Landowners have called on HS2 Ltd to make a public commitment to accept changes in legislation which would support those affected by compulsory purchase and save millions of pounds for the taxpayer.
The CLA which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses has written to the chairman of HS2 Ltd stating that poor communication and engagement with land and property owners along the HS2 route has resulted in distrust of the company. The organisation calls on Sir David Higgins to commit to building a better relationship with those affected by agreeing to proposed legal changes to the HS2 Hybrid Bill.
CLA President Ross Murray said: “We are appealing directly to HS2 Ltd at this critical stage of the process to address its significant failures in engaging with land and property owners under threat of compulsory purchase. The company must accept commonsense changes in law which go some way to reducing the impact on those losing land to the route, preventing further stress and delays and cost to the taxpayer.”
The letter comes as the CLA gives evidence to the High Speed Rail Bill Select Committee today (3 November) seeking changes to the Bill to help ensure rural land and property owners under compulsory purchase orders are treated fairly. In the letter, the CLA asks HS2 Ltd to commit to building a better relationship with those affected by agreeing to changes to the HS2 Hybrid Bill that would:
1. introduce a Duty of Care which clearly sets out how HS2 Ltd must relate to landowners losing land via compulsory purchase for the project,
2. commit that HS2 Ltd will not permanently take any land that is only required on a temporary basis and,
3. confirm that HS2 Ltd will not compulsorily purchase any more land than is required for the operation and maintenance of the railway.
Mr Murray added: “We will continue to push for legislative powers to protect those whose land, homes and businesses are affected by compulsory purchase for HS2.”
Read the letter in full here