Alliance wants more funds for HS2 ‘victims’
MP backs request from the 51m group
AN ALLIANCE of councils united against HS2 has written to the government to ask for more funds for those who are negatively affected by the line.
The 51m group, which was set up to oppose the project, wrote to MP Robert Goodwill, undersecretary of state for transport, to express its disappointment over the Community and Environment Fund, which it feels is inadequate.
In August, members of the group wrote to David Cameron to request that a fund was set up to help communities and businesses which are affected by the line, but are not covered by existing compensation or mitigation plans.
In response, the government set up the Community and Environment Fund up to a total of £30million, which 51m says is insufficient.
The government has not revealed how it decided on the figure of £30m, and it has also not been stated how the money would be split between those who are affected, leading 51m to become concerned that people will end up having to bid against each other for the money.
The group feels that all of those who are affected should be guaranteed help, and that more money is needed for the fund.
Chairman of the group, Bucks County Council leader Martin Tett, said: “The councils consider an adequate amount for a community and environment fund alone is around £230m.
“Such a figure is broadly equivalent to £1m per km of phase one of HS2, representing around one per cent of its construction costs.”
Cheryl Gillan, MP for Chesham and Amersham, also backed 51m’s demands for money to be added to the fund.
She said: “Local communities must have the final say and control over any fund so that they can decide on the most beneficial projects and the timing of any spend on those projects.
“However, the funds need to be generous, particularly for the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which will be disproportionately adversely affected by HS2.”