HS2: farmers must speak up
WITH 58 farms set to face ‘significant adverse effects’ from a number of changes to the HS2 route and 1,730 hectares (4,274 acres) of agricultural land cited as needed for construction, now is the time for farmers to speak up. According to the working environmental impact assessment (EIA), a number of farms will be cut off from or are expected to lose their land, either temporarily or on a permanent basis. In some cases, the demolition of farm and even residential buildings is said to be required.
In addition, the scheme will include the permanent loss of about 6½ hectares (16 acres) of ancient woodland, 71 miles of hedgerows and 158 ponds.
The Government is currently consulting over these edits, which focus on the 37-mile stretch between the West Midlands and Crewe, known as Phase 2a, and further changes may yet be identified. ‘The full route will then be published when we deposit the Hybrid Bill in 2017, at which point those affected will have an opportunity to comment,’ explains Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.
‘It’s no good sitting back and waiting for them to take the land,’ says Liz Farrall, senior surveyor for Fisher German. ‘If land is being severed, then you might need to put up additional livestock buildings or you might need to start looking elsewhere.’
The deadline for responding to the consultations is November 7. Of course, the Hybrid Bill will first need Royal Assent, but the Government has indicated that it wants to deposit the Bill next year and hopes to start construction in 2020, with a view to the line being operational by 2027. For full details of the proposal, visit www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ high-speed-two-limited