ARDENT anti-HS2 campaigners came together to reaffirm their stance against the £33billion high-speed rail link and discuss extra tunnelling.

More than 100 people, including Labour Lord Wilf Stevenson, met at Great Missenden Memorial Hall on April 29.

At the GM (Great Missenden) stopHS2 gathering, chaired by Chiltern District councillor Seb Berry, villagers were updated about the community forums, at which they can raise concerns. They also discussed proposals for a fully bored tunnel through the entire AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

Chilterns Conservation Board’s Shirley Judges said: “We are now fighting HS2 on three fronts. The first is still to stop HS2 – HS2 is extravagant and unnecessary.

“The second is the judicial reviews – there are now five. We hope they will force the government to think again.

“The third is mitigation. If HS2 is built, we don’t want to be able to see, hear or sense it.

“We must also ensure all the things we value are taken account, whether it’s wild flowers threatened by construction traffic, country footpaths or our local high street.

“People should let their local councillors and action group representatives know, so that they can raise issues at the community forums and ensure they are taken into account.”

Two experts gave presentations on tunnelling methods and details of plans being drawn up for a Chilterns tunnel. The meeting was told that HS2 Ltd is insisting that any AONB-wide tunnel would have to include a 500-metre ‘escape facility’ above ground to comply with EU regulations. One suggested site for this is at Mantles Wood, near Little Missenden which is in the heart of the AONB, so there were also discussions about how to design the tunnel with escape facilities underground and the cost implications of that.

Councillor Berry said: “Plan A, B, C and D must be to stop HS2. It’s important that people recognise the full effects of a full tunnel solution with an escape facility in the middle of the AONB.

“While it is an improvement on the government’s January 10 statement, it would not be a panacea.”