HS2 compensation scheme 'miserly', says Boris Johnson

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Willesden Junction, near the Old Oak Common site which will be redeveloped as part of HS2Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Willesden Junction, near the Old Oak Common site which will be redeveloped as part of HS2

The mayor of London has accused the government of not properly compensating homeowners affected by major projects such as High Speed 2 and Crossrail.

The Treasury has taken a "miserly" approach to compensation, he said.

The Department for Transport has previously called the HS2 compensation package "comprehensive".

Giving evidence to Parliament on Thursday, a group of residents near the line's route in west London stressed they wanted "fair" treatment.

Speaking on BBC Radio London, Boris Johnson said: "This affects many people in London who find that their homes are near points of important transport infrastructure development and they must be properly compensated

"If this were France, we'd be covering them with pyramids of gold. They'd say this is for the good of the country and we're going to buy you out at top dollar."

Asked why that had not happened, he said: "It's basically a miserly Treasury approach, always trying to cheese-pare in that sort of thing.

"It's much more expensive in the long run... You'd be better off, frankly, compensating them generously to begin with."

The Treasury has yet to comment.

Speaking to the High Speed Rail Bill select committee, Amanda Souter, chair of the Wells House Road Residents' Association, said people were looking for "a fair package of compensation and mitigation measures".

The first phase of HS2 is due to open in 2026, connecting London and Birmingham, followed by a V-shaped phase two taking the line from Birmingham to Manchester and Yorkshire.

Last year the government announced extra compensation for those living up to 120m from the line.

At the time Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin described it as a "comprehensive package of compensation and assistance, looking after those people who live along the HS2 route while balancing our responsibilities to the taxpayer".

In addition, anyone living within 60m will be offered the chance to sell their properties to the government for their full value plus 10%.