Communities and businesses near the new HS2 high speed railway will benefit from grants worth millions, Transport Minister Robert Goodwill announced.
The Community and Environment Fund (CEF) and the Business and Local Economy Fund (BLEF) will make up to £30 million available for residents and local communities between London and Birmingham to invest in public projects such as the refurbishment of local community centres, nature conservation and measures to support local economies and employment.
Community groups, charities, non-governmental organisations and business support organisations will be able to bid for grants from the new funds, which are expected to be rolled out when construction starts in 2017, following Royal Assent of the High Speed Rail (London to West Midlands) Bill. Grants will be awarded until the end of HS2’s first year of operation in 2026.
Robert Goodwill said:
“HS2 is crucial to the long-term prosperity of this country. It will free up space on our railways, cut journey times between our biggest cities and drive forward our economy for years to come.
However, it’s only right we do all we can to help those living and working close to this vital railway. These new funds, totalling £30 million, are in addition to the comprehensive package of support we have already announced and will further help communities and businesses make the most of this once in a generation scheme and crucial part of the government’s long-term economic plan.”