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19.01.17

Government agrees ‘fair’ HS2 compensation for Camden residents

The government has accepted the House of Lords’ call to be fairer to residents of Camden affected by HS2, committing to offer them a “fair, reasonable and proportionate” amount of compensation.

This will include amending the HS2 Bill to offer residents the chance to sell their homes for full value rather than focusing on compulsory purchase powers.

In its final report on the HS2 Bill last December, the House of Lords select committee said that Camden residents should receive more compensation because of the scale of disruption they would face as a result of the high-speed rail project, particularly noise pollution.

The committee argued that the statutory scheme did not strike “a fair balance between town and country residents” because it was based on the assumption that construction noise did not constitute a permanent problem for quality of life, which the committee deemed to be incorrect due to the unprecedented scale of the noise that residents will face.

The government’s acceptance that compensation will be required above the statutory scheme in order to meet residents’ human rights could yet be expanded to households in Hillingdon and Birmingham who may also be affected by the HS2 Phase 1 construction.

“The government accepts the committee’s strong recommendation that, in the case of those households in Camden and Old Oak Common, those households (if any) in Hillingdon and Birmingham and those households in close proximity to a construction compound or spoil heap that are subject to severe and prolonged noise and disturbance resulting from the construction of HS2, compensation should be offered in addition to any statutory remedy for which they may be eligible,” the government’s response to the report read.

“The government will develop and bring into effect in a timely way a scheme of compensation for that purpose. The purpose of the scheme will be to provide a fair and proportionate remedy for the effects of severe and prolonged noise and disturbance resulting from the construction of HS2.”

The scheme will also consider the mitigation provided by noise insulation along with the difference between temporary disturbance in urban areas and permanent rural impact.

The government added that the scheme will be founded upon a “clear and objective eligibility criterion or criteria” specifically tailored to HS2.

Camden Council welcomed the announcement but said the government must do more to fund the necessary redevelopment of Euston station as part of the HS2 plans, along with increasing the amount of materials transported by rail to prevent road disruption in the area.

“It’s taken years of Camden pressure and hard negotiation, but the government has now for the first time said it is prepared to offer more compensation to Camden residents most affected by HS2,” said Cllr Phil Jones, cabinet member for regeneration, transport & planning on Camden Council.

“The government now has the opportunity to deliver the fair deal for Camden the council and residents have long campaigned for.”

“Our priority will be to scrutinise the new compensation scheme when details become available, to ensure that both tenants and property owners who face serious disruption are eligible for compensation as suggested by the House of Lords.”

The HS2 Bill remains with the House of Lords for final scrutiny and debate over amendments. Last week the government was forced to reconsider last-minute amendments that would have given it further wide-reaching powers over traffic and parking, with the DfT set to publish the amended drafting shortly.

It is expected that the Bill will receive Royal Assent in early February, putting the Bill into law and finally giving HS2 Ltd permission to start building the railway.

(Image c. HS2 Ltd)

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Comments

Lutz   20/01/2017 at 00:40

What does all that mean in terms of real money? What is it that will have to be given up to fund all this additional expenditure?

Nonsuchmike   20/01/2017 at 18:11

For the citizens of that part of affected north London most people will be relieved to see that a more equitable solution has been arrived at. Notwithstanding these ongoing arbitrations, I am still of the opinion - and I visited both Euston and St Pancras mainline stations et environs earlier this week - that a totally underground through station situated between Euston and St Pancras/Kings Cross and to the north of the entrances will mean less disruption to above ground traffic. Further, it will lead to less environmental damage and pollution affecting a huge area in north London, less housing demolition and a slightly amended route under Primrose Hill so that the line comes under parts of Regent's Park. This thinking leads one to a better, more cost effective, alternative both initially and for future needs, as it allows linking in to Crossrail 2 as well as exiting onto HS1. This will mean, perhaps, an extra build towards and @ Stratford International, but little amendment @ OOC. As far as I can see, a win/win situation.

Nonsuchmike   20/01/2017 at 18:21

For the citizens of that part of affected north London most people will be relieved to see that a more equitable solution has been arrived at. Notwithstanding these ongoing arbitrations, I am still of the opinion - and I visited both Euston and St Pancras mainline stations et environs earlier this week - that a totally underground through station situated between Euston and St Pancras/Kings Cross and to the north of the entrances will mean less disruption to above ground traffic. Further, it will lead to less environmental damage and pollution affecting a huge area in north London, less housing demolition and a slightly amended route under Primrose Hill so that the line comes under parts of Regent's Park. This thinking leads one to a better, more cost effective, alternative both initially and for future needs, as it allows linking in to Crossrail 2 as well as exiting onto HS1. This will mean, perhaps, an extra build towards and @ Stratford International, but little amendment @ OOC. As far as I can see, a win/win situation.

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