HS2 approval: Government urged to treat farmers and landowners on the route fairly

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is urging the UK Government to deliver fairness to landowners after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the controversial HS2 high-speed rail link will go ahead.

Supporters of HS2 say it will improve transport times, increase capacity, create jobs and rebalance the UK’s economy.

However, preparation and construction have already had a significant impact on businesses on the route in the past 10 years.

Fairness for landowners

The CLA said it believes the number of landowners expected to be affected by the building of HS2 to be in the thousands, with some even having their farms “cut in half”.

CLA president Mark Bridgeman said: “This is the chance for UK Government to ensure that it delivers fairness and certainty to landowners who lose land and often their livelihoods to the scheme.

Where land is taken under compulsory purchase, it is only fair that full payment of compensation is delivered immediately when HS2’s occupation takes place and that a duty of care is imposed on the company to mitigate the impact on the affected businesses.

“This would be a real step change to what has happened over the past 10 years of this scheme,” he concluded.

HS2 developments so far

The plans have sparked much concern among the rural community, especially as the costs are expected to spiral from the £56 billion estimate.

The projected costs of HS2 have continually spiralled since its first announcement when it was projected to cost £32-33 billion.

Image-source-Department-for-Transport-UK
Image source: Department for Transport UK

The real work on Stage 1 of HS2 began in 2017, while it was first proposed all the way back in 2009.  The project was green-lighted in 2012, as a Y-shaped network which would link London with Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.

The railway line would carry 400m-long trains, with up to 1,100 seats onboard each train.

The project is split into two divisions:
  • Stage 1: London to Crewe via Birmingham;
  • Stage 2: Crewe to Wigan and Manchester extension, Birmingham to Leeds extension.

Construction on Stage 1 is due to be completed some time between 2028 and 2031; with Stage 2 said to be completed between 2035 and 2040.