NFU petitions MPs over potential impacts of HS2

11 May 2023

An image of glasses and pen on top of HS2 boundary map

The NFU has petitioned MPs to ensure farmers on Phase 2b of the planned high-speed rail route receive a fair deal.

The evidence session took place in front of the High-Speed Rail Bill Select Committee and provided an opportunity for the NFU to raise issues for any farmer who is going to be directly affected by the proposed line from Crewe to Manchester and make their voices heard.

Issues raised by NFU senior rural surveyor Louise Staples and James Findlay, KC, included:

  • inappropriate use of compulsory purchase powers
  • how HS2 needs to do more design work before they take all land permanently, so that if land can only be taken on a temporary basis or only rights are required that this is done
  • not to use compulsory purchase powers to take land for biodiversity net gain
  • only taking rights for utility diversions rather than acquiring the land
  • plans to show land taken within notices where land is taken permanently to show the ownership of one farming business.

“It is essential Britain’s food and farming businesses are left in a strong, viable condition where land can still be farmed productively.”

NFU senior rural surveyor Louise Staples

These points were discussed in detail – the NFU will be appearing again in front of the Select Committee to raise further issues.

You can watch the session in full at: | High Speed Rail (Crewe - Manchester) Bill Select Committee

Greater clarity needed

Louise Staples described the opportunity to present evidence to MPs on behalf of members as “invaluable”, and that it gave the NFU the chance to ask for “important changes to be made”.

"We highlighted to the Committee how farmers and growers along phases 1 and 2a of the route have been treated by HS2 Ltd and the disruption caused to their farming businesses.

"For example, many of our members have suffered long delays to compensation being paid and an abuse of compulsory purchase powers. This has led to mounting financial pressures as well as worry, anxiety and stress, with some farmers even considering their future in the farming sector.

"While the NFU recognises the importance of investing in the nation’s transport infrastructure, it is essential Britain’s food and farming businesses are left in a strong, viable condition where land can still be farmed productively, and that HS2 Ltd provides far greater clarity as the project and work on phase 2b continues.”

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