Karen Kay: the battle continues to protect villages from HS2

PUBLISHED: 11:35 14 September 2015 | UPDATED: 11:35 14 September 2015

Photo by Maureen McLean

Photo by Maureen McLean

Copyright Maureen McLean 2011

As Karen’s favourite ancient woodland receives a lifeline from the HS2 monster, the battle continues to protect the next villages and fields

Residents of my little community are celebrating a small victory. For years we have been campaigning against the monster that is HS2, the high speed rail line that threatens to carve up the Chilterns. Most, as taxpayers, are bemused as to why consecutive governments thought it wise to spend money we don’t have on something we don’t need. All of us, as people who have chosen to make our home in this verdant part of the Home Counties, paying a premium to do so, wanted to protect and preserve the landscape for our own enjoyment, but more importantly, for future generations.

As a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Chilterns should be tucked under the wing of government, which has a legal obligation to ensure it remains safeguarded. So, when the Parliamentary Select Committee announced our campaign for a tunnel had been partially 
successful, we allowed ourselves a quiet celebration. The ancient woodland where my family walk had previously been designated as the site of a vast tunnel portal, where trains would speed along a cutting wider than a par 3 golf hole.

The fields where my daughter flies her kite were being cut in two by a colossal cutting heading north. Now this landscape has been saved, thanks to relentless campaigning and Select Committee recommendations that the tunnel be extended.

But the fight isn’t over. Our neighbours in the next village are now being told the line will emerge in a giant portal in their midst. Many pretty villages will still be devastated by HS2, and our philosophy that we must preserve this green and pleasant land continues.

As this issue hits the newsstands, many will be heading to Westminster to appear before the Select Committee and be questioned on our petitions. Just because HS2 is no longer immediately proposed to be ‘in my backyard’, we still firmly believe in the wider responsibility to conserve this pocket of rural beauty. We will be asking for a longer tunnel through the Chilterns, to ensure visitors and residents can continue to appreciate a landscape loved by so many.



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