Save The Misbourne

by Misbourne EP

Save The Misbourne

by Misbourne EP
Misbourne EP
Case Owner
Misbourne Environmental Protection is a group of concerned local residents including Hydrologists and Geologists who are actively working on conservation projects throughout the Chilterns AONB.
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Misbourne EP
Case Owner
Misbourne Environmental Protection is a group of concerned local residents including Hydrologists and Geologists who are actively working on conservation projects throughout the Chilterns AONB.
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Latest: Nov. 20, 2021

Bad News ...

On Friday we learnt that the High Court has rejected our request for a judicial review. See our website for a press release, and a link to the judgement. We will meet the legal team on 22nd November …

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Misbourne Environmental Protection is a group of concerned local residents including Hydrologists and Geologists who are actively working on conservation projects throughout the Chilterns AONB to protect this wonderful landscape. 

As individuals, we have lawfully engaged with the Environmental Impact Assessment process of the High Speed 2 project and petitioned the Select Committees of Parliament for protection of the Misbourne Chalk Stream, Shardeloes Lake and the Chalk Aquifer.

Both individually and collectively these are some of the most important water bodies in South East England. The Aquifer supplies 20% of London’s fresh water. Shardeloes Lake carries an abundance of unique wildlife and is a visually stunning body of water popular throughout Buckinghamshire. The Misbourne is a globally rare Chalk Stream and one of only 210 left in the world. 

These unique systems are at very significant risk from pollution, destruction and total or partial loss as a consequence of the tunnels under construction for the High Speed 2 project. The Environment Agency (EA) have a duty to protect this environment, but instead have permitted HS2 to endanger it. 

HS2 admit that Bentonite and prohibited substances will be used in their tunnel construction and that these substances are hazardous to wildlife. They also admit there have been pollution incidents already and accept there is a risk of total or partial loss of each or all of these vital water bodies as a consequence of their tunnelling works.

Parliament passed the Act which approved the construction of High Speed 2, but they did so expecting statutory bodies, such as the EA, only to approve these works after a full and transparent assessment and review to ensure the designs comply with all of the legislation designed to protect the natural environment.   During petitioning, it was stated that before they approve the tunnel applications, the EA would need to be satisfied that all potential risks to the river and the surrounding environment had been mitigated - but the EA approved the application in under 8 weeks, and so approved the use of hazardous substances that will pollute the Aquifer and cause significantly higher risks to the Misbourne than were disclosed to Parliament.

Time and again we are seeing statutory bodies like Natural England and now the EA fail in their duties to hold High Speed 2 to account and provide proper scrutiny of their works. Nobody wants to resort to legal challenge, since the time is better spent looking after our precious landscape, but regrettably we must challenge these decisions in the hope that the Courts will require the Agency to undertake a proper assessment and protect this precious environment.

What might we achieve?

The deficiencies of the proposed scheme do not (in themselves) provide grounds for a review, but the legal shortcomings of the EA procedures do. Our intention is to force the EA to reconsider the entire tunnel project, take proper account of the Water Framework Directive, and consult interested parties before reaching a decision. This should result in the tunnel running entirely through solid chalk when passing under the Misbourne, and external monitoring of the operation, to ensure an immediate response to any situation which might endanger the Aquifer, Shardeloes Lake or the Chalk Stream.

How can you help?

There are many people that circulate crowd funding challenges but there are few as important as this. We ask that you help us protect these rare and unique water bodies. You can donate in the name of your children, in the name of environmental protection or just because it’s your freshwater they will harm……the very water that will flow from your taps. 

Give what you can and let’s work together to ensure that these people to do their jobs properly. 

Find out more

http://misbourneprotection.co.uk/


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Update 3

Misbourne EP

Nov. 20, 2021

Bad News ...

On Friday we learnt that the High Court has rejected our request for a judicial review. See our website for a press release, and a link to the judgement. We will meet the legal team on 22nd November to see what more can be done in defence of the Misbourne, and if there is any further development, we will update this page.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to support this effort so far.

Update 2

Misbourne EP

Oct. 29, 2021

Suspense continues ...

Dear Supporters -

    After a 2 hour hearing yesterday, involving very technical arguments and a mountain of documentation, judgement was reserved, until next week. Whether this is a good or bad sign is unclear, but the defence were clearly unable to dismiss our case as 'unarguable', as in previous documents, and were obliged to defend their actions - with arguments which seemed distinctly shaky in places. 

   At any rate,  our case was not dismissed out of hand, which is an achievement. MEP would like to thank all our supporters, and our legal team, David Forsdick QC and Rowan Smith, for the tremendous amount of work they have put in to allow us to proceed this far. Let's hope it will be rewarded next week.

Update 1

Misbourne EP

Oct. 22, 2021

Hearing Date announced

Dear Supporters,

We intended to publish an update last weekend, but during a hectic week, each version that we prepared was overtaken by events, before the final text was agreed.

Our initial foray in the High Court via written submissions proved that our Action was brought in time, and a full hearing has now been bought forward to  the 28th  October at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand – at the request of the Judiciary. It is not clear why this action was taken, but it is unlikely that it was for our benefit.

As our original counsel is not available that week, our solicitors (Leigh Day) have obtained a replacement, at short notice – David Forsdick of Landmark Chambers. We are most grateful to David, for stepping in at very short notice, and to our geology team, for helping him get to grips with rather complex arguments in a few days. Our new QC will present the case, and we will finally have our “Day in (open) Court”, when all of our legal challenges (set out on our website) will be examined in detail – ending almost 12 long years of misrepresentation and obfuscation by HS2, the Department for Transport and the Environment Agency.

How can you Help?

While our financial position remains good, we have not yet reached the target needed for the full Judicial Review, and the requirement to instruct a new counsel will be an additional expense - so please encourage your friends and acquaintances to support our Campaign

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