FARMING MATTERS: Work on high speed rail line to start

The first phase of HS2 has been granted Royal Assent
The first phase of HS2 has been granted Royal Assent

As the first phase of HS2 has received Royal Assent, the National Farmers Union is urging fair treatment for the farming community.

The NFU says it will hold HS2 to assurances made to mitigate the effects of construction on farm businesses.

Notices to farmers will be served by this spring to take land under temporary occupation, which enables HS2 to access land and begin construction of the line between London and Birmingham.

NFU vice president Guy Smith said: “As HS2 starts construction we want to send a strong reminder to HS2 and its contractors to abide by its binding duty of care and consider the impact on farmers’ homes and livelihoods.

“Regular communication between HS2 and farmers from this point on it critical.

“The NFU sees one to one meetings with farmers as an essential part of this.

“If HS2 does not get this right, they could put the viability of farm businesses at severe risk.”

Mr Smith said the NFU had secured an assurance from HS2 that an agricultural liaison officer will be in place before construction starts and that contact details will be provided to landowners. But he stressed that the officer should be in place now to explain to farmers what is going to happen over the next few months.