The government is to buy homes and businesses devalued by their proximity to proposed high-speed link

A compensation scheme for homeowners affected by the proposed high speed London-Birmingham rail link has been launched.

The government, advised by an independent panel, will buy homes and business properties devalued by their proximity to High-Speed 2 – the planned multi-billion pound route – under the Exceptional Hardship Scheme.

The scheme only applies to properties near the preferred route of High-Speed 2, which leaves London via Ruislip, passes near Amersham, Wendover and Aylesbury, before approaching Birmingham between Coventry and Kenilworth – and not more westerly or easterly alternatives.

Applicants must prove that their property has been on the market for over three months and attracted no offers above 85% of its value before the route announcement.

Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond said: “People who currently are faced with extreme hardship as a result of the identification of that route have the possibility of being able to sell their properties, notwithstanding the inevitable planning blight.”