‘Radical reform’ needed to help those affected by HS2

The government must radically reform compulsory purchase laws to ensure farmers affected by HS2 are properly compensated, the Country Land and Business Association has said.

The CLA launched a campaign calling for a change in the law after the government gave the go-ahead to the £17bn high-speed rail link between London and the Midlands on Tuesday (9 January).

It said current compulsory purchase orders did not provide adequate protection for land and property owners who were affected by the 100 mile-long railway.

Previous changes to the law had not been implemented and failed to fix the unfairness of the orders.

Harry Cotterell, CLA president, said an immediate and comprehensive review of compulsory purchase laws was vital to help the 250 farmers who are expected to be affected by the plans.

“A fair compensation package must include a duty of care, compensation for early access and a Bond Scheme to address blight,” he said.

“An independent assessor is needed for people affected by HS2 to ensure the acquisition and construction is conducted fairly.”

The NFU said its priority was to minimise disruption to farmers’ businesses along the route.

“In our consultation response to government, we set out what we expect in terms of compensation for land purchase, in addition to an enforceable code of practice that is in place during the construction phase,” said Ivan Moss, the union’s planning policy advisor.

“We have met HS2 several times to discuss mitigation and compensation that the government must offer as part of the line’s construction.

“We would also ask that the Government sticks to its pledge to do all it can to offer assistance and support to those affected by the route.

“This must include fair compensation to ensure that those living and working in the countryside are not disproportionately impacted by an investment that could benefit the whole country.”

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