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Three Buckinghamshire County Councillors are calling for HS2 to apologise for failing the community

This comes after the announcement that 250 acres of countryside is being stripped of all woodland and hedgerows during nesting season.

Land owners have been given less than a months notice for the work which is making way for a Infastructure Maintenance Depot.

Bucks County councillors, Cllr John Chilver, Cllr Angela Macpherson and Cllr Charlie Clare have written a letter asking the CEO of HS2 and the Secretary of State for Transport to attend the upcoming Community Engagement event to explain. 

In the letter they point out that Mark Thurston has gone against the standards set out in the HS2 Community Engagement Plan:

“One of our guiding principles is to be a good neighbour and respect the communities we are working with and the environment in which they live.

“The legacy of HS2 will be judged on how the communities up and down the route feel they have been treated by us and our contractors.

“For me as Chief Executive this legacy is as important as our ability to deliver the railway safely, on time and to budget.”

Cllr Charlie Clare says:

“Destroying countryside during bird nesting season is environmentally criminal and there is absolutely no need.

“HS2 is so far behind schedule already that there are no designs, no contractors and no costings for this IMD build. Indeed, none of the line between the Chilterns and Leamington Spa has been designed or costed yet and the whole project is already over budget, over schedule and is in complete chaos!

“There is absolutely no need to rip the heart out of the Steeple Claydon countryside now – during bird nesting season. In the Community Engagement Plan, Mark Thurston talks of building ‘mutually beneficial, long term relationships’.

“Abusive – is the only way I could describe HS2’s relationship with Steeple Claydon over the way this has been done.”

Since this announcement was made an action group has been formed and two local meetings have been arranged for the following dates:

·         Calvert – 27th February – more details here

·         Steeple Claydon – 7th March – more details here

They are hoping to get answers to the following questions:

·         Mr Thurston – If the design of the line and the IMD is not yet completed – and no plans have been submitted to the AVDC planning department – why is it so urgent to cause this environmental destruction during bird nesting season. Also without showing detailed plans, how can you reassure the land-owner and residents that parts of this site are not being cleared needlessly.

·         Rt Hon Chris Grayling – Please can you make the case for the first phase for HS2 between London and Birmingham and reassure us that you have confidence in HS2, the budget and the schedule.

Cllr Clare added: 

“It is time for residents voices to be heard and for HS2 to treat the community with the respect they promised.”