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Woodland protected as HS2 confirms bill amendment for tunnel extension

HS2 has said that the hybrid bill will be amended to include extension of the deep-bored Chilterns tunnel in line with the recommendations of the HS2 select committee.

Under the plan, the tunnel at South Heath will be extended by 2.6km to benefit residents in South Heath, Hyde Heath and Great Missenden.

According to HS2, by continuing the main tunnel all the way past the village, a separate green tunnel, designed to reduce noise and help blend the line into the landscape, would no longer be needed. The rail route developer also said that as well as reducing the scale and duration of local construction activity, the new proposals would also preserve 12ha of woodland at the nearby Mantle’s Wood, Sibley’s Coppice and Farthings Wood.

Transport minister Robert Goodwill said: “We are committed to listening to the communities that live along the HS2 route as we deliver the railway’s important national benefits. These new proposals will protect woodland and mean less disruption for people living nearby. It is essential that we take their views into account so that we build this vital railway in the best way possible.”

HS2 managing director of development Alison Munroe added that major infrastructure projects like HS2 will always be about striking a balance between engineering, cost and environmental impacts. “We will remain open to potential design improvements and I believe today’s proposals would deliver a successful long-term solution for South Heath, Hyde Heath, Great Missenden and the wider area,” she said.

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