The proposed Exceptional Hardship Scheme sets out proposals to help certain home-owners who may be affected by blight following publication of the Government’s response to HS2 Ltd’.s recommendations. The scheme is not a “project” for the purposes of Council Directive 1985/337/EEC on the assessment of effects of certain public and private projects on the environment. Accordingly, no environmental impact assessment is required.
If a decision is taken to proceed with high speed rail, the appropriate environmental assessment would form part of any preparations for the introduction of a Hybrid Bill.
Buckinghamshire county council is regarded as a consultee. The leader and chief executive were sent copies of all the relevant materials following the Statement on high speed rail by the Secretary for State for Transport. Any individual or organisation can request copies of and respond to the Exceptional Hardship Scheme consultation. Copies are available from DFT Publications at
or telephone 0300 123 1102.
The consultation closes on 20 May 2010. The Government recognise the importance to affected property owners of introducing the scheme, should they decide to do so, as quickly as is practicable. We would expect this to be in June.
“High Speed Rail” was published on 11 March 2010. Prior to this Ministers and officials in the Department held no meetings with interested parties outside the Government at which HS2 Ltd. proposed routes from London to the West Midlands were discussed. Following the publication of the Command Paper, the Secretary of State for Transport, has held meetings with various hon. Members, and other stakeholders, to discuss high speed rail in general and/or in relation to constituency or local interests.
The Department consulted the HM Government “Code of Practice on Consultation”, which recommends that consultations should not generally be launched during election periods. The consultation on the Exceptional Hardship Scheme was launched on 11 March, while Parliament was sitting. The Government recognise the importance to affected property owners of introducing the scheme, should they decide to do so, as quickly as is practicable. The timing of the launch was determined accordingly. In addition, the duration of the consultation was shortened—to 10 weeks instead of the recommended 12—for the same reason.