Campaigns

Over the years the Parish Council has become involved in a number of campaigns – either to improve things in the village, or sadly more often to try and prevent things from becoming worse.

The three most significant campaigns of the past few years are:

HS2
Rural broadband
NATS (National Air Traffic Services)

HS2

Overview

HS2 was first proposed in 2009, and the Parish Council have been actively working to protect The Lee ever since.

The Parish Council supported the creation of CRAG (the Chiltern Ridges Action Group) to campaign actively against the proposed route and design of HS2, and separately petitioned both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, actively supporting the tunnelled alternative for the AONB developed by CRAG.

Since Royal Assent for the Phase 1 Bill has been given, the Parish Council meets regularly with HS2 Ltd and their contractors to understand local impacts and argue (sadly sometimes with limited success) for mitigation against both visual and aural intrusion. The Parish Council is also in regular contact with our MP, Dame Cheryl Gillan, who has escalated the Council’s concerns to appropriate ministers on a number of occasions.

CRAG

The Chiltern Ridges HS2 Action Group (CRAG) was originally created to represent local views in trying to protect the Chiltern Ridges area and its residents from the adverse impacts of the construction and running of HS2. Working closely with local authorities and other interested parties, it campaigned vigorously during the Parliamentary stages of the HS2 Hybrid Bill from 2010 through to 2017 to achieve improved mitigation for the area. It held regular well-attended public meetings for affected residents. In February 2017, with Royal Assent for the Phase 1 Bill due to be given and with construction in the area due to start, CRAG stepped aside from its role in representing local residents – recognising that Parish, District and County Councils were better placed to represent local interests during the actual construction phase. CRAG continues to hold a watching brief on HS2 issues and Board members (see below) remain available for advice and support.

CRAG is affiliated to both national campaign groups: Stop HS2 and HS2AA (the HS2 Action Alliance).

Contacts:
Simon Morris (Chair) (telephone icon 01494 837721)
Tim Hart (Treasurer) (telephone icon 01494 837328)
Kathryn Gurney (telephone icon 01494 837016)
Barnaby Usborne (telephone icon 01494 837382)
Michael Jepson (telephone icon 01494 837602)
Colin Sully (telephone icon 01494 837760)
Mike Johnstone (telephone icon 01494 862693)

Useful documents

There has been far too much correspondence on HS2 to include on this website, but significant documents are:
Petition to the House of Commons
Presentation to the House of Commons Select Committee
Petition to the House of Lords
Presentation to the House of Lords Select Committee and accompanying exhibits

Going forward

The Parish Council continues to meet with HS2 Ltd and their contractors on a regular basis, arguing for compliance with Undertakings and Assurances given by the Bill, and for effective mitigation. Each edition of the Newsletter contains a summary of the latest news and actions, whilst details of any public events are additionally publicised both on this website and the Forum.

Every cloud has a silver lining

HS2 has two funds which are used to help with community projects in areas affected by its construction and operation: the Communities and Environments Fund (CEF) and the Business and Local Economy Fund (BLEF).

The Parish Council successfully applied for CEF funding of over £40,000, which has been used to rebuild the fort in the children’s playground.

Rural broadband

Fibre broadband cabinet - if only

It may not always be immediately apparent, but the Parish Council first became involved in campaigning for fibre broadband back in 2014.

The rollout is managed by Connected Counties (who provide the funding) in conjunction with Openreach (who are responsible for the work).

Despite ever moving delivery dates, and a seeming lack of accountability, The Parish Council chase for updates and argue on parishioners’ behalf on a regular basis – including escalation to Dame Cheryl Gillan MP on occasion. The latest situation (in mid 2019) is that Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) is now available across the whole exchange. Unfortunately this relies on copper wires to the premises, and, as the speed drops sharply as the distance from the cabinet increases, many residents are still not seeing any benefit. The next stage for premises remote from a cabinet is to install Fibre to the Premises (FTTP), which involves stringing fibre along the telephone poles and through underground conduits. Much of this work has been done, but the final section along Chesham Lane is more complex as apparently the trees interfere with the fibre. The latest estimate is that this work will be completed later in 2019 ….

NATS

a plane in flight

In 2008, the National Air Traffic Service (NATS) proposed changes to the flight paths over south-east England, which would have resulted in lower flying over the Chilterns AONB.

Due to the fact that we are already on relatively high ground, the changes would have affected the hilltop villages of the AONB more than other properties on lower ground, by reducing flight paths to a minimum effective height of less than 2500′.

Following significant amounts of lobbying throughout the impacted area, including by the Parish Council, the proposals were eventually dropped. šWhilst protection of the AONB was not the sole reason for the proposal to be shelved, NATS acknowledged the case made by local councils and representatives of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) that the tranquillity of the Chilterns should not be compromised.

Useful documents

Notes on the background from Paul Field (local resident and pilot) – please note that the majority of links in this document are no longer valid
Summary by David Jones (reproduced from the old web site)
Parish Council’s letter of opposition to NATS