Lib Dem MEP Phil Bennion is calling for a deep bore tunnel to take the HS2 railway line under the village of Burton Green in Warwickshire, after meeting local residents.
The MEP, who is Lib Dem transport spokesman in the European Parliament, spoke out after visiting Burton Green to meet village representatives and hear their fears for their community’s future if the current plan for a ‘cut and cover’ tunnel to take the 250 mph railway line through the heart of the village goes ahead.
|Phil Bennion MEP with Cllr John Whitehouse and concerned villagers at Burton Green, Warwickshire.
He was accompanied by local Lib Dem county councillor John Whitehouse and district councillor Ann Blacklock to meet residents and campaigners at a meeting in the village hall on Saturday February 9th.
A long term supporter of high speed rail, Dr Bennion has consistently advocated alternative routes based on existing motorway corridors and a lower maximum design speed to allow greater flexibility and better connections with the existing rail network.
However, if the government continues with the current 'preferred route' for HS2, he believes greater efforts should be made to mitigate the environmental impacts on affected communities.
Residents in Burton Green fear the lengthy construction phase of a cut and cover tunnel, which will affect 60 properties, could destroy this vibrant community. After listening to residents at a packed public meeting in the village hall and inspecting the plans, Dr Bennion said he accepted the case for a deep bore tunnel.
He said: “Though I back HS2 in principle, I have a adopted a twin track approach to win the best possible route and proper environmental mitigation measures.
“A bored tunnel under Burton Green is clearly justified and I will try to secure it. I am seeking a meeting with the Secretary of State to discuss various issues with the current preferred route, including Burton Green.
“The residents of this village have every right to be given the same consideration as objectors in the Chilterns where a deep bore tunnel has now been specified.”
Cllr John Whitehouse said: “I’m extremely grateful to Phil Bennion for coming to Burton Green at short notice at the weekend, and for his positive backing of the case for a deep bore tunnel under the village.
“If HS2 can justify one under the Chilterns, then the same applies here! HS2 engineers accept that a deep bore tunnel is technically feasible, therefore the only argument against it is cost. What price the future of a whole community?”