High Speed 2 (HS2) is the first major rail project planned in England since the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (with the exception of Crossrail in London). HS2 will connect London to Leeds and Manchester via Birmingham in a "Y shaped" network. Maps of the route are available from the Department for Transport (DfT) website.

The Government will seek consent for the project, including the compulsory purchase powers it requires to make way for the development, by way of two hybrid bills. The route will be constructed and legislated for in two phases, with the hybrid bill for the first stage expected to begin its passage through Parliament in late 2013.

Actual compulsory acquisition may still be a few years away and it is unclear how many and which properties will be affected by compulsory acquisition. However, HS2 has already begun to impact dealings with properties situated along or adjacent to the route. Obvious permanent and temporary implications include compulsory acquisition of property, disturbance and blight, and devaluation of properties due to their proximity to the route.

Safeguarding will also begin to affect how property owners deal with their interests. The Government has recently published two further consultations: the first dealing with safeguarding, and the second dealing with compensation.

The safeguarding consultation proposes to protect an area of around 60 metres either side of the London to Birmingham route. Detailed maps of the areas proposed to be safeguarded are available on the DfT website. Once the safeguarding directions have been issued, planning permission for proposals within the safeguarded area cannot be granted unless the Government considers those proposals do not conflict with the HS2 scheme. This could potentially have significant impacts for properties, particularly development properties, within the safeguarded areas.

Parties which could be affected should be reviewing their position now to ensure their interests are taken into account in any future decisions made.

What should you do next? Wragge & Co's planning experts highlight some points that businesses should consider.