Wind farms could be built along the route of HS2 in a major resurrection of onshore turbines in Britain, under Government-commissioned plans.
An official strategy document seen by The Sunday Telegraph proposes powering the controversial rail line using lucrative onshore wind farms spanning the equivalent of 19,000 football fields.
For some stretches of the line the majority of electricity would come from solar or wind farms built “on or near” the track, according to the plans. The document indicates that the move would require more land being purchased by developers along the route of the line, and could tip the scheme over its £56 billion budget.
The plan is likely to spark fury among MPs and residents who already fear the line will blight landscape.
The strategy sets out prices that would be pre-agreed with energy firms, at rates experts claimed would lead to passengers or taxpayers effectively paying a new “hidden subsidy” for wind farms, after formal subsidies were ended four years ago following a revolt by Conservative MPs.
John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, which publishes data on wind farms, said: “The proposed arrangements would amount to a hidden subsidy that would have to be funded by passengers or taxpayers or both. They could easily make HS2 the world’s most expensive railway.”