These six initiatives cover a range of community, environment and road safety issues.
Following the success of HS2’s Community & Environment Fund (CEF) and Business & Local Economy Fund (BLEF) along 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.
Applications are now open for the £5m CEF and BLEF funds for Phase 2a which are designed go beyond mitigation and statutory compensation to benefit communities and economies along the route. (Link to HS2 Community and Business Funds)
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.
In addition to these funds an innovation for Phase 2a of the route, 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. This Fund is now open for applications.
Lastly, two further funds focus on specific areas along the route. The Trent-Sow Parklands and Cannock Chase area of outstanding natural beauty has received funding of £1.5m for a project to support and enhance the area. And a fund of £850k has been made available to help with landscape and environmental projects in the Cheshire East borough area.
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. Today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to bringing that forward now.”
Cathy Elliott, Independent Chair of CEF and BLEF HS2 Funds, said:
“HS2’s CEF and BLEF funds have been positively received along 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.’
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.
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