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Ground Settlement

What is Ground Settlement?

Settlement is the technical term given to the way the ground moves around a hole after it has been dug out. Building tunnels, shafts and basements can cause a small amount of movement to the ground.

We know how to limit the effects of this movement on buildings. In the majority of cases, settlement does not cause damage to properties. In some cases there may be small cracks in plaster, and in a few cases doors or windows may stick. In very rare instances, settlement can affect the structure of the building.

In recent years there have been a number of large projects that have involved tunnelling in built up areas. These include the Eurostar High Speed line, London Underground extensions and London’s Crossrail. These projects have assisted our understanding about how the ground can move when tunnels are built.

In building the new railway we are committed to being a good neighbour every single day, by respecting the people and communities we affect and being sensitive to their needs. This means we will try to create as little settlement as we can. We do this by controlling the way that excavation work is carried out and then, if necessary, treating the ground so that ground movement is reduced.

Further information can be found in the Phase One HS2 Guide to Ground Settlement and the Phase 2a HS2 Guide to Ground Settlement. This guide tells you about settlement on HS2 and provides information on:

  • how your property might be affected;
  • what we will do to protect your property or pay for repairs;
  • how we will keep you informed; and
  • what a settlement deed is and how to apply for one.

HS2’s commitments with regard to settlement are also explained in Information Paper C3: Ground Settlement.

Settlement Deeds

What is a settlement deed?

A settlement deed is a formal legal agreement between the property owner potentially affected by settlement and HS2. A property owner is someone who has a legal responsibility for the property, usually the freeholder or leaseholder.

It provides a legal undertaking from us. Property owners do not have to enter into a settlement deed unless you choose to as HS2 is responsible for any damage caused to your house as a result of our works.

How do you register for a settlement deed?

Phase One

We are writing to any resident during 2020 and 2021 who will be affected by this work to tell them about what will happen and when, and how they can apply for a Settlement Deed.

If we have not written to you yet, you can also pre-register your interest for a deed at any time by contacting our Helpdesk all day, every day:

Email: [email protected]
Freephone: 08081 434 434
Minicom: 08081 456 4726

When responding to a letter from HS2 Ltd about settlement deeds, or pre-registering, you will be asked to provide your name, the address of the property in question, an email address and telephone number.

Please note some correspondence may be by letter.

Once you have made a formal application we will assess whether you meet the eligibility requirements for a settlement deed. If you are the owner of the property and your property is within 30m of one of our excavations for structures like tunnels, portals and shafts then you will be eligible. If you are more than 30m away from our works your property is unlikely to be at risk of settlement. If you are not sure how close your property is to our works, please contact the HS2 Helpdesk.

Phase Two

As parliamentary permission to build this part of the route has not yet been given, there is no need to pre-register for a settlement deed if you live near the proposed route of either Phase 2a (West Midlands to Crewe) or Phase 2b (Crewe to Manchester, and the West Midlands to Leeds).