NFU writes to The Times on sale of HS2 land

25 October 2023

General view of HS2 construction works at Stoneleigh

NFU Vice President David Exwood has written to The Times in response to an article covering comments from the government's infrastructure adviser discussing the sale of HS2 land.

The article - Infrastructure chiefs urge Rishi Sunak to not sell off HS2 land - reports on comments made by Sir John Armitt, chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, where he suggests during an interview with the BBC that “the land should be kept for at least two or three years to give the opportunity for people to revisit that and look at what can be done within that space and find a more cost-effective solution, not write it off today”.

The news follows the Prime Minister's announcement earlier in the month that the high-speed line between Birmingham and Manchester is set to be scrapped.

Read the letter below:

To the editor,

As farmers trying to feed the nation, we do not need any more uncertainty and delay when it comes to HS2. The notion in your article ‘Infrastructure chiefs urge Rishi Sunak to not sell off HS2 land’ that land purchased for the second leg, now scrapped, should be kept for up to three years will create even more uncertainty and further complications for farm businesses.

Businesses which are already suffering from the scale of land acquired permanently and the lack of compensation and mitigation.

It is vital that the DfT (Department for Transport) delivers land back to former landowners and occupiers as swiftly as possible and a fair resolution is reached. This includes ensuring that safeguarding is lifted on land taken out of production for Phase 2a in the coming weeks and no later than the next year for Phase 2b as stated in the government’s latest paper on HS2.

Former landowners must be offered the opportunity to purchase back land taken under compulsory purchase. To do this DfT should deliver the programme highlighted in the government’s own paper as soon as possible so that farm businesses, which have been so badly disrupted by this project can get back to doing what they do best, producing climate-friendly, nutritious food.

David Exwood

NFU Vice President

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