Furious residents have hit out at HS2 after it started work to fell a “beautiful” row of trees in Great Missenden and appointed “intimidating” security guards.

Last week the BFP reported that almost 40,000 people signed a petition to stop HS2 felling “majestic” trees in Leather Lane, off the A413 - but the work started.

Vegetation clearance, including removing hedgerows and trees, is being carried out by HS2 over the next few weeks to allow for the realignment of Leather Lane, which will cross the controversial railway line on a new bridge slightly to the south of the existing road.

The site is just north of the Chiltern tunnel, where the line will be in a cutting on approach to the Wendover Dean viaduct.

One resident described HS2’s activities as an “awful destruction of the countryside”, saying people living in the area have had their lives “turned upside down”.

He also criticised HS2 for erecting metal fences and posting security guards metres away from his property.

Brendan O’Callaghan, who lives in Hammonds Hall Farm, next to Leather Lane, said: “Apart from the awful destruction of the natural countryside, there is also the human element, where residents who have enjoyed a quiet peaceful existence have had their world turned upside down by the intrusive HS2 activities happening directly outside of their property.

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“The erection of a metal security fence (without any notification it was going to be installed) and the presence of intimidating HS2 security personnel who patrol the perimeter of our property with their full-face balaclavas who stand in the shadows facing your house all night watching your every coming and goings.

“It is scary to catch movement in the dark a few feet from you when you are in a property which is situated in farmland with no neighbours.

“Then having them shine their torches at you when you come home at night, talking out loud and laughing during the early night shift hours directly outside your home is all very distressing.”

He added: “Our country views have been taken from us.”

Jim Ashton, another resident in the area, has been documenting the process on his Twitter page.

A picture taken by Mr O’Callaghan show workers erecting fencing a few metres away from his house.

HS2 says the extra fencing and security has been put in place because staff working in the area have been “abused, harassed and assaulted by a small hardcore of activists” and that it has to “keep people safe”.

A spokesman said: “We want to reduce disruption as far as possible during construction, but in this area extra fencing, lighting and security is needed to keep our people safe.

“Recently a group of activists has been targeting our staff, with threats, abuse and sometimes violence.

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“This kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable and also causes unnecessary extra disruption for the local community.

“The construction of HS2 is playing a vital role in Britain’s economic recovery from Covid-19, with over 15,000 people already working on the project and tens of thousands of additional jobs supported through our supply chain.

“By providing a cleaner, greener way to travel, HS2 will help cut the number of cars and lorries on our roads, cut demand for domestic flights, and help the country’s push to reduce carbon emissions.”