*NFU win - HS2 reduction of permanent compulsory land take*
The NFU has “argued persuasively” on farm land-take according to High Speed Rail Committee chair Robert Syms who has now requested that HS2 work with the organisation on a model agreement in relation to agricultural land required on a temporary basis.
The NFU urged the HS2 Select Committee when giving evidence last week to cater for the hundreds of farm businesses blighted by the construction of High Speed 2.
Mr Syms suggested that farmers should have a licence which provides a right of access and inspection during construction.
The NFU will be seeking clarification that the committee also agrees with us that HS2 should enter into such a licence or lease agreement with farmers in all cases where relation to agricultural land is required on a temporary basis, allowing the farmer to retain the freehold.
NFU director of policy Andrew Clark said: “This is an extremely positive message for our members affected by HS2.
"The HS2 Committee have indicated that they agree with us that HS2 has sought to acquire land on a permanent basis in too many circumstances, especially when only required during the construction phase and then returned to the farmer. The Committee has also agreed that HS2 should work with NFU, and other stakeholders, to address this issue.
“The advantage of a licence or lease agreement for the temporary land take is that HS2 cannot hold land for possible future development, nor require farmers to purchase their own land back at a future higher price.
"Another benefit is that farmers will not face a capital gains tax liability from the proceeds of compensation, as the land would in effect be rented out to HS2.”