FARMING MATTERS: HS2 deals low blow to farms

Tom Cackett, NFU county adviser for Berks, Bucks and Oxon
Tom Cackett, NFU county adviser for Berks, Bucks and Oxon

Glorious Hartwell House was the setting for the AGM of Aylesbury NFU, and the meal cooked by head chef Daniel Richardson and his team was, as always, superb.

One of the speakers was Tom Cackett, county adviser for Berks, Bucks and Oxon and his subject was HS2.

He began by saying: “The one question I keep being asked is, will it still happen?

“Unfortunately yes it will. The amount of money and work that has been put into it is incomprehensible so unfortunately it is going to happen.”

I sincerley hope he is wrong, and I still hold out hope that a miracle will occur and HS2 will be shelved.

But if it isn’t, here is some food for thought that Mr Cackett shared with us.

The entire track of HS2 is broken into 26 community forum areas and eight of those fall within Buckinghamshire.

In our long thin county, 29 per cent of the track will be in Buckinghamshire - meaning 2,500 acres will be lost in this county.

What can farmers do to offset this huge loss of their land? They can’t replace it if it doesn’t exist (in 2014 only 308 acres of agricultural land came onto the market in Bucks) and the price of what little may come onto the market will be pushed up because of the enormous competition for it. The impact of HS2 on farmers is truly huge.