Farming Matters: Protesting about HS2

Vale farmers attending an NFU meeting about HS2
Vale farmers attending an NFU meeting about HS2

Farmers collected in London on Monday last week ahead of the second reading of the HS2 London to Birmingham Hybrid Bill.

They were there to meet MPs and to explain how this montrous vanity project will destroy the lives and livlihoods of generations of farmers.

Staff from the National Farmers Union were on hand to guide and support the farmers.

Matt Ware, head of government and parliamentary affairs at the NFU, said: “Monday was a very humbling experience, to meet people whose entire life’s work, and in many cases generations of it, is being undone. It seems so random the way the route is going through people’s homes. It’s staggering that there is no leeway.

“Given the huge government majority and with Labour now backing it, we have to be realistic and we are now pushing for mitigation and compensation. These farmers are not choosing to sell their land, it is being forced on them. It is very sad.”

Mr Ware said the farmers in attendance were surprised that more of their number had not made the journey to London. But it’s likely that after months of meetings and written representation many now feel resigned.

The only prominent party that has said it will definitely cancel HS2 is UKIP, and as the party currently has no MPs in parliament, unless there is a political shift of earthquake proportions at the next general election, the line looks increasingly likely to be built.

The NFU is therefore focusing on trying to ensure farmers get the best mitigation possible for something none of them want.