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High Speed 2 delays creep in as property compensation deal put back

Transport secretary Justine Greening has revealed that a decision on the compensation package available to homeowners on the route of the proposed High Speed 2 (HS2) has been delayed until September at the earliest.

In a written statement to the House of Commons, Greening confirmed that the details of the compensation package would not be announced until after the preferred routes for the second phase of the project from Birmingham to the north were published in the autumn.

Greening’s statement implied that the route of the second phase was now being dictated by the need to avoid costly compensation pacakges. The move comes after a series of updates over the last few months have shown the business case for the project to be plummetting. The latest business case, revealed in April, has the benefit to cost ratio of the whole scheme now standing at just 1.2:1, down from 2.2:1 originally.

“I am keen to consult as soon as possible to provide people with certainty but, given the nature of the issue and its implications for Phase 2 and work to assess stations and route options, it is clear to me that the detailed work to fully assess options means that we will consult on the property and compensation package for HS2 after Parliament returns from its summer recess in September,” said Greening.

“I understand that this delay will not be welcomed by individuals and businesses who had hoped to see an earlier resolution to the uncertainty surrounding HS2 property and compensation policies. However, this will enable the Government to put forward a comprehensive, practical and affordable package of property and compensation measures,” she said.

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