HS2 Ltd has announced the availability of six funds to support communities impacted by the construction of the next phase of the rail network from the West Midlands to Crewe
Following the success of HS2’s Community & Environment Fund (CEF) and Business & Local Economy Fund (BLEF) along with the first phase of the route between the West Midlands and London, the initiative has now been extended to the new 2a section of HS2, which extends the railway to Crewe.
These six initiatives cover a range of community, environment and road safety issues.
Applications are now open for the £5m CEF and BLEF funds for Phase 2a which are designed to go beyond mitigation and statutory compensation to benefit communities and economies along the route.
A £6.5m HS2 Road Safety Fund will provide a legacy of improvements to the network to benefit communities along the route.
HS2 Ltd’s Woodland Fund has also been extended to the 36-mile 2a route. Two million pounds will be available to help with the creation of native broadleaved woodlands and restoration of ancient woodland.
A new £2m Biodiversity Investment Fund is being set up to help create or enhance wildlife habitats going beyond environmental mitigation or compensating for those habitats affected by construction, in an effort to deliver “biodiversity gains” along the route.
And a fund of £850k has been made available to help with landscape and environmental projects in the Cheshire East borough area.
Transforming transport links between Britain’s major cities
More than 16,000 jobs and over 500 apprenticeships are already being supported by the project, which is set to transform transport links between Britain’s major cities, free up space on the rail network for more freight and local services and support the UK’s transition to net-zero carbon emissions.
HS2 Ltd’s phase 2a delivery director, Colette Carroll, said: “As well as delivering the benefits of investing in HS2 farther north we are determined to work with communities along the railway’s route to deliver a positive legacy.”
Cathy Elliott, independent chair of CEF and BLEF HS2 Funds, added: “HS2’s CEF and BLEF funds have been positively received along with the first phase of the line.
“Communities and businesses along 2a to Crewe are now able to apply and I encourage them to do so to have the opportunity to gain the tangible benefits available from the Funds.”