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Survey work.

Access to land and property

The HS2 Ltd Land Access Team are responsible for agreeing access to private land for the purposes of completing surveys before Royal Assent.

Surveys required before Royal Assent will be carried out under a licence. Any surveys required after Royal Assent will be carried out under the land Powers in the HS2 Act (see below for surveys completed under the Phase One and Phase 2a Acts).

These surveys will help us to build a detailed picture of the natural environment along the HS2 route. The data taken from these surveys will inform us and help us minimise HS2’s environmental footprint.

Our experienced Land Access team are responsible for understanding who legally owns and occupies the land we need for the surveys and as such, will complete land referencing. This helps us to understand who is affected by the Proposed Scheme and this is recorded for future Bill deposits. They will also process all payments associated with the works.

Phase One

Access for surveys is taken under the land Powers in the Phase One Act.

Learn more about land referencing here.

Phase 2a

The Phase 2a Bill has been passed following Royal Assent in February 2021 and Land Access Licence activity has now come to an end. All Licence agreements have now expired, with exception of a few legacy licences. Access for surveys will now be taken under the land Powers in the Phase 2a Act.

Phase 2b

What to do if you receive a:

  • Ground Investigation (GI) licence;
  • Early Access Agreement (EAA) licence;
  • Monitoring licence (ML);
  • Land Interest Questionnaire (LIQ); or
  • Sound Noise and vibration Licence

Please carefully read through the documents then sign and return the licence / LIQ. If you have any queries regarding the documents you have received, please contact WSP on 0161 200 5299 or contact the HS2 Helpdesk.

Learn more about land access here.

If you feel that you need legal representation, you should appoint a Land Agent or solicitor. Annex 2, found in the Access licences, shows the rate for professional fees that we will pay on your behalf. Advice on Land Agents can be found on the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors, National Farmers Union, The Central Association for Agricultural Valuers websites or you can contact them for more information:

Early Access Agreement (EAA)

As we develop the plans for the HS2 railway, we are required to build up a clear picture of the local environment and settings. This helps us to create a design to minimise impacts and reduce environmental effects. Surveys are an important part of this as they provide a baseline of the current environmental conditions. Where possible, we work on publicly accessible land including footpaths and rights of way. However, some surveys will involve accessing private land. For this, we need the agreement and cooperation of landowners and property occupiers through the means of an EAA.

Most HS2 surveys are ‘non-intrusive’:

  • We observe, measure, and take notes and photographs; and
  • we may need to take surface samples.

Surveys typically do not cause any significant disturbance to the environment, land or property. However, they usually require access to a particular location or habitat, such as:

  • woodlands;
  • water bodies;
  • buildings (for ecological species surveys);
  • agricultural land for soil classification validation (ground sampling); or
  • other assets, like archaeological or heritage sites.

Learn more about our environmental surveys here or read our non-technical environmental surveys guide.

Ground Investigation (GI)

To continue developing the design of the proposed scheme, we need to understand the ground conditions of the land that we want to build on (or in). This information will help designers to develop solutions for the structures we want to build such as bridges, viaducts, stations and depots. It will provide information for the design of road and river diversions, tunnels, cuttings and embankments.

The ground investigations will also provide information on the nature and extent of any contaminated land which could be disturbed by the construction of the railway, as well as confirming the location of utilities and potential utility diversions.

Ground data from GI will ensure that the contractors designing and building the railway can do so safely, economically and efficiently. The information will also help us to reduce the risk of any unexpected ground conditions during construction.

In civil engineering and building, unexpected ground conditions are the most common reason for projects ending up significantly late or over budget. It is important to know about the conditions before we begin construction.

Lean more about our ground investigation surveys here or read our non-technical ground investigations guide.

Monitoring licence (ML)

The purpose of this agreement is to allow for continuous monitoring of previously installed monitoring equipment (where applicable). This licence is generally issued where works under a GI licence have taken place and monitoring equipment has been left on site to record ground water levels. 

Sound, Noise and Vibration Licence

The purpose of this licence is to get information on the current sound, noise and vibration conditions in areas close to the Proposed Scheme, to establish a baseline against which the environmental effects of HS2 are assessed and reported.

Noise monitoring will be carried out in areas that are representative of sensitive noise receptors along the route. This includes residential properties, commercial premises and public amenities. We will talk to the Environmental Health Departments of the relevant local authorities about the monitoring locations. No internal noise monitoring in houses or other buildings will be required.

Access to private land will be required to set up and remove noise monitoring equipment, and for measurements by a surveyor (no more than two hours per location). For vibration, less monitoring locations will be required and will be at known sensitive locations and existing vibration sources, including near existing railway lines. For both noise and vibration monitoring, survey equipment may need to be secured on private land and residential property, and repeat measurements may be needed to ensure they are accurate and representative.

Land Interest Questionnaire (LIQ)

An LIQ is a form filled out by you to confirm if you have an interest in any of the land which is affected by the proposed HS2 scheme. The LIQ asks for information such owners, lessees or tenants on that land. This information will be used to create the Book of Reference which will accompany the hybrid Bill into Parliament.

Phase 2b Webinar: Land referencing, surveying and access, Autumn 2020 update