Transport secretary Chris Grayling has revealed £70m of funding for communities along the route of HS2 between London and the Midlands.
The funding will be used to improve access to nearby countryside, and conserve the natural environment along the route, as well as supporting local economies disrupted by construction.
£40m of the total fund will be allocated for spending at a local level, with £7.5m set to be spent in Greater London, and a further £7.5m going to sites in the West Midlands.
£15m will be spent across Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Buckinghamshire, with the remaining £10m yet to be allocated.
The remaining £30m will be spent on road safety projects.
Grayling outlined the fund in a bid to illustrate a government commitment to the project, ahead of a decision on the HS2 Phase 2 route to Manchester and Leeds in the Autumn.
“We need HS2 for the capacity it will bring on the routes between London, the West Midlands, Crewe, Leeds and Manchester, as well as the space it’ll create elsewhere on our transport network,” he said.
“We need it for the boost it will give to our regional and national economies. And we need it for the jobs it will create, and for the way it will link our country together.”
Community groups, charities, non-governmental organisations and business support specialists will be able to bid for grants from funding, which are expected to be rolled out when construction starts in 2017 and will be awarded until the end of HS2’s first year of operation in 2026.