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HS2 to cause 'irreplaceable' loss of habitat

The NFU said the impact on farmland has not been ’fully understood’. 


Lauren   Dean

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Lauren   Dean
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The NFU has called for 'quality not quantity' for any new habitat.
The NFU has called for 'quality not quantity' for any new habitat.
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HS2 to cause 'irreplaceable' loss of biodiversity

Farming and countryside groups are concerned that HS2 plans to replace biodiversity lost as part of the scheme do not go far enough.

 

It came as the Government confirmed the preferred route for the second phase of the scheme, from Crewe to Manchester and the West Midlands to Leeds.

 

Natural England, the CLA and the NFU have all voiced their fears in response to HS2 Ltd’s ‘no net loss in biodiversity’ initiative, stating ‘valuable and irreplaceable habitat will be unavoidably lost or impacted’.

 

It led Natural England to call for the replacement of one hectare of ancient woodland with 30 hectares of new woodland, which it said would be ‘effective’ compensation.

 

But the CLA and NFU raised concerns about the 30:1 ratio and its impact on farmland, saying HS2 needed to better educate landowners about how the design could affect them.

 

The NFU said it would like to see ‘quality over quantity’ in terms of new habitat, adding the potential impact on farmland had ‘clearly not been fully understood’.

 

NFU vice president Guy Smith said: “We are acutely aware that as a result of HS2 there is some incredibly important biodiversity at risk.

 

“Our calls to HS2 and Government reflect this and have been consistent from the outset: habitat mitigation should be replaced on a like-for-like basis, with quality and location being the important factors to achieve no net loss of biodiversity.”

 

Mr Smith said the recommendations by Natural England had ‘good intentions’ but that ‘high quality farmland should not be used to create low quality habitat and exacerbate our need to import food at potentially higher cost to the environment, or woodlands, abroad’.

 

Phase two

Phase two of the HS2 link will form a ‘Y’ shape from the West Midlands up towards Manchester and the North West, then up towards Leeds and the North East.

 

Proposed stations will be at Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly, Leeds, the East Midlands and Sheffield Meadowhall.

 

CLA president Ross Murray has called for HS2 Ltd to recognise its duty of care to farmers and landowners, with hopes the second phase of the scheme will be a ‘turning point’ in previously poor engagement.

 

He said: “HS2 Ltd has a track record of poor communication with the businesses affected by the railway.

 

“Today’s announcement of the route for Phase 2 must mark a turning point, there are no excuses now for the usual fog of uncertainty.

 

“Those affected must have certainty on what land or property will be taken, when it will be taken, and whether the owners will get it back after construction, so they can plan for the future as best they can.”

 


Read More

‘Outrageous’ HS2 land grab rejected by peers ‘Outrageous’ HS2 land grab rejected by peers
CLA slams HS2 rail boss for treating farmers badly CLA slams HS2 rail boss for treating farmers badly
HS2 branded ‘unfair’ as more farms fragmented in Phase Two HS2 branded ‘unfair’ as more farms fragmented in Phase Two
HS2 draws nearer but farmers and landowners 'still in the dark' HS2 draws nearer but farmers and landowners 'still in the dark'
HS2 told it must communicate with farmers HS2 told it must communicate with farmers

Compulsory Purchase

CLA chief surveyor Andrew Shirley offered a list of actions a landowner should take on finding out that he is facing compulsory purchase:

 

  • Find out all the details of the scheme as a whole (not just the way it impacts on his/her own land)
  • Take professional advice from a Chartered Surveyor with experience of similar schemes
  • Decide whether to object to the scheme outright, or object to the scheme’s impact on the holding (e.g. outline mitigation measures / re-routing options)
  • Is there a need to use compulsory purchase and is it in the public interest – if not this could be used to challenge the Compulsory Purchase Order
  • Proactively engage with the acquirer, so you know what is going on, so can protect your interests and look for potential mitigation.
  • Ensure that they need all the land they are taking
  • Keep a diary from day one, and use your time sparingly. The time used could form the basis of a compensation claim, but it is important that it does not take up a disproportionate amount of time
  • Keep photographic evidence
  • If you feel that you are being disadvantaged, contact your MP, so they are aware of how their laws are impacting on you
  • Keep the CLA informed, as your experiences will, as they have in the past, help our lobbying
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