NFU responds to reports on future of HS2

27 January 2023

High speed train with motion blur

NFU Vice President David Exwood has responded to the latest reports on the future of HS2, saying it has again thrown into sharp focus what many farming families living along the route of HS2 have had to endure day in-day out, for years; first-hand experience of the disruption, delay, and spiralling cost of HS2 and they will be dismayed about more uncertainty right along the route.

He said: “It is completely unacceptable that still, after all this time, the communication and lack of engagement between HS2 and farmers remains so very poor. HS2 is still failing to provide relevant information to farmers meaning they do not know what land is being taken as part of this project, for how long, and when it will be returned. In addition, concluding claims and receiving compensation is taking years, leading to mounting financial pressures and serious struggles with stress, worries and anxiety, at a time when farmers and growers are already facing significant increased costs and uncertainty for their business.

“The petition we entered to Parliament last year clearly highlighted how we believe unprecedented measures should be taken to restrict the powers of HS2 Ltd. Our petition covered everything from how compulsory purchase powers are used for permanent and temporary land take; powers to only take rights for utility works; for land taken for habitat mitigation to cover issues including drainage and flooding, weed control, and the prolonged occupation of farmland.

“The NFU recognises the importance of investing in the nation’s transport infrastructure. However, it is essential Britain’s food and farming business owners are treated fairly and with respect, meaning farm businesses must be left in a strong, viable condition where land can still be farmed productively, and that HS2 Ltd provides far greater clarity as the project continues.”