Northern phase of HS2 to be scrapped

04 October 2023

HS2 paperwork showing boundary maps.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced that the northern stretch of the HS2 rail project between Birmingham and Manchester is set to be scrapped.

After much speculation, the Prime Minister revealed the news during his closing speech at the 2023 Conservative Party conference in Manchester.

It was announced that HS2 trains will start at Euston as planned and run to Birmingham on the new track – the construction of which has been in progress for a number of years. After Birmingham, high speed trains will continue the journey towards Manchester on existing track.

Commenting on the news, NFU Vice President David Exwood said the announcement will come as a “huge relief” to many, and that it is important there is a “swift and fair resolution” to ensure farms can get back to business.

“For those farming businesses impacted between Birmingham and Manchester, it is vital that land already taken is returned quickly and no safeguarding is left in place. We also need to see outstanding settlements sorted, especially as farmers and growers continue to face financial pressures due to high production costs.”

Safeguarding is where the government can say a route is safeguarded and then no landowner can carry out any development on that area of land. In this case, land can be safeguarded by HS2 for development at a later date.

Safeguarding has been an issue on the planned route to Leeds

David added: “We must not forget those farmers on Phase 1 of HS2 from London to Birmingham who have been feeling the impact of construction most acutely and have not been treated fairly or remain to be compensated fully for the land taken, resulting in severe disruption to their businesses. We will keep up pressure on HS2 to deal with these farmers as a priority.

“It is imperative that all farm businesses impacted by HS2, at whatever stage of the line, are left in a strong, viable condition where land can still be farmed productively.


“It is imperative that all farm businesses impacted by HS2, at whatever stage of the line, are left in a strong, viable condition where land can still be farmed productively."

NFU Vice President David Exwood

“It is also important that the government learns lessons from how HS2 has been handled so that similar issues can be avoided with future infrastructure projects.”

The Prime Minister says that he will use the estimated £36 billion in savings from scrapping phase 2b of HS2 to fund regional rail, buses and roads in the north of England, the Midlands and across the country.

Working on members’ behalf

The announcement comes after years of frustration from NFU members who have been impacted by the disruption caused by the major rail infrastructure project.

The NFU has provided support to members across the planned route, from legal support wherever possible, as well as petitioning MPs to ensure that farmers impacted receive a fair deal.

NFU CallFirst is available to assist any NFU members that are directly affected by the announcement and can provide professional advice on a comprehensive range of issues, including land, legal, planning and environmental issues. Members can contact CallFirst on 0370 845 8458

More on HS2 from NFUonline:

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