HOMEOWNERS who could be affected by a planned high speed railway line through the Buckinghamshire countryside can apply for compensation from today.

People living in the vicinity of the proposed route can now apply for help under the Exceptional Hardship Scheme.

The preferred route of the line between London and Birmingham, announced by the Department for Transport earlier this year, would cut through the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in a series of cuttings and go in a tunnel underneath Amersham and the Chalfonts.

Other routes, including crossing the Hughenden Valley on a series of viaducts, have also been proposed – but residents living along other planned lines are not eligible to apply for compensation.

The project, know as High Speed 2, has caused widespread anger in the county and has led to several campaign groups being set up.

A protest walk along part of the planned route between Amersham and Great Missenden is due to take place on September 11.

HS2 Ltd, the company behind the project, said property owners who would “suffer exceptional hardship” if they are unable to do sell their homes, can apply for the Government to buy their property at its full unblighted value.

Property owners can download the guidance and an application form at http://www.hs2.org.uk/exceptional-hardship-scheme (see link below), or get a free copy of these documents by contacting the HS2 enquiry line on 020 7944 4908. Copies are also being sent to central libraries along the line of the route.