HS2: farm­ers must speak up

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

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

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