The government and the team behind the high-speed rail network HS2 must start engaging with landowners who face being evicted, the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) says.
Chancellor George Osborne announced on Monday (30 November) that the government aims to complete the route between Birmingham and Crewe by 2027 – six years earlier than planned.
Under the plans, thousands of property owners face having land compulsory purchased.
Farmers and landowners situated along this section of the route face years of uncertainty and worry over the impact of HS2 on their businesses.
The CLA said HS2 Ltd, the company behind the £55bn project, and the government “failed to engage early enough with landowners and rural businesses” on the first phase of the scheme, that links London to the south-east coast.
“HS2 Ltd and the government must do all they can to minimise the harm that this presents to investment and jobs”
Ross Murray, CLA
CLA president Ross Murray said: “Their failure has caused delays, frustration and additional unnecessary costs for all sides.”
Therefore, the CLA said the HS2 Ltd and the government must start engaging with landowners affected by the plans immediately.
Mr Murray added: “HS2 Ltd and the government must do all they can to minimise the harm that this presents to investment and jobs.
“It is vital that HS2 Ltd immediately begins meaningful engagement with rural businesses affected by today’s announcement to discuss the best way to minimise the impact of HS2 on their business.”
The government has launched a compensation and assistance consultation for property owners on the route confirmed between Fradley, in the West Midlands and Crewe.
It said the proposals “go well beyond what is required by law”.
However, the NFU said it was “disappointing” that no announcement would be made on the rest of the Y-shaped phase two route until autumn 2016.
This will stifle farm businesses from being able to enter into business contracts, the union said.
NFU president Meurig Raymond said: “HS2 Ltd must do more to make sure all farmers are contacted in regard to this new route and properly informed so they fully appreciate the impact on their businesses.
“Even though a consultation has been launched on a wide package of compensation measures for owner –occupiers similar to those for phase one – this is likely to benefit homeowners again more than agricultural owner occupiers and so a full and fair compensation package for HS2 phase two will be required.
“We continue to raise issues over the assurances given and outstanding petitioning points with HS2 on phase one.”
Find out how three farms will be affected by HS2 by watching this YouTube video: