Protesters against HS2 are looking to the House of Lords to help them achieve their goal of a full tunnel through the Chilterns Area of Natural Beauty.
Last week, the HS2 select committee published its final report, which denied campaigners’ calls for HS2 to be buried underneath the Chilterns.
The report was roundly criticised by protesters for not doing enough to protect against the impact of the controversial rail line following more than 18 months of the select committee visiting affected areas and listening to the views of those whose lives and businesses will be impacted.
Campaigners now say they will take their evidence to the House of Lords in order to try to convince them of the need for the tunnel.
Hilary Wharf, director of the HS2 Action Alliance said: “The community has lived and breathed this project day in, day out for the last six years, and despite everyone’s sterling efforts, we were unable to persuade the select committee to extend the tunnel further and bring the protection to our community and to the AONB that we believe is wholly justified by the evidence.
“Next stop, House of Lords.”
This view was back up by the Residents’ Environmental Protection Association, who said: “This report has come as a severe blow to a community which has tried hard to persuade the select committee to a further tunnel extension.
“But the community will not accept defeat and looks to the House of Lords to take a more balanced view of all the evidence.”
Independent Chiltern District councillor Seb Berry of Great Missenden, a long time opponent of HS2, said: “The final report from the HS2 select committee is hugely disappointing but not at all surprising.
“The reality is that no-one locally actually asked for the tunnel portal to be plonked right next to South Heath, so it is absurd for MPs to now argue that this solves the AONB problem.
“Despite our repeated invitations, nor did the committee ever bother to actually visit the village of Great Missenden for a public meeting and to meet our crucially important business community.
“Given the massive disruption coming for Great Missenden and Prestwood that omission was inexcusable. Of course many people will blame the committee, but the real culprits in all of this are government ministers.
“It’s been clear for many months that Conservative ministers have turned their backs on the heart of the AONB and the many thousands of people still severely blighted by this scheme. A majority Tory government was always going to ram through HS2.”
Cheryl Gillan, MP for Chesham and Amersham, also urged people not to give up the fight for the tunnel, and said: “The report confirms that 60 per cent of the AONB is tunnelled, which means that a third of the designated landscape is not afforded this protection.
“The goal of 100 per cent tunnelling should not be abandoned, and may be looked at in the next stages of the Bill. I welcome the gains we have made but communities like South Heath and Potter Row can’t be forgotten.”