Landowners along the new HS2 high-speed rail route, which will run through London and the West Midlands, will be offered an initial £1,000 payment to allow surveyors access to their land.

The deal struck by the National Farmers' Union (NFU) and the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) will allow access for environmental survey work on the planned line, which will run from London to the West Midlands and the north.

The Government gave the go-ahead to the £32.7 billion scheme, which will cut journey times from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, last month despite opposition from local residents, campaign groups and some Tory MPs.

The NFU and CLA announced they had reached a voluntary agreement for an initial £1,000 payment - which will be split between the tenant and landowner where the land is let - for letting contractors onto their land to carry out surveys.

Farmers and landowners will be in line for additional payments if further environmental impact assessments are needed and will be paid for damage done or losses caused.

The environmental and engineering survey programme will now begin, with ecological studies initially identifying plants, animals and habitats.

More detailed investigations will then be carried out for specific species such as protected dormice and badgers, if necessary.

The Government-owned company driving the project, HS2 Ltd, said it had begun contacting individual landowners to arrange site visits.