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Chilterns tunnel proposal to be put before HS2 select committee

Proposal for a 24.2km tunnel as an alternative to the proposed HS2 route through the protected Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty are to be presented to the High Speed Rail (London to West Midlands) Bill select committee next month.

Government plans include a 13km tunnel and a 12km route on two viaducts, two green tunnels and either on embankments or in cuttings but local authorities in the Chilterns region are calling for a longer tunnel.

The study, produced by Peter Brett Associates, was commissioned by Chiltern District Council, together with Aylesbury Vale District Council, Buckinghamshire County Council and the Chilterns Conservation Board. The report proposes a bored tunnel – the Chilterns Long Tunnel - which would mitigate the consequences of the surface alignment.

Four sessions have been scheduled in July for the select committee to be presented with the proposal by members of the commissioning group.

Recognising the design criteria used by HS2 as well as the variable geology and topography of the Misbourne Valley, the study’s findings attempt to avoid much of the impact on Wendover and provide a more sensitive response to the location of the northern portal. According to the report, the proposed tunnel would also avoid the steep summit climb and a tunnel exit at the top of the Chiltern hills, making it a more economic route to operate.

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