The land for the proposed HS2 route between London and the West Midlands has been safeguarded, but not through Ealing, where a tunnel seems the preferred option.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has announced the safeguarding, described as “an important step in taking the scheme from the drawing board to construction”.
It allows landowners in the c.120m wide corridor to approach the government to buy their property under statutory Blight procedures where they could receive the unblighted open market value of their property, plus up to £47,000.
The section through Ealing is not yet safeguarded, as the preferred option is to tunnel the route through the borough. The Secretary of State has yet to make the decision to tunnel, but will not safeguard until he has done so.
Patrick McLoughlin said: “ HS2 is moving from the drawing board towards construction. Safeguarding is an important milestone for homeowners and for planning purposes. It shows we are determined to deliver this once-in-a generation opportunity to drive growth, generate jobs, and secure our country’s future prosperity. ”
The government says it wants to introduce a full compensation scheme that is more generous than the law requires and will be re-consulting on a package shortly. In the meantime the Exceptional Hardship Scheme will continue alongside the statutory Blight procedures.
Safeguarding also protects the line of route from construction that conflicts with the Government’s plans for the railway, allowing HS2 to be built with less disruption and cost.