This week HS2 has written to all landowners, occupiers and agents along the route of Phase 2A in relation to access to their land for surveys to be undertaken.
Previously HS2 have entered into licences with landowners and occupiers to allow them to access to land to undertake surveys, however, from mid-July when licences expire, HS2 will no longer be looking to extend these but to use their powers to take access to the land.
It is estimated that Royal Assent for the scheme will be obtained towards the end of
the 2020 and therefore access to land can be undertaken under Section 172 of the
House and Planning Act 2016, whereby 14 days notice must be given to an owner or occupier.
The surveys that can be undertaken include searching, boring or excavating, leaving apparatus on land, taking sample, aerial surveys, as well as surveys in relation to compliance with EU Legislations such as habitats and bird directives.
Landowners and occupiers will be due compensation if damage is caused to the land however, previously licence fees were paid to allow surveys and any damage was paid in addition to these fees.
Once Royal Assent has been obtained towards the end of 2020, HS2 will be able to use powers under the hybrid bill to take access on to land affected by the scheme.
Tom Selby of Rostons stated “A number of landowners and occupiers entered into licence agreements over the last 4 years, where they have been paid licence fees to allow access. Once licences expire no further licence fees will be paid. This could be a way of reducing costs by HS2 which they have been under significant scrutiny of since the Oakervee Review published earlier this year. This change also shows that Phase 2A is going to form part of Phase 2 and could also be rolled out on to Phase 2B as a way of reducing further costs.