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. The HS2 (Preparation Bill) reaches its report stage in Parliament on Thursday 31st. Having served on the earlier stages of the committee which scrutinised the Bill, she secured a promise from the Government that compensation would be “fair and generous”, which she has captured in a new amendment to be debated this Thursday.
 
Caroline said, “I really understand local concerns about HS2, where Solihull gets both the ‘pain and the gain’. There are gains with the interchange station 31 minutes from Euston and faster routes available for both commuters and freight, but also the pain of property blight and the potential impact on the environment.  So I’m working hard to try and improve the situation for my constituency, and hope the Government will support my amendments and also that it may yet grant a tunnel in the Balsall/Berkwell area.”
 
One of Caroline’s amendments is to support the introduction of a property bond similar to the scheme introduced by Birmingham airport when it first proposed a second runway. The Government is currently consulting on the property bond scheme and residents are to be encouraged to submit their views by 4th December.
 
As a former Environment Secretary, Caroline has also brought an amendment to ensure that the inevitable loss of green space is offset to make sure there is not net loss of biodiversity. 
 
Another of Caroline’s amendments calls for an Independent evaluation of the blight by an institution such as the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), and an independent appeals process. 
 
The West Midlands is going through a manufacturing renaissance, and therefore the argument for increased rail capacity, including increased freight capacity for manufactured goods, is viable.