The extension of the HS2 Environmental Statement response deadline 'allows more time for its consideration', according to the Country Land and Business Association.The Environmental Statement is an assessment of the likely significant environmental effects of the proposed HS2 railway between London and the West Midlands. Prepared by independent consultants, it reports on the effects of constructing and operating Phase one of HS2 from an environmental point of view.
However, the CLA said the document still ignores the impact HS2 will have on landowners who are increasingly losing land.
The organisation said the extra time gives landowners the opportunity to consider the 50,000-page document which looks at environmental issues and details environmental mitigation measures.
But the document does not give sufficient detail on how individual habitat mitigation will be delivered and why the use of compulsory purchase is necessary.
CLA President Henry Robinson said:”The Environmental Statement should not only show the exact location and extent of each habitat being taken, but also justify the area that is required to mitigate that particular impact. Every acre taken as environmental mitigation is an acre taken out of economic productivity forever.
“It must be clear to landowners exactly what habitat is being lost, its value, and where the replacement habitat is being provided and why. If this is information cannot be interrogated on a holding by holding basis landowners will be disadvantaged in making their representations.
“Compulsory purchase should still be a last resort, particularly where commercial solutions may be available through Biodiversity Offsetting.”
The extension is the second time in a week that the public have been given more time to respond to the consultation on the environmental impact of HS2.CLA Chief Surveyor Andrew Shirley said: “We have several members who were initially losing a little land, but now the amount has ballooned from the initial drawing through to the draft and the final statement – all in the name of environmental mitigation.
“While there may be a desire to deliver what has been described as the ‘greenest railway’, this should not be achieved at the expense of landowners.
“The HS2 Bill gives extra powers for HS2 Ltd to grab more land for development and regeneration, as well as sweeping access provisions over Phase two which is not even part of this Bill.”