Government set on forcing individuals to fund the property blight bill for HS2

Government set on forcing individuals to fund the property blight bill for HS2

The Government’s latest proposals for compensation released today for consultation still do nothing for the vast majority of those suffering property blight from HS2:

  • They continue to propose a hardship based scheme which depends on  personal circumstances rather than on whether a property is blighted –  and hence disqualify the vast majority of those affected by property blight
  • The proposals are confined to Phase 1 only, extending the uncertainty for what happens on phase 2 after EHS expires
  • A property bond scheme is included but only for the rural zone and as an option –  either a Bond scheme will be selected or the Voluntary Purchase scheme as previously proposed (for within 120m either side of the line)
  • In urban areas only the hardship arrangements applies beyond the safeguarded area
  • There remains nothing for the blight that the construction works itself will cause, which we now know will extend across road networks many miles from the line itself.

Hilary Wharf, director HS2AA commenting on the proposals said

“It is hugely disappointing that the Government still intend to do virtually nothing for the vast majority of people suffering substantial loss as a result of HS2.  Their proposals look like compensating less than 2% of the 172,000 blighted by phase 1 of HS2. So this forces individual property owners to shoulder the lions share of the blight. We estimate that this is at least a 10bn bill for phase 1 and 2.

“HS2 causes exceptional levels of blight, so people expected ground-breaking proposals from Government – not schemes that simply either rehash what’s been around for decades, or are so tightly confined they offer help to a tiny minority, leaving most people to fund the cost themselves.

We will of course be looking at their proposals very carefully, but if DfT truly believe that HS2 will have little impact when it’s built, then they should show the courage of their convictions and propose schemes that let those who can prove blight have proper protection until it is built.  .

DfT have had 6 months since we won in court where it was decided their previous consultation was unlawful. It looks like they have only paid lip service to the need to include a property bond. Their proposal is so restrictive that it has no prospect of reassuring the property market and preventing blight.

The government clearly think that it is acceptable to impose large losses on hundreds of thousands of property owners.  They need to think again.”

Notes to editors:

HS2AA is a national organisation making the powerful case against HS2. It is a not for profit organisation working with over 90 local groups who believe HS2 does not represent an effective answer to the UK’s transport, economic or environmental needs. HS2AA have focused on an evidenced-based approach to challenging the business case, the environmental case and compensation arrangements.

For more information please contact:

Richard Houghton

Tel: 07803 178 037