Newsletter 74 - 8 July 2016


Dear supporters,

CCG challenge on the right to petition (Locus Standi) on HS2 Hybrid Bill by Government

As you will be aware, along with some 400 other petitioners, the Chiltern Countryside Group received a challenge to its Locus Standi (ie right to petition the House of Lords HS2 Select Committee) from the Secretary of State for Transport (the Promoter of the HS2 Hybrid Bill scheme).

CCG was scheduled to appear before the Lords' Select Committee on Monday next, 11 July 2016 to appeal against this challenge.

However, in the light of the transcripts of proceedings and the many refusals of Locus Standi by the Committee for local individuals, groups and businesses, all with deserving and we believe, appropriate cause, after much deliberation and discussion, the Steering Group has reluctantly decided to withdraw the CCG petition. We are extremely disappointed to do this but believe it the right decision in the prevailing circumstances. You can read the letter (attached) which CCG wrote to the chairman of the Committee, Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe, which sets out our position and decision. At times, it is best to pick your battles!

We will continue to work on your behalf in close co-operation with the Chilterns Conservation Board (CCB), our local authorities, including Parish Councils, and our MPs (should they be granted Locus Standi) who, we know, will all do their utmost to ensure the voice of people in the Chilterns is heard loudly and clearly.

It seems rather incredible that all the MPs whose constituencies are affected by the HS2 route have also been challenged on Locus Standi. On Monday, 11 July, at 2.00pm, Cheryl Gillan, the MP for Chesham and Amersham, will be presenting an appeal against this challenge to the Select Committee on behalf of all her colleagues. We wish Cheryl every success and of course, if anyone wishes to support her personally on the day, the hearing is open to the public. If there are particular matters which you would like raised by your MP, if they are successful in being granted the right to petition, do get in touch with them.

You can access the uncorrected transcripts of the hearings:

London Luton Airport

Members of the CCG Steering Group will join with Board members of the CCB in meeting with senior management of LLA on Wednesday next, 13 July. Do please let us know urgently if there is anything which you wish us to bring to the meeting on your behalf. We now meet regularly with LLA which is a very positive opportunity to work together to reduce and mitigate the impact of the airport's operations over the Chilterns AONB. With the future plans for Heathrow still in abeyance, this kind of forum becomes increasingly important.

And finally - a note on political leanings on HS2

Out of the two candidates, Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom, now competing to lead the Conservative Party and become Prime Minister, Andrea Leadsom has previously campaigned against the present HS2 scheme, which runs through her Northamptonshire constituency. She has also formally stated (according to the press!) that she will seek a review of HS2 should she be elected. But of course it will be for Party members to make a decision on which of these two very able women they prefer.

We wish you all a relaxing and rewarding summer - with hopefully, time to enjoy some sunshine and tranquility.

Best wishes to you all.

Steering Group

Chiltern Countryside Group

CCG letter House of Lords HS2 Select Committee July 2016.doc