HS2 and you: what the approval actually means

18th February 2020

What HS2 finally winning approval means

February 11th 2020 will be remembered as the date when the speculation surrounding High Speed 2 (HS2) finally ended, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving the green light to the controversial high-speed rail link between London and Birmingham.

Claiming it had been a controversial and difficult decision, Mr Johnson also added he would appoint a full-time minister to oversee the project, having criticised the HS2 company’s management of the scheme so far.

This was always the likely outcome following the leaking of the recommendations of the Oakervee report before Christmas, which offered tacit support for at least Phase 1 of the scheme.

In August 2019, the Department for Transport announced that Douglas Oakervee would chair an independent review of HS2, looking at all the existing evidence to allow the Government to make a properly-informed decision on the scheme, including costs and schedule.

Closure but the fight goes on

For those with homes or businesses on or close to the route, the announcement offers a degree of closure, with hope of a reprieve extinguished. But for the disruption and unwanted change in circumstances for many, the fight for compensation goes on.

Phase 1 from London to Birmingham and Phase 2a, which extends the line to Crewe, will now go ahead, although enabling works for bridges and road changes have been proceeding for many, many months despite no decision.

News of the additional Phase 2b, covering the Crewe to Manchester and Midlands to Leeds routes is likely to be under constant review, with downgrading a distinct possibility to help reduce overall costs of the project.

Despite the green light, all the enabling works and property purchases, the project has been subject to further delays of between 5-7 years, which means if everything goes well from here, we are unlikely to witness trains on the route until at least 2031, at the earliest.

The problems are not all at this end of the line either, with the situation at Euston station far from clear, despite the purchase and clearance of land surrounding the London destination.

A site in the west of London, at Old Oak Common, has been proposed as a temporary solution until Euston is ready, but some have now suggested that as it will also be an interchange station for the new Crossrail line, it could become a permanent change.

However, the Oakervee report warned that scrapping the final few miles of HS2 into central London would seriously undermine the current business case for the project.

It’s good to talk impact

As a law firm with offices in many of the communities affected by HS2, we have been advising land and property owners and those close to the proposed route on all aspects of compulsory purchase law, from Blight Notices and General Vesting Declarations to HS2’s own Discretionary Schemes

If your home or business is on or close to the now imminent HS2 route and you would like advice on what the decision means for you, please get in touch.

If you want advice about claiming compensation, or would like to progress an existing claim with a team that gets results, please contact Neil Faunch on 01543 267 191 or email