Oxford-based Bidwells gives evidence at HS2 Select Committee
PUBLISHED: 16:59 27 February 2015 | UPDATED: 16:59 27 February 2015
A leading land and property expert from Bidwells has given evidence on behalf of clients at the High Speed Rail Bill Select Committee established to consider the HS2 Bill.
Edward Briggs, who is based in Oxford and advises a large number of clients affected by HS2 as well as those generally on issues such as compulsory purchase, appeared before the Committee in February, as it debated the High Speed Rail (London to West Midlands) Bill.
His clients, whose land is badly affected by the proposals, object to the amount of land being required. They are not against the principal of the railway line as they recognise that this is of national interest – and inevitably land will be lost for its construction.
Mr Briggs asked the committee to ask HS2 to reconsider the proposals to take a large area of farmland for additional woodland and grassland habitats creation, biodiversity and the scale of it. Of the proposed total land-take of 30.5 hectares, some 9 hectares of good quality farmland is required for this habitat creation. Bidwells has secured assurances that the ecological /environmental specialists would have detailed discussions with Edward Briggs and his clients regarding the proposals, in order to review these biodiversity issues. Briggs said: “My clients have farmed this land for many years and pride themselves on the way they farm environmentally, they are part of various DEFRA schemes and this seems to be ignored.”
Further discussions are set to take place to find a better way to deal with the amount of land being proposed for the habitats. Mr Briggs is likely to appear before the committee again representing other clients affected by HS2.