COUNCILLORS from across the region have vowed to continue to fight the proposals to build High Speed Two (HS2) through the Chilterns.

Councillor Val Letheren, Bucks County Council cabinet member for transport, said: "We don't want it here, we don't want it anywhere. We believe, in the current economic climate, £30billion would be better off spent on improving our current roads and railways."

Philip Hammond, transport secretary, responded to concerns about the economic situation by saying the route would not be built for five years, when the economy should be in a far healthier position.

Ms Letheren added: "He just batted our comments away; he believes the route would increase economic prosperity in the north. We don't feel there is a business case for that and London would be far likelier to benefit from the route than the north."

Councillor Mimi Harker, who represents Amersham on Chiltern District Council, was horrified by the news: "The whole proposal for the Chilterns is absolutely disgusting. The business case has not been proven, how does bringing the north and south together happen by desecrating the Chilterns?"

She also said noise from the high-speed trains would shatter the peace and tranquility of the Chilterns. An anti-HS2 rally is now set to take place in March to allow protesters to make their feeling clear.

Councillor Letheren added: "I think Mr Hammond was quite surprised by how strong the feelings were at the meeting. We will meet again next year to discuss our campaign."

Councillor Martin Tett is cabinet member for environment and planning at BCC and represents The Chalfonts.

He said: "This is Labour's legacy white elephant and will do nothing to close the regional divide between north and south in this country while it will destroy large swathes of the Chilterns. As a county council we are determined to fight this all the way."

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