High speed rail route to cut through farmland

Hundreds of farmers could be affected by plans to introduce a high speed rail network between London and the Midlands.

A proposed route for the network, which will feature 250mph trains, was published by Transport Secretary Lord Adonis on Thursday 11 March.

The route runs from the capital, across the Chilterns and up towards Birmingham. At one point it skirts close to the Stoneleigh Park base of the NFU and RASE

The scheme would bring the West Midlands within about half an hour’s travel time of London.

There are also plans to extend the network into Northern England and Scotland at a later date.

The NFU said that while it accepted a high speed railway network was required, care must be taken to assess the impact on food production.

A development of this scale would affect thousands of rural residents and many farmers, it said.

It therefore expected the government to consider how much agricultural land will be lost, the impact on the pattern of farm holdings and the need for sufficient ‘occupation’ bridges to enable farmers to keep farming in an efficient manner.

NFU planning policy adviser Ivan Moss said: “This is a major project that will affect many NFU members. We will be providing advice to them on the process. We will also ensure that farming interests in general are taken into account in the detailed planning of the route.”

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