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Villages unite to fight off high speed rail link
FIVE villages in north Oxfordshire have banded together to fight the proposed high-speed Rail route through the county.
The High-Speed Rail 2 (HS2) line was proposed last year to provide a fast train link between London and Birmingham by 2025.
The planned line would travel through north east Oxfordshire, affecting villages including Finmere, Mixbury, Fringford, Fulwell and Newton Purcell.
Now concerned villagers have formed an action group called Villages of Oxfordshire Opposing HS2 (VoxOpp).
Chairman Bernie Douglas said their main objective was to get the line routed away from their villages, as well as raising awareness and getting answers about the impact the line would have on the countryside.
He said: “There is a lot of support for this cause. We held a meeting in Mixbury in April before the group was formed and more than 80 people attended.
“This was in a village of only 100 houses, so the support is clear. People want answers.”
If built, trains on the line could reach speeds of up to 250mph and up to 36 trains would travel through the county every hour.
Mr Douglas said there would be a major impact on the countryside, such as noise pollution.
The group has written to Transport Minister Philip Hammond and the company HS2 Ltd but has yet to receive an answer.
Mr Douglas said: “There are a raft of issues we need answered, but at the moment we are not getting any information.”
“It is like trying to take on the whole industry with our hands tied behind our backs.”
He added: “A train running at 250mph every three minutes in each direction is not something you can just close your window to and ignore.
“This will change the character of the landscape for good, as well as uprooting lives and sometimes whole communities on the route.”
A Department of Transport spokesman said: “No final decision will be made on whether to proceed with a high speed line or on its route until any scheme has undergone a full public consultation, giving people an opportunity to have their say.”