Beds, Herts & Bucks

Buckinghamshire council's £100,000 fight over HS2 plan

Concept image of high-speed train
Image caption The new trains would cut the London to Birmingham journey time to 49 minutes

A council in Buckinghamshire has pledged £100,000 to oppose government plans for a high speed rail link which would run through the area.

The £17bn HS2 scheme would create a non-stop 250mph train link between London and Birmingham.

Aylesbury Vale District Council said the money would be used for a "fighting fund" with other local authorities.

Chancellor George Osborne has said HS2 would "secure the Midlands' future" and create 8,000 jobs.

People affected by its construction, including in Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, would be compensated, he added.

In Buckinghamshire, the government's preferred route would run through Amersham, Wendover, Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury, east of Waddesdon, and then Quainton, Calvert and the edge of Brackley.

'Lives blighted'

The £100,000 will be taken from the General Fund Working Balance, a back-up account for unexpected expenditure, the council said.

It said it hoped it would fund research which would show that the HS2 business case was "totally unviable" and demonstrate the serious detrimental impact the scheme would have on the district.

Council leader John Cartwright said: "This is a very costly scheme, not only financially but also environmentally.

"We share the concerns expressed by local people, whose lives will be blighted by up to 14 trains an hour travelling near their homes at speeds of up to 225 mph.

"We will continue to work... to oppose the scheme based on the overall flaws in the business case and the lack of evidence to support the need for this investment being the answer to the capacity and regeneration issues facing the country."

A full public consultation on the proposals is due to start shortly.

Government-led roadshows about the project will take place in Buckinghamshire during May.

Following the consultation, an announcement will be made in late 2011 on whether the new line is to go ahead and, if so, what its final route would be.

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