COUNCIL chiefs have branded cash for communities affected by HS2 as ‘derisory’.
Warwickshire County Council hit out at the Department for Transport announcement £30 million will be available for communities between London and Birmingham impacted by the high speed rail line.
The Community and Environment Fund (CEF) and the Business and Local Economy Fund (BLEF) is intended to fund public projects such as the refurbishment of community centres, nature conservation and measures to support local economies and employment.
Warwickshire’s HS2 spokesman Coun Bob Stevens said: “The announcement of the long-awaited and much-anticipated community and business funding associated with HS2 has proved to be a damp squib.
“This is a pitiful amount of funding which is expected to be shared out amongst hundreds of organisations along the route. It is, quite frankly, insulting to those communities that are going to bear the major impact of the construction phase and subsequent disruption created by this line.
“The Department for Transport (DfT) and HS2 Ltd have heralded this funding as a remedy for the ills of this expensive railway, but they are obviously not prepared to put their hands in their pockets to reasonably compensate communities.
“A total of £30 million is just a drop in the ocean in the grand scheme of things – the project is estimated to be costing £50 billion and it is worth remembering that HS2 Ltd has already overspent by £87 million on consultancy fees alone – that is more than the cost of building two new secondary schools.
“It is inherently wrong and unjust that communities will be forced to bid against each other in order to gain some compensation from HS2 and I urge the DfT to think again and reconsider this derisory offer.”
Visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/hs2 for more information on HS2.
Notes to editors:
The full detail of the Government announcement can be seen here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/30-million-hs2-community-and-business-support-funds-launched.
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