The NFU says it is ‘seriously concerned’ about the impact of HS2 on family farming businesses-more than 100 NFU members are directly affected by Phase 1 (London to Birmingham). ‘For scores of farming families, HS2 will destroy their business permanently,’ says the NFU’s Dr Andrew Clark. In its response to the public consultation ahead of the Hybrid Bill, which, if passed, would give the project the go-ahead to be started in 2017 (Town & Country, December 4), the organisation is pressing for ‘a binding duty of care’ on the timescale and conduct for contractors.

* Subscribe to Country Life this Christmas and save up to 40%

The NFU and CLA both criticise the long-term hardship compensation scheme. ‘Proving hardship to an independent panel is often very difficult,’ comments the CLA’s Andrew Shirley, who proposes changes to a Property Bond Scheme, which would take account of current values and the ‘real impact’ of HS2. ‘Uniquely, the scheme would secure up-front compensation for farmers who have already suffered years of disturbance,’ he adds.

* Follow Country Life magazine on Twitter for all your country news