High speed rail Facebook protest

6 April 2010, 11:50 | Updated: 6 April 2010, 11:57

More than 8,000 people have joined a Facebook group against plans for a 250mph train line that would run close to villages including Tingewick and Calvert.

The government wants work on building a new high speed link between London and Birmingham, and then on to Scotland, to start in 2017.  It's hoped it would be finished and operational by 2026.

The creators of the Facebook group are opposed to the line running through the Chiltern Hills - designated an 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty'. 

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 government say a new High Speed Rail link is needed to discourage people from using their cars on the motorway network, and taking short-haul flights.

In announcing the plans for High Speed Two in March 2010, Transport Secretary Lord Adonis said there would be an exceptional hardship scheme for those whose properties might be directly affected by the line.  He added that no firm decision on the project would be made until there had been "very intensive consultation."

Below: The blue line shows the proposed route of the HS2 line through Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire

 Rail route

View the Facebook petition