half his land when a huge cutting is built.

He was one of hundreds of people who turned out to meet the committee on their tour of the Chilterns, led by Chesham and Amersham MP Cheryl Gillan.

There is a growing sense amongst those campaigners that HS2 will end up being built and the focus of their protests has moved on to improving what's on the table.

The slogan 'Bury It' was prevalent throughout the Chilterns during the committee's visit - a reference to the fact people want HS2 to go underground all the way through the Chilterns in a tunnel.

Monday's visit demonstrated how poorly HS2 has been thought through. The end point of one of the tunnels that is planned comes at the top of what would be the steepest gradient on a British main line before opening up into the cutting that will destroy Mr Pusey's business and blight the villages around Great Missenden.

The line will then descend a similarly steep gradient and go back into another tunnel - begging the question that surely it would be simpler and less environmentally damaging to simply dig the tunnel in a straight line, rather than up and down.

The Department for Transport announced triumphantly last week that 120 alterations to the scheme had been put forward, which will make HS2 more palatable. A tunnel through the Chilterns was not one of the suggestions, despite intense lobbying calling for one.

It was a point made repeatedly to the Select Committee on Monday by the residents determined not to see their beloved countryside destroyed. Encouragingly, whilst much of the consultation process has hitherto had the feel of being a simple box ticking exercise for the powers that be, there was a sense that members were genuinely interested in hearing residents' concerns and seeing for themselves which parts of our Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty will change forever.

They have taken the trouble to listen; now it is incumbent on them to back this up with firm action by using their influence to effect the changes that are so desperately needed.