Huge sinkhole appears above HS2 tunnel in Buckinghamshire

Sinkhole in Little Missenden is four meters deep

Martha McHardy
Monday 15 May 2023 15:31 BST
Huge sinkhole appears above construction of HS2 tunnel in Buckinghamshire

A large sinkhole has appeared above a tunnel being built for the high-speed HS2 railway line in Buckinghamshire.

Campaigners said the four-meter deep hole, which appeared above tunnelling in Little Missenden, is a sign that it is “time to stop digging”.

A HS2 spokesperson said the sinkhole is related to“pre-existing ground conditions”.

“A ground movement has occurred within a field above the Chiltern tunnels,” the statement said.

“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.”

HS2 has notified the Environment Agency about the sinkhole.

The leader of Buckinghamshire Council, which has opposed HS2, said there had been warnings for years about possible damage to the land as a result of HS2 construction.

Councillor Martin Tett said: “We’ve been warning for the best part of twelve years. This council has opposed HS2 consistently. The risk of tunnelling and what might happen in terms of ground collapse has been very present - we warned this could happen and lo and behold it has.

“There is nothing to be said in terms of being right about this. But it is very worrying and we must have the right reassurances from HS2.”

The Chiltern Tunnel - above which the sinkhole appeared - is 10 miles long and the longest tunnel on the HS2 route between London and Crewe. Work on the tunnel is said to be about half complete.

HS2 is due to be completed between 2023 and 2029. The high-speed railway line will allow passengers to be able to travel between London and Crewe and will eventually run through Manchester.

The government announced in March that the construction of the Birmingham to Crewe leg of HS2 will be delayed by two years, with the government also “prioritising” the initial services between Old Oak Common in west London’s suburbs and Birmingham Curzon Street.

Presented as a cost-saving measure amid high inflation, the changes are set to see services not stopping in Euston in central London for years to come, with passengers expected instead to travel for half an hour on the Elizabeth Line.

In January, chancellor Jeremy Hunt said there are not “any conceivable circumstances” in which HS2 would not run to its planned Euston terminal.

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