High Speed Rail being sped up
10 June 2010, 12:09
Work to build a 250 mile an hour train line close to Brackley and Aylesbury could now start two years earlier than originally planned.
The new government have announced they want to speed up the process started by Labour before the General Election and have 'enabling work' begin in 2015. The original plan was for construction to start in 2017 and the project be completed by 2026.
The new line would connect London and Birmingham, by running through Buckinghamshire and parts of north Oxfordshire and south Northamptonshire.
Another phase of the project - details for which haven't yet been finalised - would see high speed trains run all the way to Scotland.
More than 10,000 people have already joined a Facebook group opposed to plans to route through the Chiltern Hills near Chinnor - designated an 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty'. The Chilterns covers areas like Chinnor and Goring in Oxfordshire and places like Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire.
The group's view is shared by Claire Forrest from the Chilterns Conservation Board: "The Chilterns as an area of countryside is a name that's been known for centuries and for the last 40 or more years it's had national protection as some of the finest countryside that the UK has.
"In official planning terms, only a project of equal national significance is allowed to damage it. The new High Speed Rail line as far as we're concerned has not been proven to be in the national interest."
The High Speed Rail link is designed to discourage people from using their cars on the motorway network, and from taking short-haul flights.
There are plans for an exceptional hardship scheme for those whose properties might be directly affected by the line, and those who may be unable to sell their home because of the project.
Below: The blue line shows the proposed route of the HS2 line through Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire