Farmers’ concerns over HS2 laid out to MPs

MPs have been told the compulsory purchase arrangements for HS2 are unfair and need adjusting.

The NFU and CLA have both given evidence to a parliamentary select committee taking evidence on the high-speed rail link.

Andrew Shirley, CLA chief surveyor and expert witness, said: “The compulsory purchase arrangements for HS2 are grossly unfair and create a David verses Goliath situation between the government and individuals most affected by the scheme.

See also: Farmers fight for fair HS2 deal goes to parliament

“I hope the select committee listens to the CLA and forces HS2 Ltd to introduce an enhanced complaints commissioner and also to pay for the land they want to acquire before they enter. These two small, simple changes will make a tremendous difference to landowners and businesses affected by HS2.”

Andrew Clark, NFU head of policy services, added: “Robust arrangements must be in place to minimise the impact on farmers’ productivity and profitability.

“Farmers affected by HS2 must be put back in a position to run productive farms as soon as possible.

“Our major criticism is that the HS2 project has not given farmers sufficient time to plan and adjust their farms or the funding to do that.”

Northamptonshire farmer Nigel Bellingham, who was called as a witness to the select committee, said: “The reforms proposed by the CLA are essential to my business, which has been in my family for almost a century. Although we have been negotiating with HS2 Ltd to try to limit the damage the railway will do, their current plans provide no certainty for my business and may destroy it and leave me with little hope for the future. 

“The select committee must listen and ensure local businesses do not suffer unnecessarily because of HS2.”

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