The CLA is urging HS2 Ltd that today’s Phase Two B route announcement must mark a turning point in previously poor engagement with landowners and rural businesses.
The organisation, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, is calling for HS2 Ltd to recognise that it has a duty of care to those affected by compulsory purchase of land or property for the scheme.
The Government has today set out its preferred route for Phase 2 from Crewe to Manchester and the West Midlands to Leeds. Click here to view the route.
CLA President Ross Murray said: “Today’s announcement confirms for a number of families, farms and rural businesses that they will suffer the devastating impacts of having their property or land taken by compulsory purchase. This follows six years of uncertainty already which has made it near impossible for them to plan for the future of their lives and businesses.
“HS2 Ltd has a track record of poor communication with the businesses affected by the railway. Today’s announcement of the route for Phase 2 must mark a turning point, there are no excuses now for the usual fog of uncertainty. Those affected must have certainty on what land or property will be taken, when it will be taken, and whether the owners will get it back after construction, so they can plan for the future as best they can.
“We have been working with Government for a number of years on proposals to make the compulsory purchase system fairer. Now is the time for Government to turn these proposals into true reform, for example to ensure that HS2 Ltd takes only the land and property that is really needed for construction, and that they minimise the impact on rural businesses along the route. HS2 Ltd must work with farmers and landowners to find the best sites for replacement habitat, rather than arbitrarily allocating land next to the line and worsening the impact on rural businesses. It is our firm belief that HS2 Ltd has a duty of care, which it has to date failed to recognise.”
The CLA has been working to support farmers and landowners affected by compulsory purchase acquisitions, and continues to petition for changes to the law in the HS2 Bill currently before the House of Lords.