Since the idea about a possible High Speed line from London to Birmingham was first mooted, I have been working alongside residents to attain the best possible compensation and mitigation measures.
We all know that the Meriden constituency is no stranger to large-scale planning applications and I appreciate the anxiety caused by proposals like the Motorway Service Area, a second runway at Birmingham Airport and HS2. Whilst there is an economic benefit that the proposed site for the first station outside of London along the route will be in this constituency, there will also be significant costs to many individuals; we get both the pain and the gain of HS2. For that reason, it comes as no surprise that people are understandably nervous about the amount of noise pollution, the loss of green space and the impact on property values that HS2 will bring.
I have always been consistent in my attempts to ameliorate the possible negative impacts of HS2, by striving to ensure that fair and generous compensation is available for affected people, and that the environmental consequences are mitigated as far as possible.
In 2013, I introduced a bill in the House of Commons to reform Property Blight laws. The Ten Minute Rule Bill sought to incorporate the use of noise contours rather than straight meterage when determining levels of compensation for properties blighted by public infrastructure projects such as HS2. It called on the Government to use a more accurate measure for blight. I also put forward a Private Members’ Bill which sought to improve the compensation structures for blight.
I also put forward several amendments to the HS2 Paving Bill at the end of 2013. I tabled an amendment to ensure that any loss of green space is offset to make sure there is no net loss of biodiversity. This was endorsed by the Woodland Trust and the CLA in full. I also put forward amendments to improve compensation, including one to enshrine a property bond in statute, and I backed calls by the CLA for payment to be made promptly and with interest if it is late. I also added my name to a Government amendment to cap expenditure on the project at £50bn.
Below you will find links to a number of news articles which gives an overview of the work I have been doing with local residents, parish councillors, community groups, HS2 Ltd and other MPs with regards to this project:
Monday, 20th February, 2017: Dame Caroline champions views of local residents in final HS2 debate.
Following the passing of the HS2 Bill on January 31st in the House of Lords, the Bill returned to the House of Commons where MPs debated 54 amendments to the legislation.
Tuesday, 27th October, 2016: HS2 Solihull Working Party and House of Commons Adjournment Debate.
Dame Caroline Spelman joined councillors and local residents at the HS2 working party meeting at the Solihull Civic Centre. Simultaneously, MPs debated HS2's 'Communication and Engagement' in the House of Commons. At the request of the Meriden MP, Mrs Cheyrl Gillan, MP for Chesham and Amersham, raised concerns on behalf of local residents in Meriden.
Read the Hansard contribution made by Mrs Gillan, on behalf of Dame Caroline Spelman, here.
Wedneday, 12th October, 2016: 'MP welcomes HS2 community funds which recognise the needs of rural communities'.
Dame Caroline Spelman has welcomed the news that the Transport Secretary has announced that £70 million of Government funds will be made available to support local communities and improve road safety along the route between London and the West Midlands.
Thursday, 18 August, 2016: 'MP challenges HS2 over ‘lack of communication with residents'
Following the recent House of Lords Select Committee Meetings on the High Speed Rail Bill, local MP, Caroline Spelman, met with Sir David Higgins, Chairman of HS2, to challenge HS2 Ltd.’s record of communication with local residents and community organisations.
Wednesday, 20 July, 2016: 'Local frustration as House of Lords Select Committee refuses to hear HS2 petition from MPs'
Meriden MP, Caroline Spelman, has expressed her frustration after the House of Lords Select Committee upheld a challenge to prevent Members of Parliament from presenting petitions to the committee on HS2.
Friday, 15 April, 2016: 'Bishop of Coventry supports calls from Meriden MP for better HS2 Compensation'
Following the recent advancement of the High Speed Rail (HS2) Bill from the House of Commons to the House of Lords, the Bishop of Coventry spoke in the second reading of the HS2 debate to ensure that the views of local resident's in Meriden are represented in the House of Lords chamber.
Thursday, 14 April, 2016: 'Caroline takes her battle for better HS2 compensation to the House of Lords'
In her fight for better HS2 compensation and further mitigating measures, Caroline Spelman has secured vital support from Members of the House of Lords, who have agreed to debate and table amendments to the Bill to get a better deal for constituents Meriden.
Wednesday, 23 March, 2016: 'Caroline demands more local safeguards during debate on HS2'
Caroline Spelman participated in a debate in the House of Commons to secure amendments to the High Speed Rail (HS2) Bill that would ensure greater mitigation and further safeguarding of local residents and their properties which are to be affected by the construction of HS2 in the Meriden constituency.
Friday, 16 October, 2015: 'Caroline Spelman presents petition on Diddington Lane proposals'
The proposal included within the additional provisions to realign Diddington Lane will have serious consequences for local residents of Hampton-in-Arden. Together with local residents, I have organised a petition which I recently presented to the House of Common regarding this issue.
Caroline Spelman, MP for the Meriden Constituency, calls for constituents to note the launch of the full package of compensation measures for property owners affected by Phase One of HS2. Applications are now being accepted for the voluntary purchase, cash offer and ‘need-to-sell’ schemes.
Wednesday, 7 January, 2015: 'Compensation packages for HS2 launched'
Caroline Spelman, MP for the Meriden Constituency, calls for constituents to note the launch of compensation packages for property owners affected by Phase One of HS2 this January.
Tuesday, 16 December, 2014: Caroline calls for greater rights over HS2 blight
Caroline Spelman, MP for the Meriden Constituency, presented her petition for better and more comprehensive compensation and mitigation to the HS2 Select Committee in the House of Commons on the 16 December 2014.
Tuesday, 28 October, 2014: Caroline argues for greater HS2 compensation
Caroline Spelman, MP for the Meriden Constituency, leads the call for more financial compensation to be given to those affected by the construction of HS2.
On 10th October, the Department for Transport announced the launch of the HS2 community and business support fund. Communities and businesses near the new HS2 high speed railway will benefit from grants worth millions, Transport Minister Robert Goodwill announced.
Thursday, 4 September, 2014: 'Caroline Spelman vows to keep HS2 marshalling yards away from Solihull'
Solihull MP Lorely Burt has submitted a letter to the select committee which is looking into HS2, calling for the marshalling yards originally proposed for Washwood Heath to be brought into the Meriden constituency either at Bickenhill or Chelmsley Wood.
Monday, 21 July, 2014: 'Local MP Caroline Spelman joins first HS2 Select Committee visit to area'
Local MP Caroline Spelman this week joined the HS2 Select Committee on their visit to Solihull, to walk the proposed HS2 route and meet with local residents.
Thursday, 29 May, 2014: 'Local MP and residents put their petitions in for HS2 Bill'
Local MP Caroline Spelman and local residents in the Meriden constituency have delivered their petitions to the HS2 Hybrid Bill Select Committee. Caroline put forward a petition to address the current lack of compensation for the many residents who will be blighted by over five years of construction works across the Meriden constituency. The deadline for petitions from individuals to be submitted was 23rd May.
Following the publication of the HS2 Hybrid Bill on Monday 25th November, local MP Caroline Spelman has offered to coordinate a petition against the Bill on behalf of affected constituents.
Thursday, 31 October, 2013: 'Caroline pushes to improve HS2 Compensation'
Local MP Caroline Spelman will seek to improve the compensation and mitigation this week for the proposed new high speed railway as it passes through the Meriden constituency.
Following publication of the Environmental Statement (ES) on HS2 local MP Caroline Spelman has written to the Department for Transport asking for more mitigation.
Friday, 17 May, 2013: 'Concessions on HS2'
The Department for Transport has published the Environmental Statement (ES) for Phase One of the High Speed Railway project from London to Birmingham. There are some related announcements which are important for the Meriden constituency through which the railway will run.
Monday, 25 February, 2013: 'Caroline's bid to change the law on HS2 compensation'
On Tuesday 6th March, Caroline Spelman, MP for the Meriden constituency, will be introducing a bill in the House of Commons to reform Property Blight laws.
Wednesday, 28 November, 2012: 'Caroline Spelman and Solihull Council seek HS2 improvements from the Government'
Caroline Spelman MP and a cross party delegation from Solihull Council met with the Secretary of State for Transport yesterday (27 November) to seek improvements from the Government on the HS2 route in Solihull.
Thursday, 12 July, 2012: 'Local MP supports HS2 deep bore tunnel'
At a packed public meeting at the Heart of England School on Friday night, local MP Caroline Spelman lent her support to calls for a deep bore tunnel under the area from Burton Green to the north of Berkswell to mitigate the impact of HS2 on the local community.
This page continues to be updated at regular intervals, however, for the most up to date information on my campaign to guarantee better compensation and mitigation for HS2 in Meriden constituency, please see the news section of my website.