HS2 and how it will affect you

Published on: 1st May 2014

Robert Brown, Partner, talks about HS2 and has a look at opinions for and against the scheme.

What is HS2?

So what is HS2? HS2 is the abbreviation for High Speed Rail 2. The HS2 project has 2 phases; Phase 1 and Phase 2. It will predominately travel from London Euston to a range of stops en route including Manchester Piccadilly, Leeds New Lane and Newcastle. The trains will travel at speeds of up to 250mph and this would be the fastest available in Europe.


What is good for some…?

The HS2 line has been met with both praise and criticism already for a variety of reasons from political, to economical to environmental. This is an extremely large project for the country so it is going to be almost impossible to keep everyone in agreement as what can be beneficial for some can be potentially devastating to others.

 

Sanderson-Weatherall-Diagram3

 

Phase 1

 

The phase 1 line will be between London and the West Midlands and has now completed consultation. This will still need to go through Parliament before construction on the project can begin but in terms of planning Phase 1 the Government have already given the initial go-ahead.

 

Phase 2

Phase 2 of the project is still in the consultation stages and is still seeking views on the project. This is where the line takes on the form of a Y-shape so to speak and will connect the West Midlands to further up the country to Manchester, Leeds and even further on.

 

Cost

According to the official HS2 site the current estimate for Phase 2 of this project is £21.2bn. An update for the economic case for Phase 2 of the project is expected to be published later on this year.

HS2 had an initial predicted budget of £33bn but the most recent predicted cost is over £10bn more than the original estimate to £42.6bn. Phase 1 is now set at £21.4bn. This was used as an absolute maximum; however, given that it has already gone up it could possibly go up again.

Jobs

In terms of jobs, it is predicted that the HS2 line development will bring a much needed boost to industrial sectors. Phase 1 has the plan to create 9,000 construction jobs, 1,500 permanent jobs and 30,000 jobs in station redevelopment areas.

In terms of Phase 2 it is planned to create 48,700-70,300 jobs and produce 5,200-7,600 houses. It’s also given that there will be 10,000 jobs in construction and 1,400 operation and maintenance jobs.

Wildlife issues and other environmental concerns

Wildlife is something that many others are becoming increasingly concerned with as this will be affected by the proposed HS2 line. In this study here from the independent it brings up some really interesting points in regards to the rail line threatening 350 unique habitats, 50 irreplaceable ancient woods, 30 river corridors, 24 special scientific interests and hundreds of other important areas.

There are currently 14 wildlife trusts that have raised concerns about the HS2 line according to the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. They also bring up some issues in regards to visual impact on the environment and claim the following points:

  • It will not fit well with urban environments
  • Creates an unnatural alignment, cutting through hills and rising and falling, rather than curving around higher ground as do normal roads and railways
  • It will be dominated by overhead electrification, masts, wires, and supports, which when viewed along the line or at an angle would create a visual blot that could be as bad as the lighting columns along a lit motorway
  • Be accompanied by maintenance facilities, including roads alongside
  • Be studded with frequent cabins, electrical feed stations, and access tracks to these from local roads, more than on current electrified lines.
  • European Protected Species.

 

Some of the other concerns that have come up in terms of wildlife and nature are those of European Protected Species. These are animals such as the otter, great crested newt, and several species of bats. These are considered to be in the impact zone of the project and wildlife preservers think that this could have a negative effect on these species.

People who are for the project and people who are against

As with any large project there will often be people for the project and people against. This is because what can benefit one may not benefit another. There are a few different things that we need to take into consideration.

Green activists seem to be fairly against the project as they cannot see the benefit, however in terms of business and development there is a completely different picture painted.

In terms of business meetings this could reduce time imminently between cities, and meets between cities such as London and Leeds could be travelled in under two hours. It is believed that this is the biggest infrastructure that will ever happen within the current generation’s lifetime.

The HS2 line is still getting a mixture of positive and negative review, some calling it a white elephant whilst others saying that there is a good case for going ahead with the project. I think it’s fair to say whilst researching both that there is for and against arguments.

Influential people for and against the line

We wanted to get informed and balanced views both for and against so we spoke to both those in favour of the line, and those who are opposed too.

Christian Wolmar who is against the HS2 line says that;

Do you reject the plans for HS2 completely or do you just want it to be reviewed?
I think there could be a better project with a different route; 400km seems too fast for such a small country. A route alongside the M1 corridor would be much better and cause less disruption. It seems like this is the wrong design.

George Burda from Colton against Hs2 says;

Any scheme worthy of the environmental sacrifices required must have more than vapid rhetoric to shore up its case. Two examples of many over statements in the HS2 business case include a passenger forecast 30% higher in total than a more extensive and mature TGV network and a claim that the line will run 16 trains an hour when the maximum achieved anywhere (with difficulty) is 12 on one line in Japan. Yet despite the benefit of such disingenuous inclusions, it still fails to hit the required numbers.

We asked Paul Bigland is who is for the line what he thought the viable alternatives were;

Realistically? None. We need to learn lessons from abroad where countries have rebuilt their existing rail systems to incorporate High Speed rail. They have done so because of the economic, environmental and transport benefits. We cannot keep building more motorways and we cannot keep upgrading our existing rail network and expect to compete with other countries who are building modern transport systems. We need to move people from more polluting methods of transport to greener ones and high speed rail is a fundamental part of that.


Rolfe Pearce from Haywoods local voice had this to say in regards to the HS2 line;

I genuinely believe that the changes that HS2 will bring bear no resemblance to the claims of the government at the moment, this is nothing to do with business trips and time savings to London and the EU, it is everything to do with the development of new towns and the development of existing communities along the route to cope with the massive demand of housing and growing populations. What better way to open up the development of the UK green belt than drive a massive high speed railway through the middle of some of the best pristine farmland and countryside to be seen anywhere.


When asked if we need more rail capacity in the UK Nick Kingsley, Senior editor of the Railway Gazette had this to say;

Unequivocally yes. Rail capacity, like air capacity, is defined by the ability of the network to handle more vehicle movements. That capacity no longer exists for rail services to be introduced between London, Blackpool, Shrewsbury etc, which is comparable to issues facing London Heathrow airport with its shortage of landing slots. More than £10bn has been spent on refurbishing the London to Glasgow West Coast Main Line in the past 15 years, yet much of the capacity gains this programme anticipated have proved illusory. Particularly damaging are the cuts to local trains and station closures which have been made to accommodate more fast trains to London. The existing rail network has become more London-centric in the past decade as more high-yield long-distance trains have been introduced, but this has come at the expense of intermediate towns and smaller cities. HS2 is an opportunity to move a sizeable proportion of inter-city traffic to dedicated infrastructure, liberating the conventional network. However this is not a simple or straightforward process and reallocating the capacity released by HS2 is one of the biggest tasks facing rail network planners.

Journey Times

  • Time reductions (in hours: minutes)
  • London to Birmingham 1:24 will be reduced to 0:49
  • Birmingham to Manchester 1:28 will be reduced to 0:41
  • London to Nottingham 1:44 will be reduced to 1:08
  • London to Manchester 2:08 will be reduced to 1:08
  • London to Leeds 2:12 will be reduced to 1:22
  • Reading to Manchester 3:10 will be reduced to 1:46
  • Southampton to Leeds 4:17 will be reduced to 3:35
  • London to Edinburgh 4:23 will be reduced to 3:38

Contact Us

 

HS2 advice

Although the HS2 rail link may seem years away at the moment, this is an issue that property owners and tenant occupiers should be planning for now. We have a specialist team of compulsory purchase experts who are currently working with owners and occupiers of affected sites.

Read More....

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Although the HS2 rail link may seem years away at the moment, this is an issue that property owners and tenant occupiers should be planning for now.

We have a specialist team of compulsory purchase experts who are currently working with owners and occupiers of affected sites.

[fulltext] =>

Please contact us if you think you might be affected by the scheme.

What is HS2?

High Speed 2 (HS2) is a planned high-speed railway proposed to link The Midlands and Northern England with London Euston and other destinations such as destinations Lille, Brussels, Paris, and London Heathrow Airport.

The aim of HS2 is to reduce journey times and increase the volume of seats available. It is argued that reduced journey time will help to stimulate economic growth in UK and also increase the country’s rail usage.

The project is being developed by High Speed Two Ltd, a company established by the UK Government. The line is to be built in two phases with the section between London and Birmingham being the first phase, and on to Manchester and Leeds for the second phase.

The route would take a complex form of a "Y", with a trunk between London Euston and Birmingham Curzon Street. The route would then split into two spurs, one continuing to Manchester Piccadilly via Crewe and Manchester Airport. The other route is proposed to Leeds via Sheffield Meadowhall and East Midlands.

Click below to view the route:

Phase 1 - London to West Midlands

Phase 2 - West Midlands to Leeds

What are the timescales for HS2?

It is expected that the HS2 line will be operating by 2033.

The first phase, between London and Birmingham, was given Royal Assent in February 2017, giving the green light for work to begin on the route.

The second phase is expected to be given Royal Assent at a later date, but plans for the route are in their final stages and valuers will begin contacting land owners and occupiers during 2017.

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Late running judicial process gives rise to HS2 blight

What is the timescale? The period for submitting petitions against the additional provisions to the High Speed Two (HS2) Hybrid Bill closed on 14 August 2015. Current estimates are that the Bill is likely to be formally approved in late Autumn 2016, and therefore the Powers of Compulsory Acquisition are unlikely to be implemented until early 2017.

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What is the timescale?

The period for submitting petitions against the additional provisions to the High Speed Two (HS2) Hybrid Bill closed on 14 August 2015. Current estimates are that the Bill is likely to be formally approved in late Autumn 2016, and therefore the Powers of Compulsory Acquisition are unlikely to be implemented until early 2017.

[fulltext] =>

Rights to compensation 

The assessment of compensation for those affected by the scheme is based on the principle of equivalence, meaning that the Claimant should be in no better nor no worse position than if they had not been affected by the Scheme.

Whilst achieving equivalence can be complex, there is a substantial body of statute and case law to provide guidance, and an expert judicial body in the form of the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) to determine compensation if the parties find themselves in dispute.

Impact on owners and occupiers

The recent election of David Cameron and the Conservative Government has removed any uncertainty as to the delivery of HS2, and completion of the judicial process is some 18 months away.

In the interim, many property owners and occupiers find themselves ‘blighted’ – unable to sell or let their properties, or start the relocation of their business.

A discretionary compensation scheme operated by HS2 does exist, but it is focussed on residential owner occupiers. Owners and occupiers of commercial properties can qualify, but only if the rateable value of their property is less than £34,800, and tenants must have a fixed term lease with a minimum of 3 years remaining.

Landlords have the option of serving a Blight Notice, but to be successful they must satisfy a number of statutory tests, the most limiting being that the rateable value of the property must not exceed £34,800.

Typical owner and/or occupiers who find themselves in a state of ‘blight’ include:

  • Tenants of commercial properties – many such parties require certainty and financial stability to facilitate a relocation of their businesses, which may, particularly in the manufacturing sector, take between 1 and 2 years to achieve;
  • Landlords of buildings with a rateable value in excess of £34,800, who find they have unmarketable properties which are accruing holding costs, not least empty rates;
  • Owners of development sites, particularly ‘brownfield’ housing land – this category is particularly affected in respect of the Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds section, as the final decision with regard to the route has not been made.

Discretionary scheme 

HS2 Ltd only has a budget for acquisitions under the discretionary scheme. They are open to discussion with all affected parties and consider exceptional case of hardship, or cases where relocation require an extended period of time. However, each case is considered on its merits and requires ministerial sign off.

The Government and HS2 should be encouraged to reconsider the limitations they have applied to their discretionary compensation scheme with a view to easing the burden on owners and occupiers.

In the interim, if you occupy a property within the safeguarded area and are suffering financial loss as a consequence, you should maintain a detailed record of all events with supporting evidence in order that you have a robust claim for pre-scheme losses for inclusion in the compensation package.

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Compulsory Purchase

Our industry leading team have a wealth of experience in dealing with compulsory purchase cases and we provide our first class services across the UK. If you have received a compulsory purchase order then we will guide you through the complicated process. Our team has experience dealing with a wide range of compensation claims and we will work with you to ensure you receive a fair compensation settlement. If you are applying powers, we will work with your team to provide advice throughout the project lifecycle to ensure that your scheme finishes on time and with minimal delays.

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Our industry leading team have a wealth of experience in dealing with compulsory purchase cases and we provide our first class services across the UK.

If you have received a compulsory purchase order then we will guide you through the complicated process. Our team has experience dealing with a wide range of compensation claims and we will work with you to ensure you receive a fair compensation settlement.

If you are applying powers, we will work with your team to provide advice throughout the project lifecycle to ensure that your scheme finishes on time and with minimal delays.

[fulltext] =>

Have you received a compulsory purchase order?

We know that dealing with the complex area of compulsory purchase can be challenging and time consuming for property owners.

Our industry leading team have a wealth of experience in dealing with compulsory purchase orders, and by providing support and honest advice throughout the process we ensure that you receive a fair compensation deal with minimal disruption to your business.

Read more about our work on behalf of claimants by clicking here.

Are you making a claim?

We understand that compulsory purchase is an important part of project delivery and at the heart of many infrastructure schemes.

Our team has previous experience working on a number of major infrastructure projects as well as redevelopment and regeneration schemes so are well equipped to work with your team from the inception of a scheme.

Read more about our work on behalf of the acquiring authority by clicking here.

Contact Us

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