UK: HS2: A Brief Round Up

Summary and implications

High Speed 2 (HS2) remains in the spotlight, particularly following the recent publication of the Department for Transport's revised business case for HS2. In October the Government confirmed its revised cost estimate for HS2 to be nearly £50bn (up from £32.7bn). This revised the expected benefit-cost ratio from £2.50 to £2.30 in benefits for every pound spent. Whether or not you consider that to be high value for money, the Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin MP has made the bold statement that "we need a radical solution and HS2 is it".

In this briefing, we comment on some important current issues:

  • Current consultation on the proposed scheme for properties affected by the HS2 network.
  • Petitioning period for the phase 1 Hybrid Bill.
  • Current consultation on the route of phase 2.
  • Supreme Court hears HS2 challenge.

Consultation on the proposed property compensation scheme

On 12 September 2013 the Government announced the latest consultation on the proposed compensation scheme for properties affected by phase 1 of HS2's rail network.

The proposed scheme is made up of a package of compensation measures for properties inside the safeguarded area and also includes allowances for properties in rural areas which are not safeguarded but are located close to the new network. The proposed scheme will be of interest to both landowners and developers affected by HS2. However, the proposals do not include any further measures for large businesses or commercial developers beyond that set out in the compensation code.

The consultation suggests that larger businesses with concerns about the effects of the proposed route should contact HS2 directly and the Government has made assurances to engage one on one with businesses to ensure that they are catered for. It is unclear whether the Government proposals will be sufficient.

The consultation closes on Wednesday 4 December 2013.

High Speed Rail (Preparation) Bill 2013−14

The High Speed Rail (Preparation) Bill 2013−14 was approved in the House of Commons on 31 October 2013 and will go to the House of Lords for its second reading on 19 November 2013. If the Bill is backed in the House of Lords, it will release more funding for phase 1 of HS2 enabling the Government to acquire property along the route.

Upcoming petitioning period for the Phase 1 Hybrid Bill

Individuals and businesses affected by HS2 will be anticipating the lodging of the Hybrid Bill in Parliament in early December. Following a consultation period on the Environmental Statement there will be a period for petitioning against the bill if you are directly affected. Following the second reading of the Hybrid Bill petitioners with sufficient standing will have the opportunity to petition. This is the time for individuals and businesses affected by the bill to object to its impact on them and to suggest changes.

It is anticipated that the petitioning period will commence in March 2014 and the closure date for the period will be formally announced after the second reading of the bill.

Nabarro has previously acted as Roll B Parliamentary Agents for petitioners against hybrid bills and can advise you.

Consultation on the route from the West Midlands to Manchester, Leeds and beyond...

Phase 2 of the high speed rail network (Phase 2) would extend the high speed line from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds, with connections on to the West and East Coast Main Lines to serve the rest of the North of England and Scotland.

The purpose of the consultation is to seek views on the proposed routes from the West Midlands to Manchester and Leeds. The consultation notes that demolitions will be required to make way for the route and a number of properties will suffer noticeable noise impacts (the significance of which is yet to be determined) but suggests that HS2 has the capacity to transform areas, driving longer term shifts in economic performance and potentially altering the shape of economic geography. You need to consider the effects on your home or business.

The decision by the Secretary of State on the detailed route for Phase 2 is due to be announced by the end of 2014. This would be followed by a Hybrid Bill in the next Parliament (following the May 2015 general election) seeking powers to construct Phase 2.

It is stated that the proposed route (and proposed supporting infrastructure) seeks to optimise the design and to minimise impacts. If you are affected by the proposed route of Phase 2, now is the time to register your concerns in response to the consultation.

The consultation closes at 5 p.m. on 31 January 2014.

For more information please contact one of the team.

Supreme Court hears HS2 challenge

Nabarro recently acted for Heathrow Hub Ltd in its appeal arising out of the judicial review of the January 2012 Command Paper "High Speed Two: Decisions and Next Steps".

Heathrow Hub Ltd contended that the decision to proceed with HS2 should have been carried out following a strategic environmental assessment in accordance with the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive.

The Supreme Court's decision is expected in late November.


HS2 is already having a significant effect on business and residential owners. The earlier those affected take action, the greater the likelihood of reaching a suitable arrangement with HS2. If you are affected by HS2 and would like advice about compensation, compulsory purchase or responding to consultations please contact a member of the team at Nabarro.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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