“An insult to the people of Chesham and Amersham” – that’s how MP Sarah Green has described the rumoured government decision to axe the eastern leg of HS2.

The measures to scrap the route between the Midlands and Leeds are expected to be announced when the government publishes its Integrated Rail Plan on Thursday, a source told the PA news agency.

The Department for Transport will argue that HS2 trains will still serve Leeds but on the mainline rather than HS2 tracks, saving tens of billions of pounds.

Following the reports, Sarah Green, Chesham and Amersham’s new Liberal Democrat MP, said the move shows the government is “abandoning” its central economic case as she slammed the damage done in the Chilterns already.

She said: “This decision to axe the eastern leg of HS2 is nothing but an insult for the people of Chesham and Amersham.

“They have already torn up the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, destroyed acres of ancient woodland and directly endangered our chalk streams through tunnelling.

"What is the point of all the pain we are being subjected to? We face a decade of debilitating disruption seemingly for nothing.”

There is also frustration that plans to boost east-west rail connections across the region – known as Northern Powerhouse Rail – will likely involve improvements to existing infrastructure rather than a new line between Manchester and Leeds.

Shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon said ministers were attempting to “quietly back out” of infrastructure schemes that they had “committed to dozens of times”.

The alleged decision comes despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledging his “commitment to Northern Powerhouse Rail” shortly after entering Downing Street in 2019.

As recently as the Conservative Party conference in Manchester last month, Mr Johnson said in his leader’s speech that the Government “will do Northern Powerhouse Rail, we will link up the cities of the Midlands and the North”.

Conservationist Chris Packham welcomed the expected announcement. He wrote on Twitter: “That’s one head severed from this absurd vanity project, maybe we could now redirect other billions to ‘upgrade existing lines’.”

Buckingham MP Greg Smith said the decision should see the whole route scrapped altogether. He said: “Good news for the communities that will be saved from this ridiculous railway — but with the HS2 business case weak to start with, cutting out this leg surely must mean the whole thing should be reassessed and scrapped altogether.”