The High Speed Rail (London to West Midlands) Bill, has today gained Royal Assent. Since starting its parliamentary journey in 2013, the London to Birmingham section; or “Phase 1”, now has all necessary compulsory powers to enable the scheme to become reality.
So what's next?
One of the biggest CPO schemes in the modern era, the impact on land and property owners will be very significant. With a nine-year build programme, and the scheme timetabled to be operational in 2026, Royal Assent gives HS2 Ltd all necessary powers to enter safeguarded land for construction and all purposes related to the scheme.
Whilst construction of the line starting this year is ambitious, the enabling works including utility diversions and other pre-scheme works discussions are already underway, with access for various initial works scheduled for the forthcoming months. Works on the railway itself are likely to be 2 years away. With its new powers the gloves are likely to come off and HS2 will now push access to land and property to suit its own pace. The need for good professional advice will become all the more important.
Although not yet confirmed, the General Vesting Declaration Procedure is likely to be used, rather than the Notice to Treat procedure. This replaces the requirement for a Notice to Treat and subsequent conveyance of the land to HS2, with one procedure where the affected land will “vest” with HS2. This triggers a “Notice to Claim”. The Notice to Claim generally gives 21 days to formulate a heads of claim. Following this, a Notice of Entry can be served to allow entry after the expiry of 14 days.
Crucially, the earlier of the date of entry and possession of the land, or the vesting date, will be the “relevant valuation date” for assessing claims of compensation. It remains to be seen if access for temporary works under Schedule 16 will be used and whether this will really manifest into permanent land take. Issues of advance payments, agricultural liaison and accountability between contractors and Hs2 all still need to be resolved. There will be a lot to do in the forthcoming months to ensure that the interests of those affected will be protected.
Compensation will typically include the value of land taken as the main part of the claim, compensation in the event the line severs remaining land with items of injurious affection and disturbance, claimants time, and agents fees - all forming separate headings.
The effect of the scheme on each party will be different and to discuss the impacts further please don’t hesitate to contact our HS2 team.
Bidwells hits the right wavelength with an interview on BBC Three Counties Radio regarding HS2