Work begins to create a tunnel through the Chilterns for new HS2 rail line

  • Video report from ITV News Meridian's Penny Silvester

Contractors working on the new HS2 high speed rail line are starting work on a new ten mile long tunnel in Buckinghamshire.

A 170m long machine will be one of ten used over the next three years to dig the tunnel under the Chiltern Hills.

The controversial new rail link will eventually link London with the Midlands and the north of England, with phase one connecting the capital and Birmingham.

The chief executive of HS2 Ltd says the project is "providing a major boost to the economy in these difficult times".

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the launch of the first TBM is "a landmark moment for the project".

The tunnel will take three years to complete Credit: HS2 Ltd

However campaigners have fought for years against the railway.

The Chiltern Society and its partners, the River Chess Association and Buckinghamshire Berkshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust claim warned that that the fragile chalk aquifer beneath the Misbourne Valley, which provides drinking water to thousands of people in the region could be affected by the tunnelling operations.