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19.08.16

DfT updates HS2 safeguarding directions after Commons scrutiny

The DfT has updated the safeguarding directions to local planning authorities situated along the phase 1 route of HS2 after a number of changes agreed during the House of Commons Select Committee scrutiny.

The improvements to the route made during the committee process will mean fewer properties are affected by the high-speed line between London and Birmingham, DfT said.

Changes include a 1.6-mile extension to the deep-bored tunnel under the Chilterns, which will preserve almost 30 acres of woodland and reduce the scale and duration of local construction activity.

The new safeguarding directions also cover the realignment of the route near Lichfield to allow the railway to pass under the A38, the West Coast Main Line and the South Staffordshire Line, rather than run over them on viaducts and make to crossings over the Trent and Mersey Canal.

The committee also agreed a range of other smaller route modifications.

The directions serve to both protect the land required for HS2 and to trigger statutory compensation arrangements for the affected homeowners. Owner-occupiers within safeguarding areas who qualify are able to apply to the government to purchase their property and cover some extra costs.

A range of discretionary property schemes are also in place, going “well beyond” what is required by law, DfT said – including measures aimed at people affected by the high-speed line who live outside the safeguarded area.

The news come after a string of criticisms to HS2 Ltd’s compensation scheme and general community engagement, including from its own Residents’ Commissioner, Deborah Fazan, who said the compensation package must be reviewed. The company was also accused of not listening to Camden residents over modifications to the Hampstead Road Bridge plans.

(Top image c. Rui Vieira/PA Wire)

 

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