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Community Projects get £45 million HS2 funding


The initial recipients of the £45 million HS2 Phase One Community and Environment Fund (CEF) and Business and Local Economy Fund (BLEF) have been revealed by the Government. Community projects near the route of the HS2 railway will receive more than £245,000, as part pf a £45 million fund to build a lasting legacy for the project, HS2 Minister Nusrat Ghani said.

The funds include £40 million to support those affected by the first phase of construction of the HS2 link between London and Birmingham. However a further £5 million is to be made available to communities along the planned HS2 Phase 2a route, linking Crewe and the West Midlands. Among the initial recipients of finances are an environmental awareness charity, a pre-school in Northampton and a 900-year-old church in Warwickshire.

Ms Ghani said the funding aims to help minimise the disruption and other effects caused by building the new railway. “HS2 will be the backbone of our national rail network – supporting growth and regeneration and helping us build a Britain fit for the future,” she added. The minister added that the funding will help “unlock the potential of communities and businesses” so that the “legacy of HS2 extends beyond the railway”. Ms Ghani suggested that the Government is keen for HS2 to be “more than just a railway”, by enabling further transport improvements and economic growth in the regions surrounding it.

Measures that can enhance employment and regional economies could be supported by the funds, as well as conservation and refurbishment work. Cathy Elliott, the independent chair of CEF and BLEF, described the initial response to the projects as “fantastic” and suggested that more funding is likely to be made available in the future. Meanwhile HS2 Ltd Chief Executive Mark Thursten has spoken of the need to “leave a positive legacy” for those living along the route of the railway. “We’re encouraging local people to come forward with other opportunities, such as community-led nature projects which could contribute to the ‘green corridor’ we’re creating alongside the railway,” he added.

As well as increasing rail capacity in the UK, the new HS2 line will also connect eight of the ten largest cities in the country. 

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