Beds, Herts & Bucks

Great Missenden: HS2 protesters bid to save trees

Protesters in tree
Image caption Protesters said they will stay in the trees "for as long as it takes" to stop them from being cut down

Protesters have climbed trees and are refusing to come down in a bid to stop them being felled as part of preparations for HS2.

The trees are due to be cut down to widen a road in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, but campaigners said the work should be halted until a review into the project is published.

Residents said the works would "ruin the environment and local businesses".

A HS2 spokesman said widening the road would "limit disruption" to the area.

One protester, Alan Woodward, said he would be willing to stay in a tree "for as long as it takes" to stop the works, which could take up to 19 weeks, from going ahead.

Image caption Residents are concerned about the impact the roadworks will have on the village

Local gallery owner Carina Haslam said the effect of the roadworks would be "catastrophic" for her business and others in the area.

"There could be 19 weeks worth of roadworks with diversions. People will go elsewhere," she said.

"I would like them to consider waiting until the future of HS2 has been decided before they cut down trees, which will ruin the environment, ruin the look of the village and ruin local businesses."

The rail project has been put back five years and could run more than £20bn over budget but a "go or no-go" decision is due by the end of the year.

The review, led by civil engineer and former chair of HS2 Ltd Douglas Oakervee, will consider whether and how it should proceed.

Image caption A spokesman for HS2 said the work would take construction traffic off local roads

Mark Shaw, deputy leader of Buckinghamshire County Council, said it was "not the council that was pushing for these works".

"We wrote to the government to ask them to stop doing these works until after the review is published," he said.

"I'm equally as irritated and upset as local people."

A spokesman for HS2 said: "As announced by government at the start of the Oakervee review, limited preparatory works on the project will continue in parallel.

"The haul road at Great Missenden will allow us to take construction traffic off local roads and limit disruption to the community."

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