Landscape and green space projects can bid for HS2 impact funding

Landscape, nature conservation and sports ground projects are among the improvement schemes that can now apply for a share of £40 million HS2 impact funding.

Communities affected by HS2 can improve their environments
Communities affected by HS2 can improve their environments

Groundwork is administrating the fund established to offset the disruption on local communities and businesses from the construction of the Phase One of HS2.

The funding will be available during the construction and first year of operation of the high speed rail link between London and the West Midlands over the next 11 years and is split between the Business and Local Economy Fund (BLEF) and the HS2 Community and Environment Fund (CEF), the latter primarily aimed at the voluntary/community sector, including residents’ associations, constituted community groups, Community Interest Companies, social enterprises, community businesses and registered charities.

Other organisations may be eligible to apply for funding too, for example if they have been formally established for public benefit and are not for profit. More information on eligible organisations is included in the guidance document.

Applicants can apply for funding, demonstrating how their area is going to be disrupted by construction, and the sustainability of their project. Priority will be given to projects that are based within 1km miles of the high-speed rail line. Groundwork UK will assess all applications on a rolling basis, in line with quarterly independent panel meetings at which larger projects will be considered. Allocations are overseen by an independent chair of the funds, Cathy Eliott.

She said: "We welcome from today good quality bids from communities demonstrably disrupted by construction of  Phase One of HS2.  We want to assure potential applicants that rigorous management of the funding available will ensure that money is available throughout the construction period of Phase One, and there will be no advantages of submitting early or disadvantages of submitting them later during the construction period."

Suggested projects include:

  • Improved pedestrian, equestrian, or cycle access not provided under statutory services
  • Landscape and nature conservation enhancement projects which increase biodiversity (including pop up interventions such as skip gardens)
  • Enhancement or replacement of sports and recreational facilities
  • Improved access and enhancements to public open space
  • Provision of enhanced or new community facilities
  • Refurbishment/re-use of historic buildings and monuments

The impact fund was announced by the Transport Secretary on the 12 October 2016. There is £7.5 million for the Greater London area, £15 million for Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Hertfordshire and  £7.5 million for Birmingham, Solihull and Coventry.

£10 million will remain unallocated to allow flexibility to fund bids for cross-border, route-wide projects, as well as to fund bids from other areas affected by the construction of the Scheme, but geographically separated from the main route, such as off route construction as contained within the High Speed Rail Act.

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