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Campaigners to launch new case for HS2 alternative

The High Speed 2 Rail link would run through Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Credit: ITV News

Campaigners are due to launch a new case for an underground rail line as an alternative to the High Speed Two link through the Chilterns.

Several villages in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire are in the path of the proposed route.

Several councils, including Chiltern District, have commissioned a new report into a better and viable alternative.

More people to get HS2 compensation and help

More residents affected by the £50 billion HS2 high-speed rail project are to get Government compensation and assistance.

The new deal involves owner-occupiers of homes and small businesses between generally 60 metres and up to 120 metres from the line from London to Birmingham, which will carve through Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

Those affected can submit an application to HS2 Ltd to purchase their property at the full, unblighted value under the voluntary purchase scheme.

This is the value of the property as if there were no plans for HS2.

As an alternative to the voluntary purchase scheme, these eligible property owners will also have the option to accept a cash offer of 10% of that same value and stay in their homes and businesses. This will support people who want to remain in their community.

Those beyond the 120 metre boundary but within 300 metres of the line in rural areas will, following Royal Assent of the Phase One HS2 Hybrid Bill, be able to apply for a homeowner payment ranging from £7,500 to £22,500.

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Anti-HS2 campaigners raise concerns over bat habitats

Campaigners are concerned HS2 will mean bats could lose their homes Credit: ITV Meridian

The controversial proposed high speed rail link between London and the West Midlands, has run into more opposition. Wildlife campaigners claim a rare species of bat could lose its habitat if the 42 billion pound scheme goes ahead.

ITV Meridian spoke to Matt Jackson from the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust.

Anger at news that burial sites will be dug up to make way for HS2

The Church of England has criticised plans for a high speed rail link through Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. The Archbishops' Council has expressed concerns at proposals to dig up a number of burial sites along the route.

More than 30,000 graves must be exhumed to make way for HS2 including two and a half thousand within the ruins of St Mary the Virgin Church in Stoke Mandeville. See our report from Mel Bloor

Church of England 'opposed' to HS2

The Church of England has announced it's opposition to the Government's controversial HS2 high speed rail line.

One of the Church's most powerful bodies, the Archbishop's Council says the route which would pass through Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, will desecrate thousands of graves.

In a statement a Department for Transport spokesman says throughout the development, burial grounds have been avoided as much as possible. ITV Meridian spoke to Helen Glass of HS2 Ltd.

HS2 is "opportunity to create jobs and develop skills"

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin gave this statement after MPs voted in favour for work to being on HS2 in 2017:

By voting in favour of the hybrid Bill, Parliament has made a clear commitment to a key part of the government’s long term economic plan. HS2 is a once in a generation opportunity to create jobs and develop skills, provide the extra space we need on our rail network for commuters and freight and better connect our biggest cities.

I am aware of the concerns some who live very close to the HS2 route have. I am confident however that by working together we can ensure this vital new north-south railway is designed in the right way, and we will have spades in the ground in 2017 as planned.

– Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin

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MPs vote in favour of HS2, set to be built in 2017

Work on HS2 will get under way in 2017 Credit: ITV News

Work on the High Speed Two rail link will begin in 2017 as planned after MPs voted in favour of it last night.

The bill passed its 2nd reading in the Commons with MPs voting 452 to 41 in favour.

Several villages are in the path of the proposed route through Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

The government has confirmed that MPs will vote on the HS2 Phase 1 Hybrid Bill later this month.

Former Cabinet minister Cheryl Gillan, who led the rebellion against the HS2 scheme which will cut through Tory heartlands in the Chilterns, indicated that she would keep up the fight by scrutinising the project "inch by inch" as it progressed through Parliament.

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Stop HS2 campaigners protest outside parliament

Supporters of the Stop HS2 campaign gathered outside the Houses of Parliament ahead of the second reading of the High Speed Rail Bill later today.

The protest comes amid suggestions senior Tories will rebel against proposals to build the high-speed rail link over environmental and economic concerns.

A 'Stop HS2' demonstration took place outside parliament today. Credit: ITV News
The full HS2 link between London, the Midlands and the North of England is expected to cost £42.6 billion. Credit: ITV News
David Cameron has said he expected a big Commons majority in favour of HS2. Credit: ITV News

HS2 protest to take place outside Houses of Parliament

HS2 protest will take place today Credit: ITV News

People campaigning against the High Speed Two rail link are due to protest outside the Houses of Parliament this afternoon. Several villages are in the path of the proposed route through Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

The government says the line will create thousands of jobs and boost the economy.

Underground HS2 raises hopes for locals

Local businesses and residents are hopeful that the HS2 rail will use an underground tunnel and protect existing wildlife areas. If the tunnel goes ahead, it provides a solution for the new high speed railway link as the countryside will remain largely unaffected.

Juliette Fletcher has been to find out how the HS2 plans affect those living near the proposed line.

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