HS2 is rushing to acquire several square kilometres of land needed to complete the project’s first phase.
Out of the 70km2 needed to connect London to Birmingham, 13km2 are yet to be acquired, a freedom of information request put forward by the Telegraph has revealed.
The land for the project can be forcibly bought by HS2 through Parliament-granted compulsory purchasing powers but these are set to run out in a month, with the Department for Transport ruling out any further extension, the paper reported.
HS2 has stated that it has already served most of the lands’ owners with compulsory purchase orders, with plans to acquire the remaining allotments in the next few weeks. The total worth of the outstanding land HS2 needs to purchase is still under negotiation, the project’s bosses added.
“HS2 Ltd is confident that all the land required for phase one will be secured before powers expire and we have no intention of extending the existing compulsory powers,” said a project spokesperson.
“In many cases, we have deliberately delayed serving notices until as late as possible to give additional time to develop plans that will minimise the amount of land that needs to be acquired permanently.”
Land disputes have been one of the main challenges to the development of the project. In March, HS2 was forced to settle a £500m lawsuit after Sydney & London Properties alleged that the railway undervalued its properties around Euston station.
Sydney & London’s was not the only lawsuit that HS2 was hit with. In July, Siemens sued HS2 over a £2.8bn contract to build trains for the new link, City A.M. reported.