Huge sinkhole opens up above a tunnel built for the HS2 high speed rail line leaving residents horrified
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The hole, which is about 6m (20ft) wide, opened up above part of the Chiltern tunnel in Little Missenden, Buckinghamshire. Anti-HS2 campaigners have said it is evidence that tunnelling on the controversial infrastructure project should stop.
Local residents have been left horrified and concerned about the risks the hole presents to the safety of communities in the area. Catherine Bunting, a parish councillor for Great Missenden and Prestwood, said: "Residents want drilling to stop whilst the safety of the aquifer is independently assessed.
"They have expressed concern for the fragile aquifer for years now and HS2 doesn't appear to address any of our concerns. The aquifer feeds drinking water to millions of people in the South East and feeds our chalk streams and rivers."
A spokesperson for HS2, said: "We are aware of a small area of ground movement within a field above the Chiltern tunnels. Investigations are ongoing, but this is likely to be linked to pre-existing ground conditions above the tunnels. The site has been sealed off and there is no risk to the public.”
The Chiltern Tunnel is the longest tunnel on the HS2 route between London and Crewe at ten miles long and will carry passengers under the Chiltern Hills. Two 2,000 tonne machines were launched in the summer of 2021 and are around half way through creating the tunnel.
It is part of the first phase of works for HS2 which is expected to be operational between London and Crewe between 2029 and 2033.