High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill: Instruction (No. 3)

Business of the House (Today) – in the House of Commons at 3:44 pm on 23rd June 2015.

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Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) 3:44 pm, 23rd June 2015

I beg to move,

That it be a further Instruction to the Select Committee to which the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill is committed–

(1) that the Select Committee have power to consider–

(a) amendments relating to the vertical and horizontal alignment of the proposed railway in the vicinity of the A38 and Trent and Mersey Canal in the parishes of Fradley and Streethay, King's Bromley and Whittington in the County of Staffordshire;

(b) amendments conferring additional power to carry out works in the Borough of Slough and in the parish of Iver in the County of Buckinghamshire for the purpose of providing a new Heathrow Express depot in the Borough of Slough (to the north east of Langley railway station), in consequence of the displacement of the existing depot because of the exercise of powers conferred by the Bill;

(c) amendments conferring additional power to provide sidings for Crossrail services at Old Oak Common in the London Boroughs of Ealing and Hammersmith and Fulham that could be extended in the future to create a connection between the West Coast Main Line Railway and the Great Western Main Line;

(d) amendments to accommodate the requirements of landowners and occupiers in

i. the London Boroughs of Brent and Ealing;

ii. the parishes of Barton Hartshorn, Calvert Green, Chetwode, Great Missenden, Grendon Underwood, Little Missenden, Preston Bissett, The Lee and Twyford in the County of Buckinghamshire;

iii. the parishes of Godington and Mixbury in the County of Oxfordshire;

iv. the parishes of Aston-le-Walls, Boddington, Chipping Warden and Edgcote, Greatworth, Radstone, Thorpe Mandeville and Whitfield in the County of Northamptonshire;

v. the parishes of Burton Green, Coleshill, Curdworth, Kenilworth, Ladbroke, Lea Marston, Middleton, Offchurch, Southam, Stoneleigh, Stoneton, Wishaw and Moxhull and Wormleighton in the County of Warwickshire;

vi. the parishes of Armitage with Handsacre, Drayton Bassett, Hints with Canwell, King's Bromley, Swinfen and Packington and Whittington in the County of Staffordshire;

vii. the parishes of Balsall, Berkswell, Chelmsley Wood and Hampton-in­Arden in the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull; and

viii. the City of Birmingham;

(e) amendments to accommodate changes to the design of the works authorised by the Bill in:

i. the London Boroughs of Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham and Hillingdon and the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea;

ii. the District of Three Rivers in the County of Hertfordshire;

iii. the parishes of Chetwode, Denham, Ellesborough, Great Missenden, Grendon Underwood, Little Missenden, Preston Bissett, Quainton, Steeple Claydon, Stoke Mandeville, Turweston, Twyford and Wendover in the County of Buckinghamshire;

iv. the parishes of Godington and Mixbury in the County of Oxfordshire;

v. the parishes of Aston-le-Walls, Boddington, Greatworth, Marston St Lawrence, Radstone and Thorpe Mandeville in the County of Northamptonshire;

vi. the parishes of Coleshill, Curdworth, Kingsbury, Lea Marston, Middleton, Offchurch, Radbourne and Stoneleigh in the County of Warwickshire;

vii. the parishes of Colwich, Drayton Bassett, Fradley and Streethay, Hints with Canwell, King's Bromley, Swinfen and Packington and Weeford in the County of Staffordshire;

viii. the parishes of Berkswell and Bickenhill in the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull;

ix. the City of Birmingham;

(f) amendments to the definition of "deposited statement" in clause 63(1) of the Bill to refer to supplementary environmental information provided in relation to matters which do not require an extension of the powers of the Bill to construct works or acquire land;

(g) amendments for purposes connected with any of the matters mentioned in sub­ paragraphs (a) to (f);

(2) that any petition against amendments to the Bill which the Select Committee is empowered to make shall be referred to the Select Committee if– a) the petition is presented by being deposited in the Private Bill Office not later than the end of the period of four weeks beginning with the day on which the first newspaper notice of the amendments was published, and

(b) the petition is one in which the petitioners pray to be heard by themselves or through counsel or agents.

That these Orders be Standing Orders of the House.

The motion relates to the High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill that is currently before a Select Committee of this House. The role of that Committee is to hear petitions against the Bill from those who are, to use the legal term, “directly and specially affected” by it. The Committee, under the chairmanship of my hon. Friend Mr Syms, has already heard more petitions in 11 months than the Crossrail Bill Select Committee dealt with in its entire 21 months of sitting.

Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant Conservative, Lichfield

But does this not demonstrate the rather crass way in which HS2 initially dealt with our constituents? I should like to praise the work of my hon. Friend Mr Syms. He has a unique ability to put constituents’ minds at ease when they feel tense as they appear before a Select Committee.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

I would extend that praise to the other members of the Committee, who have dealt very well with people who can be nervous in that situation. I should also like to take this opportunity to praise the work done by my officials at HS2, who have gone the extra mile to address some of the petition issues before they even needed to reach the Committee.

As intended, the process has led to many sensible changes to the scheme in order to address the needs and concerns of petitioners. Some of the changes have been agreed by HS2 Ltd dealing directly with petitioners, and some were recommended in the Select Committee’s recent interim report, to which the Government responded on 4 June. Many changes can be accommodated using existing powers, but some require the powers in the Bill to be extended—for example, when a change requires the use of land that is not included in the Bill. In such circumstances, an additional provision is required. This is effectively a mini-hybrid Bill, with its own environmental statement and petitioning period for those “directly and specially affected” by the changes.

The motion relates to an additional provision that, subject to it being passed, the Government intend to deposit on 13 July. The additional provision contains 125 changes, along the line of route beyond Camden, that have resulted from the petitioning process and from HS2 Ltd’s continued development of the design of the railway. The changes are mostly of a minor nature. They include the realignment of access routes and the diversion of footpaths following discussions with affected landowners, or the relocation of areas of ecological mitigation to reduce the impacts on farming operations. I am tempted to say that this is a tidying-up process, but I recall that that was how some described the Lisbon treaty.

There are, however, proposals for three significant changes. As already announced, we propose to realign the route in the Lichfield area so that it runs in a cutting rather than on an embankment, as well as moving the route away from the Trent and Mersey canal. This will enable the line to go under the A38, the South Staffordshire railway and the west coast main line, which will significantly reduce the visual impact of the railway in the area. I hope the House will welcome this example of the promoter seeking to take on board petitioners’ concerns and integrate them into the HS2 project where we are able to do so. I am particularly pleased that, in this case, the solution will be less expensive to deliver.

Photo of Greg Knight Greg Knight Conservative, East Yorkshire

Will the Minister tell the House what effect those route changes will have on the proposed journey times?

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

They will have no effect at all on the journey times. This is about delivering the project by and large as planned. HS2 is more about capacity than it is about journey times. This is about addressing the real capacity issues that we have on our rail network, particularly between Birmingham and London.

The most significant other change concerns the Heathrow Express depot. It is currently located at Old Oak Common, but it needs to be relocated in order to construct the new Old Oak Common station. It was originally intended to be moved to another site nearby, but more detailed operational work undertaken by Network Rail since the Bill’s deposit has revealed that that site would not work operationally. We therefore propose to relocate the depot to a site in Langley, near Slough.

Photo of Andrew Slaughter Andrew Slaughter Shadow Minister (Justice)

Will the Minister shed more light on his statement that this “would not work operationally”? What I have heard on the grapevine, which has been my only source of information, is that there is more potential to make money out of the Old Oak site than out of the Langley site, and so Network Rail wants a depot out and more commercial development in.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

We looked closely at the North Pole depot site, but the Langley site is operationally more effective, and it also means that we would not block any proposal that might come forward for the Great Western line to connect with Crossrail at terminal 5.

Photo of Fiona Mactaggart Fiona Mactaggart Labour, Slough

Will the Minister explain what he means by “operationally more effective”, because to any normal person it would seem odd that it is “operationally more effective” to have a depot that is not even on the route between Heathrow and Paddington?

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

In these matters we are advised by Network Rail, which informs us that the practicality of operating these depots is such that the Langley site is the best one on which to locate this depot.

Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Conservative, Beaconsfield

In considering the Langley site, what work has been done on the knock-on consequences for transport within the Iver area? I ask that because there are specific schemes to relieve the heavy goods vehicle problem that is besetting Iver, and it is widely concluded that the project being proposed here will prevent those schemes from happening. In particular, I refer to the relief road into the back of the Ridgeway trading estate. This matters very much and will have to be sorted out if this proposal is to go ahead.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Those are precisely the sort of issues that petitioners can come forward with as part of the hybrid Bill process that this additional provision triggers. May I make it clear that we are not, at this point, considering agreement on these changes? This is about setting the process in train so that these points can be made and the Committee can look at them.

Photo of Rob Flello Rob Flello Labour, Stoke-on-Trent South

Will the Minister clarify that last point? Will an environmental impact study be carried out on the difference between the two possible depot sites? Has that been considered or is it something that will come further down the line, if he will pardon the pun?

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

There will indeed be an environmental statement to address the impact that will arise from the 18 changes that require additional powers in the Bill—for example, a new location for the replacement village hall for Burton Green. An environmental statement will accompany those additional provisions, and some changes that do not require additional provisions will also have their own environmental statement, which will allow those particularly important environmental considerations to be discussed.

The additional provision includes powers to build sidings for Crossrail at Old Oak Common which may in future enable a link to be built between Crossrail and the west coast main line. That is not in itself part of HS2, but doing the work after HS2 is built would incur significant expense and disruption.

Photo of Rupa Huq Rupa Huq Labour, Ealing Central and Acton

It is good that these points made by homeowners have been addressed. On Old Oak Common, what compensation is available to residents in Wells House Road and Midland Terrace in NW10, because they say that their suburban way of life will be demolished? Their gardens are being compulsorily purchased and then they will also have to deal with noise, disruption and all sorts of other things for 10 years. Whatever compensation scheme—

Photo of Lindsay Hoyle Lindsay Hoyle Chair, Panel of Chairs, Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Ways and Means, Chair, Panel of Chairs, Chairman of Ways and Means

Order. You can sit down and relax for a second, as I want to try to be helpful. The hon. Lady has just come in and normally I would just let that go, but we must have short interventions.

If she wants to catch my eye to speak, I am more than happy for that to happen. That might be a good way to address this, but we must have short interventions as this debate will last only an hour and a half. Wherever I can be helpful, I will be.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The hon. Lady makes precisely the point that has already been raised by many residents about the existing provision before the hybrid Bill Committee. The additional provisions in AP2 will also allow them to have that say, so that, if necessary, mitigation can be put in place to lessen the impact of construction traffic and to look at alternative routes for traffic and other such things. I have been down the line of route, and I do understand many of the problems. Indeed, I was in Slough on Sunday, and saw the site from the train. I know exactly where it is located.

Photo of Rob Flello Rob Flello Labour, Stoke-on-Trent South

On the future-proofing issue, the Minister may possibly be aware that I have a certain interest in Stoke-on-Trent being serviced ideally by HS2 directly. However, is the Handsacre junction also being future proofed to protect areas such as Stoke-on-Trent? Do these provisions address that?

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

That matter does not specifically relate to measures in AP2. Where possible, we will ensure that, as we construct the railway line, we do not rule out other connections, which is precisely the point that I made about the west coast main line.

The changes in total will not increase the overall project budget or target price for phase 1. They result in modest additional costs, but they will be accommodated within the contingency, which is provided for that very purpose.

Photo of Dame Cheryl Gillan Dame Cheryl Gillan Conservative, Chesham and Amersham

Will the Minister tell us what the total additional land take is for these provisions?

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

I do not have those figures to hand, but it is minimal. In most of the additional provisions, which are in the document that has been provided for the convenience of the House, we can see that these are quite small additional areas of land. They are not major changes to the project, but tweaks. In many cases, they are changes made at the request of the landowner or farmer involved because it improves their situation.

As required by Standing Orders, we will be depositing an estimated expense, setting out the gross costs of these changes should the motion be approved. The motion instructs the Committee to consider these amendments and to hear petitions related to them. It is important to note that the motion does not ask the House to agree that these changes should be made; just that the Committee be allowed to consider them. If the House approves the motion, the additional provision and related documents, including an environmental statement describing the likely significant environmental effects of the changes, will be deposited in Parliament and in local authority offices in those locations affected by the changes.

Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant Conservative, Lichfield

I am a little bit curious about the process. What is to prevent a ping-pong taking place, such as we have between the House of Commons and the other place, whereby petitioners say that they do not agree with the changes, and so subsequent changes are made? How does the process end?

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

In most cases, there will be support for these changes. Indeed, as I have already said, many of the changes are at the request of the landowners who are, in many cases, the only people who are affected. In future, it may be necessary to come up with more additional provisions, and we certainly have that option.

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman The Second Church Estates Commissioner

Does my hon. Friend accept that, from the moment of the publication of a document showing the new changes in the site, blight afflicts the properties that are close to the areas affected by these amendments? As a Member of Parliament, I received this document only this morning. My parish council was already aware of the changes. It is an interested party in these changes, but not the landowner.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

That document has been provided for the convenience of the House to help with today’s process. The definitive document will be published on 13 July, and that will be the document on which any submissions on the petitioning process can be made. In addition, a supplementary environmental statement will also be deposited. That describes any new or different likely significant environmental effects that may arise, informed by new survey data that have become available since the deposit of the Bill, as HS2 Ltd has now been granted access to more land. As I have said, those deposits are all planned for 13 July. These documents will supersede the explanatory note made available in advance to MPs and published online last week.

I would like to make Members aware of two minor errors in the document. A change described on page 68 in Berkswell in the constituency of Meriden, while being correctly described and having the correct map, had the wrong plan. One other change relating to a footpath had the correct information provided, but did not clearly highlight the full extent of the footpath that will be amended on page 70. The documents to be deposited on 13 July will contain the full information.

As required by Standing Orders, notices in national and local newspapers will be published immediately after deposit, alerting the public to these changes and the opportunity to feed into the process by petitioning or responding to the consultation, as appropriate. In addition, HS2 Ltd will be writing to those near the proposed changes to highlight the consultation. Once the notices have appeared, a public consultation on the environmental statement lasting 42 days, in accordance with Standing Orders, will commence. This is planned to run from Friday 17 July to Friday 28 August. As with the main environmental statement consultation at the time of Bill deposit, the responses to the consultation will be analysed by Parliament’s independent assessor and the assessor’s report will be tabled in the House ahead of Third Reading.

Photo of Dame Cheryl Gillan Dame Cheryl Gillan Conservative, Chesham and Amersham

Is it not a great shame that once again there is going to be a truncated consultation period for this increase in land take? Also, has the Minister given consideration to the fact that the consultation is taking place over the summer? Many of the people who want to feed back on this may be away.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

I am sure that my right hon. Friend realises that people go on holidays at all times of the year. Indeed, if we moved into the September period, many would argue that that is the party conference season and therefore those involved in politics might not be available. I am aware that there is a major leadership campaign going on in at least one of our political parties, which could also be seen as a reason why one time or another might not be appropriate. I believe that the four-week period is absolutely appropriate. We have had no problems in the past with people being able to provide their petitions.

There will also be a petitioning period of four weeks for those directly or specially affected by the changes in this second additional provision, so that they can submit petitions. That petitioning period will begin on Friday 17 July and end on Friday 14 August for all petitioners.

I hope that the House will agree that these amendments demonstrate that while the Government recognise the vital role that HS2 has to play in transforming our transport network and our economy, we also recognise the need to listen to those directly affected by the railway and, wherever possible, seek to mitigate those impacts. I commend the motion to the House.

Photo of Lilian Greenwood Lilian Greenwood Shadow Minister (Transport) 4:02 pm, 23rd June 2015

I am glad that we are holding this HS2 debate on national women in engineering day. I am sure the whole House would agree that the Government’s investment in rail must be used to encourage more women to take up careers in engineering and in the rail industry.

I welcome the Minister back to his place. I had, of course, hoped to be speaking from his side of the House after the election. I was relishing the possibility of taking ministerial responsibility for the content of each and every one of the Bill’s 50,000 pages, but I reassure the House that the Opposition will continue to subject the Government’s delivery of this important project to close scrutiny.

I want to express our gratitude for the work undertaken by the Bill’s Select Committee, including the Clerks of the Committee, my hon. Friends the Members for Gateshead (Ian Mearns) and for Bolton South East (Yasmin Qureshi), the hon. Members for Poole (Mr Syms), for Worthing West (Sir Peter Bottomley) and for North West Norfolk (Mr Bellingham), and Mike Thornton, the former Member for Eastleigh. I am sure the whole House will want to place on record its appreciation of the time and effort spent by residents and other affected parties who appeared before the Committee, and to thank the outside bodies and Members of this House who provided support to petitioning.

Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

I would like to put on the record my appreciation for the Select Committee, which visited some of the problem areas that we have in Coventry and also visited those people the wrong side of the dividing line who would not qualify for compensation. I hope that the Committee, the Minister and the Secretary of State will remember that a lot of people’s livelihoods depend on this, and their property has been rendered valueless.

Photo of Lilian Greenwood Lilian Greenwood Shadow Minister (Transport)

My hon. Friend is right to highlight the importance of the Committee’s going to visit those places most affected by the route and listening to the concerns expressed.

I know that the constituencies of several Members on both sides of the House are affected by these changes, and they will want to press the Minister on matters of detail, so I shall keep my remarks brief.

The Opposition support HS2 because we believe that it is the right project to address chronic capacity shortfalls on the rail network as well as historically inadequate connections between the cities of the north and the midlands. Those arguments were covered in detail in the House, not least on Second Reading, when the House endorsed the principle of building an initial route between London and Birmingham, so I do not propose to repeat them here. However, I will say that, although HS2 has provoked passionate debate, both sides have always accepted that the project’s design could be improved as the route is refined.

Many of these revisions are undoubtedly positive, and the campaigners who secured changes, such as the reconfiguration of the route at the point it crosses the A38, deserve great credit. That is why the Opposition will not seek to obstruct this motion. Those changes will reduce planning blight for petitioners and provide some measure of certainty to many of those who live along the route. However, I know that a number of right hon. and hon. Members have concerns about these changes, including the relocation of the Heathrow Express depot, and I will make way for them shortly. Before doing so, I would like to put a few questions to the Minister.

I welcome the Minister’s clarification of when the petitioning period will end, but can he say why the information was not included in the Department’s press release, where arguably it would have been seen by more people? Does he accept that the maps published in his explanatory information document do not provide clear information on a number of issues that might be of interest to residents, such as the elevation of new structures or the net land-take of those changes? Will he give an undertaking that any petitioners or Members of the House who request that information will receive it?

As the Minister will be aware, the Bill’s Select Committee has said:

“We have heard that HS2 Limited’s record on engagement has been poor.”

The Department has said that HS2 Ltd is being more timely in its dealings with petitioners who are due to appear before the Committee in June and July. Can he assure the House that that is not simply a case of officials catching up during Dissolution and that engagement between HS2 Ltd and petitioners will be improved permanently? That is of particular concern to those areas at the southern end of the route. In that regard, can he confirm that he expects to bring forward additional provision to cover Euston station later this year? Can he indicate when exactly those changes will be brought forward?

Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant Conservative, Lichfield

The hon. Lady will recall that the former Member for Holborn and St Pancras, who was a doughty campaigner against HS2, had particular concerns about Euston. Has she given any consideration to the

Mayor of London’s comment that, even if the changes can be made at Euston, it will be extremely difficult to get people on to London transport—

Photo of Lindsay Hoyle Lindsay Hoyle Chair, Panel of Chairs, Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Ways and Means, Chair, Panel of Chairs, Chairman of Ways and Means

Order. I think that I might be able to help. This motion does not relate to Euston, so we do not need to go into that now.

Photo of Lilian Greenwood Lilian Greenwood Shadow Minister (Transport)

I will take your direction, Mr Deputy Speaker, but there are undoubtedly issues to be tackled at Euston. Three times now the residents of Camden have been presented with different plans for Euston station, with all the uncertainty that brings. Their treatment has clearly been inadequate, and I urge the Minister to shed a little light on when we can expect those additional provisions—I hope that I am still in order, Mr Deputy Speaker.

Does the Minister agree that it is unacceptable that a number of my hon. Friends have not been informed of the fact that the additional provisions would affect their constituencies? I know from discussions with a number of Members that they have had no communication from HS2 Ltd, or indeed from the Department, and consequently have had only one day’s notice that the changes are being debated. I know that the changes are a cause of concern to a number of hon. Friends. That situation is unacceptable, so I hope that the Minister will take it up with officials. The situation must not be repeated when further additional provisions are brought before the House.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

We are not debating the provisions; we are debating the fact that the Select Committee can receive petitions and consider the changes. We are not debating the provisions at this point.

Photo of Lilian Greenwood Lilian Greenwood Shadow Minister (Transport)

I thank the Minister for his intervention, but this is clearly an opportunity for right hon. and hon. Members who wish to make comments on behalf of their constituents to do so. It is only right that people are aware of the provisions that are being introduced and debated in this House. They will question what the value of these exchanges is if we do not raise concerns on behalf of our constituents.

I seek an assurance from the Minister that, when the Committee has issued an instruction regarding a particular section of the route, it will be acted on accordingly. This is a matter of particular concern in the constituency of my right hon. Friend Liam Byrne. I would welcome a commitment that today’s additional provision does not represent an end to the question of land-take at the Washwood Heath site, and that a mutually agreed solution will still be sought with the site’s owners.

Residents face a plethora of compensation schemes, some of which have been withdrawn, while awareness of others appears to be low. As the HS2 residents commissioner has said:

“It is vital that those who are eligible for the Government’s property compensation and assistance schemes get clear information and know what they are entitled to.”

Will the Minister take steps to clarify what support is available to residents, including those who live outside the rural support zone? This applies particularly to the concerns raised by my hon. Friend Dr Huq.

Photo of Rupa Huq Rupa Huq Labour, Ealing Central and Acton

Does my hon. Friend agree that the residents of Wells House Road and Midland Terrace should be entitled to parity with people further up the line in rural areas? It should not be a case of special treatment for people in the Tory shires.

Photo of Lilian Greenwood Lilian Greenwood Shadow Minister (Transport)

It is vital that the Minister and HS2 Ltd set out precisely the implications for the roads affected in my hon. Friend’s constituency and the compensation that residents are entitled to. It is vital that those who live in the streets next to Old Oak Common, and other urban areas, are treated fairly. Perhaps the Minister will agree to meet her to ensure that she understands those implications.

Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

As I said, and I hope my hon. Friend agrees, Ministers should look again at the compensation package. I have constituents who will not get a penny out of this. In particular, it lowers the value of their housing. They are just outside the catchment area and have been treated very unfairly; they cannot qualify for compensation from anybody.

Photo of Lindsay Hoyle Lindsay Hoyle Chair, Panel of Chairs, Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Ways and Means, Chair, Panel of Chairs, Chairman of Ways and Means

Order. We are straying outside the area of discussion, which is very tight. There are MPs who want to discuss areas of theirs that are affected. I want to be as generous as I can, but it would be wrong of me to allow us to move into areas that are not for discussion today.

Photo of Lilian Greenwood Lilian Greenwood Shadow Minister (Transport)

Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, and I thank my hon. Friend for his comments.

The Committee rightly acknowledged that decisions made on compensation for phase 1 may have consequences for the compensation arrangements for phase 2. The Government’s delay in finalising the route for phase 2 is causing planning blight. In the Committee’s words, “the incoming Administration”—it was speaking in March—

“should make an early decision on whether to proceed with Phase Two and, if it decides to proceed, quickly finalise the Phase Two route.”

That was two months ago. Will the Minister explain why a decision on phase 2 has been delayed, and will he commit to making a final decision by the end of the year?

We welcome the opportunity that the additional provision mechanism offers to refine the route, but as we look to the Government’s record it is difficult to resist a verdict of “Must do better.” Labour Members continue to support this important project and will continue to subject the Bill to line-by-line scrutiny when it enters Committee.

Photo of Dame Cheryl Gillan Dame Cheryl Gillan Conservative, Chesham and Amersham 4:14 pm, 23rd June 2015

It is not often that I follow a Front-Bench Opposition spokesman and can say that I agree with almost every word she spoke.

Once again, I find myself on my feet to decry the process that is being used to put through high-speed rail. The motion before us is just part of a very complex process that is often unfathomable for people outside this House but also sometimes unfathomable for people inside this House. Some of my hon. Friends have not even been able to access the documentation that was made available at the eleventh hour.

Sadly, although the motion has high-level pointers to amendments that relate to my constituency, it does not contain the instructions that I would like to see for a fully bored tunnel to save the area of outstanding natural beauty in my constituency from the HS2 route and the damage and destruction it will cause. I live in hope that one day a fully bored tunnel under the Chilterns will feature in a similar instruction and that the valiant efforts of thousands of people who support that change will come to fruition.

Yesterday, the Select Committee came to Chesham and Amersham and visited Little Missenden, Great Missenden and the Lee, which are subject to the motion. I pay tribute to the members of the Select Committee, who are doing a very thorough job in examining the pain being caused by the project. It is obvious that they are getting a response from the Department and HS2 Ltd: I was so pleased to hear the cheers from my hon. Friend Michael Fabricant about the beneficial changes in his constituency. We look forward to similar changes in Chesham and Amersham. I also pay tribute to the hundreds of people who came out on a working Monday to impress on the Committee their antipathy to the horrors of the present construction plans, which will wreak havoc on the area, as well as to tell at first hand the poignant and desperate stories of their own personal circumstances.

Today, we are looking at the process, which, I say to the Minister, has once again been tested and found wanting. It was very short-sighted not only to let us know in such short order that the motion was to be on the Order Paper, but to not make available alongside it the full details. Members of this House expect to be fully informed of what is going on and to not be told that the matter will be addressed on 13 July. I raised a point of order on that very issue and then, miraculously, had delivered to me additional provision explanatory information, which is dated July 2015. Given that it is still June, it was probably not the intention to release it this month. It relates directly to the provisions and it should have been provided to all Members of Parliament so that they could fully examine the proposals.

The big problem, no matter how small or big the land-take or how big the disruption, is that there is uncertainty for our constituents. For the full details not to have been made available to the Committee to see in situ during yesterday’s visit is not the fair and transparent process I would like the Department and HS2 Ltd to pursue.

Photo of Liam Byrne Liam Byrne Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills)

I am glad that the right hon. Lady is sharing her experience with the House. Has she seen any evidence of High Speed 2 Ltd actually following a word that the High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill Select Committee has issued?

Photo of Dame Cheryl Gillan Dame Cheryl Gillan Conservative, Chesham and Amersham

As the right hon. Gentleman will know, I am concentrating on Chesham and Amersham. Fortunately, our petitioning process is at its initial phase. The Committee will hear about the tunnelling options worked up by my community and local authorities, and it will then hear from some 800 petitioners. As far as my constituency is concerned, I hope the best is yet to come, but the right hon. Gentleman’s comments reflect some anxiety that HS2 Ltd and the Department may not be listening entirely to what petitioners have to say. However, the Prime Minister assured me in a recent letter that the Department and HS2 are listening to petitioners, so once again I am optimistic and I hope my optimism will be rewarded.

The high-level changes that are indicated in the instruction lead me to question the way in which the explanatory information on the additional provisions has been presented. It is not clear who HS2 is responding to in instructing the Committee to examine a change in the plans. The instruction does not make clear whether it is petitioners or landowners, or whether it is a petitioner who is a landowner. It could be a new landowner—perhaps HS2 Ltd itself. We need further and better particulars on that in short order.

In my constituency, farmers will be affected by the taking of more land at Mantle’s wood, which is a piece of ancient woodland. Yesterday, a lot of farmers made the point that the land-take will have an impact on their business and will not leave it in a “strong and viable condition”. We need assurances that HS2 has considered that before instructions are given to the Committee that it should examine the parcels of land in question. One complaint from farmers yesterday around Great Missenden, Little Missenden and the Lee was that in some cases, their land will be taken for compulsory replanting of trees that are not suitable. I would have liked some more information from the Minister about that. As I said, the consultation period that has been announced is terribly short, and I urge him to look again at that.

Photo of Nick Hurd Nick Hurd Conservative, Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner

I share my right hon. Friend’s concern about the scope and ambition of the additional provisions, which bear no relation at all to the concerns that my constituents are currently expressing to the Committee. There is a complete disconnect there. I also share her concerns about process. Will she join me in pressing the Minister at least to give us some reassurance at the end of the debate that the process will be improved, not least the timing of the provision of information to colleagues?

Photo of Dame Cheryl Gillan Dame Cheryl Gillan Conservative, Chesham and Amersham

My hon. Friend joins me and others in saying that we do not feel well done by by HS2 Ltd and the Department. It gives me great sadness to say that, but I would have thought that after this much time—after all, it is six years since the project was announced—the communications process could have been improved. I am afraid that, as the way in which the instruction was introduced shows, the process is still lacking greatly. If we are not informed, how can we inform our constituents and represent them properly?

I have taken up enough time, because I would like to leave time for others who are more severely affected by the additional provisions. I opened the papers this morning to see that HS2 Birmingham to London passengers want onboard GPs, shops and gyms. I repeat to d the Minister that I hope we get a fully bored tunnel in the Chilterns area of outstanding natural beauty, because I do not want our precious landscape to be sacrificed for the novel experience of high-speed shopping and muscle toning.

Photo of Drew Hendry Drew Hendry Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Transport) 4:23 pm, 23rd June 2015

As we have heard from the Minister, high-speed rail will have a great economic impact along the route between London and the west midlands. An infrastructure project of such a size and scale will also have the knock-on effect of changing communities. There are many people and many views on route choices to consider, and we have heard today about some of the impacts.

Changes will also happen through the creation of jobs both during and after construction, leaving a long-lasting legacy for future years and for the generations to follow. Indeed, as the Minister said, they will transform the economy. If it is true that the Secretary of State’s report on additional provisions has taken people’s views on board, we shall be able to see where the views of the public and petitioners have been considered and where amendments have been made. I feel sure that hon. Members have also made their views clear on behalf of their constituents, and I have heard some of them this afternoon. We have heard praise for the Minister for putting constituents at ease.

Views on the alignment of the route have been taken on board in Chesham and Amersham, as they have in constituencies such as Birmingham, Ladywood. The changes to the routing of HS2 appear to have been made to accommodate the local voices of the public and those who represent them. Taking into account the view of the public, and their representations, is always to be commended, particularly when there is likely to be a positive economic impact that creates and supports employment, speeds journey times and increases connectivity to those who need it on the periphery and to those who have suffered a paucity of investment over the decades.

Photo of Neil Gray Neil Gray Scottish National Party, Airdrie and Shotts

My hon. Friend rightly mentions the economic benefits in terms of jobs and communities. Does he agree that on the route there could be benefits in terms of greater opportunities for business growth of all types, including expanded tourism and faster links with partners in Europe? That being the case, should Scotland not also benefit from a guaranteed connection with HS2 and be formally included in the forthcoming development of the route?

Photo of Lindsay Hoyle Lindsay Hoyle Chair, Panel of Chairs, Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Ways and Means, Chair, Panel of Chairs, Chairman of Ways and Means

Order. You do not need to answer that, because unfortunately we are having a very tight debate. As important as it may be to your constituents, the fact is that we are discussing the constituents affected by the route that is being talked about today. Unfortunately, I cannot allow the debate to wander further than where we are at the moment.

Photo of Drew Hendry Drew Hendry Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Transport)

Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. Notwithstanding that, I think there are points—especially in local and national economies—that have to be developed through participation. We heard earlier that projects that have been designed can be improved, and the Minister said we need to avoid minor errors; he covered that earlier in terms of the report. We also need to avoid major errors, so I ask him to put more constituents at ease, to go a little further with additional provisions and to listen to the demands of the people of Scotland. He should ensure there is another alignment much further north of the west midlands and make sure that Scotland is connected.

Photo of Lindsay Hoyle Lindsay Hoyle Chair, Panel of Chairs, Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Ways and Means, Chair, Panel of Chairs, Chairman of Ways and Means

Order. I am trying to be helpful. Quite rightly, you are the SNP spokesperson, but even the spokesperson must stick to what we are discussing. It is not a free for all, unfortunately.

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman The Second Church Estates Commissioner 4:26 pm, 23rd June 2015

I know a lot of other Members want to get in, so I shall focus on some of the changes that the motion before us will facilitate.

My main concern is with the additional provisions as they affect the approach to Birmingham International railway station, the new interchange station. Hon. Members will appreciate that its location is very important in terms of the orientation of the route, and one proposed change, on page 108 of the report, would appear to change the road infrastructure on the approach to the station. The road in question is Diddington Lane, and the document refers to the changes that the “Landowner/Petitioner request”. But my difficulty, a common problem that all Members will have, is that there is more than one petitioner on some of these things. As I said in an earlier intervention, at that location there are differences of opinion. The lane has along its length an Island Project school for children with severe learning difficulties, for whom relocation remains unresolved.

I just cannot tell from the map, frankly, what the new route is, and that makes it very difficult for me to know how the change to the road network is going to affect various people in my constituency. At that point the line severs a number of landowners’ holdings, to the point where some farms might no longer be viable, so I impress upon the Minister how important it is that Members of Parliament have a better quality map than the one provided, because I cannot understand the one I am looking at.

There are some other provisions that affect my constituency. The Minister said that between pages 68 and 70 a correction is required to the map, but as far as I can tell from the original document, five existing landowners will be affected at that site. If he could let me have the corrected version as soon as possible, I would be very grateful.

At page 104, the additional provisions describing the additional land for the Kenilworth Greenway, in order to improve the HS2 design, have come at the request of the petitioners. A design change was sought, but at that very location there are considerable difficulties with the visual intrusion of High Speed 2 on a flyover, 40 feet in the air, through the village of Balsall Common. HS2’s own promotional literature describes properties in one lane in particular, Truggist Lane, as blighted, yet I have constituents on that lane who have so far been unable to secure compensation for those properties. I am anxious to know how the change on page 104 might affect residents close by.

Page 105 describes additional land required for road infrastructure at the Park Lane/A452 interchange affecting one existing landowner, but I have a constituent with an unsettled compensation claim and am anxious to know how the proposed change will affect that claim, as I cannot divine that from the document.

Although I am glad that there is a period of consultation for my constituents, as well as additional time for consultation and for petitioning the Select Committee, some of the additional proposals blight further properties, perhaps inevitably.

May I finish by recording my thanks to the Select Committee, whose members have done a Herculean job? They will certainly be familiar with all the locations to which I have referred, and the way in which they have been willing to serve across the old Parliament and into the new shows one of the best attributes that Parliament has to offer our constituents, who need people to stand up and represent them, listen to them and, where possible, to mitigate the impact of the line.

Photo of Louise Ellman Louise Ellman Chair, Transport Committee 4:31 pm, 23rd June 2015

I very much welcome today’s debate and the motion, which are about both process and detail: the process of ensuring as far as possible that the HS2 project, required in the national interest to improve national infrastructure, can be developed as part of the national network in a way that maximises employment; and the detail of taking properly into account the concerns of individual people and individual localities. I am very pleased to hear the praise that has been given by hon. Members to the work of the special Select Committee in considering this detail, although it is of some concern that a number of hon. Members say that they have not had sufficient information in time and, in some instances, that there is a lack of clarity about certain maps and charts that have been made available.

Whenever there is a scheme in the national interest such as HS2, it is inevitable that there will be local problems. It is vital that those issues are considered properly and objectively and that changes are made to the route where possible—today, we are considering the details for the part of the route that is under consideration —and where that cannot be done that adequate compensation is given. It is critical that those issues are considered properly, not just in the special Select Committee but elsewhere.

I welcome the debate. The work of the special Select Committee is essential in progressing a scheme of national importance in a way that considers proper and legitimate concerns.

Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant Conservative, Lichfield 4:33 pm, 23rd June 2015

When the debate began, a colleague whispered in my ear, “Oh, so you’ve been bought off then.” I can tell the House that I have not. I believe that the route is profoundly wrong for the reasons given in my amendment on Second Reading of the original Bill. For example, it does not even connect directly with the channel tunnel. However, I welcome the orders as the changes being made in this document mean that in Lichfield we will not have the blight or damage to the environment that we would otherwise have had. The original proposal was for a flyover, some 120 feet high, soaring over the plains of the Lichfield Trent Valley. It would have been visible from Lichfield Cathedral; it would probably have been visible from my house in the close of Lichfield Cathedral, although I am not declaring an interest. However, at last we have seen sense.

I have to give credit not only to the Committee, as I and others did earlier, but to Staffordshire County Council, Lichfield District Council and individuals who petitioned about this issue. I pay particular tribute to a local farmer whose son demonstrated to the Committee the height of the flyover by getting a drone with flags attached to it running to and fro. I was slightly worried that an Exocet missile or something would shoot it out of the sky, but it demonstrated clearly to the Committee and to some people working for HS2, who accompanied the Committee when it came to Lichfield, the damage that the high viaduct would have done.

There are further changes, too. Those who know me well know that I am a keen narrow boater, and we have some beautiful canals in the Lichfield area. Originally, the HS2 route would have crossed the canals at two particularly beautiful points. Changes have been made there, too. Although, as the Minister said, the cost has been reduced by the making of those changes, I will nevertheless say that he did it because he knew it was the right thing to do, and it means that these canals are now going to be protected.

In short, I welcome the motion and I welcome, for once, the Minister, who is a good friend of mine, presenting it to the House. If it comes to a vote, I, for one, will be voting for it.

Photo of Fiona Mactaggart Fiona Mactaggart Labour, Slough 4:36 pm, 23rd June 2015

Unlike Michael Fabricant, I do not welcome the order.

I have to say thank you to the Minister, who has been very courteous in informing me of what is coming up. That is in quite a degree of contrast to the HS2 project team, which has not kept Slough Borough Council fully aware of what is being proposed, and it has come to a bit of a shock to the council. As a place, Slough is very supportive of big transport infrastructure projects. Heathrow airport’s third runway will come into the borough of Slough, if it happens, yet we are backing it because we realise that these kinds of projects are essential to national economic growth. However, Slough has not been kept fully informed of what has happened, and therefore, I echo the concerns of Mrs Gillan about the consultation period on these areas happening in July and August. Although the Minister is right to say that not everybody goes on holiday in July and August, that is when most of my constituents with children do. Because Slough thought that HS2 was to do with other parts of the world and had nothing to do with Slough—none of the original proposals involved anything to do with Slough—it will not be geared up for petitioning, whereas communities on the route of HS2 were geared up by newspaper stories and so on. That is a real issue.

The other issue is that paragraph 1(b) of the proposal has nothing to do with HS2; it is about the Heathrow Express. It turns out that the Heathrow Express terminal is to be moved. I wonder why. I hate to speculate, but is it possibly because, owing to the land values at Old Oak Common, the land can be flogged off for expensive housing? Those land values are rather bigger than land values in Langley, where that will not be possible. It strikes me that a possible reason for our suddenly finding that we need to move the Heathrow Express terminal is that we can make more money out of what happens in Old Oak Common. I do not know that, and if the Minister would like to intervene and assure me that that is not true, that would be nice.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

I point out to the right hon. Lady that I talked about operational problems, and one of the problems with the North Pole East depot is that it would require train movements across the Great Western main line. Maintenance works on the Great Western towards Paddington would also mean that the Heathrow Express depot at North Pole East would not be able to operate.

Photo of Fiona Mactaggart Fiona Mactaggart Labour, Slough

That is what the Minister is told, but at least that depot is somewhere on the Heathrow Express route. The proposed depot is not on that route; it is actually to the west of the Heathrow Express route. I point out that the Heathrow Express franchise expires in 2023, so this is not necessarily a long-term need. I am deeply concerned about the western link into Heathrow, which is critical, and I am grateful to the Department for the way it has proceeded on that. It is obvious to me that at some point the western rail link into Heathrow and the Heathrow Express will become a merged franchise. There is land at Reading where the depot could be situated at that point.

I am worried that this is a short-term solution that has been invented because someone faced a problem with the Heathrow Express. In the motion, we are being asked to solve a short-term problem, which I accept exists, in a way that is not long-term and strategic. The Department could say, “This franchise expires in 2023 and, until then, Heathrow has a monopoly on it, but if Heathrow wants its third runway”—we do not know what the Davies commission will say—“perhaps there should be a price. Perhaps the price should be giving up the franchise and looking at how we can integrate it more intelligently into the rest of the rail network.” That would be a strategic way of dealing with this matter and it would help us to accelerate western rail access into Heathrow.

In the Minister’s courteous letters to me today, he wrote:

“The relocation of the Heathrow Express depot is both an opportunity for Slough and important part of the Phase One project”.

I do not think that it is an opportunity for Slough, because the jobs that come with it are just ones that are being moved down the line from Old Oak Common, where they are at the moment, to Langley. I tell him that that does not mean more jobs for my constituents; it means that people will commute from where they currently live to Langley.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Some of the land that is required for construction will be returned once the depot is complete, so that land will not be lost altogether in respect of job creation in the right hon. Lady’s area.

Photo of Fiona Mactaggart Fiona Mactaggart Labour, Slough

Actually, most of the land that the depot will be on is housing land. I represent the most overcrowded borough in the country, outside London, in terms of housing. In fact, it is more overcrowded than most London boroughs. There is a real need for housing in Slough. I am told by the council that this land has been identified as being able to provide 200 to 300 homes for local people. It will not be available for those homes when it has been used.

The construction of the depot will have an impact on air quality in an area that is already affected by a big incinerator, Heathrow and the biggest motorway junction in Europe, which will affect my constituents. As Mr Grieve pointed out, these plans will frustrate other issues, such as HGV links and western rail access to Heathrow.

I know that there will be petitions from Slough, but I also know that there will not be as many petitions from Slough as there have been from other communities on the route, because it came as a big surprise to the people of Slough about a week ago that this was happening to them. They can only intervene over the next few weeks—a very short space of time—when some of them will be dealing with their children’s end-of-term plays and planning to go on holiday. I predict that my constituents will be panicked about this and that, although they welcome major transport infrastructure projects because they know that we need them to create prosperity for Britain, they will think that they have been badly treated in this process. I have to say, I believe that they are right.

Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Conservative, Beaconsfield 4:44 pm, 23rd June 2015

I will make a brief contribution on the plans, so far as they concern Iver. Fiona Mactaggart raised the consequences of the new depot for Slough. As my hon. Friend the Minister will be aware, if one looks at the plans, they show that the land take extends beyond the boundary of Slough and as far as Iver station.

My constituents in Iver obviously live some distance from the main HS2 route and have not previously been concerned with it, except in so far as the Heathrow link plan affected them before it was withdrawn. The scheme raises two distinct problems. First, it is difficult to understand what effect it will have on the western rail link into Heathrow. I would be interested as soon as possible to hear from the Secretary of State and from my hon. Friend the Minister as to how that impact will work in practice.

Secondly, I have in the past written to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to point out to him that Iver is experiencing a catastrophic problem with heavy goods vehicle movements. The number of transport depots in the immediate vicinity of the village, many of which have grown up out of existing planning uses that predate the arrival of planning control, mean that the village is slowly being strangled by the HGV movements. If one stands in Iver village high street, one will see a heavy goods vehicle coming through every 58 seconds on average. It is a narrow village shopping street and the planning development has taken place in complete disregard of those facts.

There is a possibility of relieving that by the construction of a relief road running into the back of one of those sites, but the road has to cross the path and the line of the proposed new depot. My constituents’ anxiety is that that long-sought road project will be rendered even more difficult to achieve because it is not factored in to the construction of the depot. The construction of the depot might provide the ideal moment for the construction of road, but if that does not take place when the depot is constructed, it might be impossible thereafter for it to occur at all.

As I have said, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has been aware of my concerns for some time. I was aware that the scheme was around in the background, but there has been no prior notice to me of any kind that it would finally be brought to fruition. I am concerned that the Committee may not be in the best position to evaluate those issues when it comes to consider them under the petitioning process. I want to take the opportunity today to flag up my serious concerns about the knock-on consequences of the project. I can reassure my hon. Friend the Minister that, if we could use the process to provide reassurance that we will have such a back route into the Ridgeway trading estate, I am sure many of my constituents might even see some positives from the proposal, although I am mindful from what Fiona Mactaggart said about Slough’s housing requirements that there are serious knock-on consequences.

I hope my hon. Friend the Minister can take those concerns on board. I want to flag up at this stage and repeatedly that the proposal will be unacceptable if it leaves Iver even more isolated and prey to the HGV traffic it suffers from currently.

Photo of Liam Byrne Liam Byrne Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills) 4:47 pm, 23rd June 2015

I am grateful for the opportunity to speak briefly on the motion, and grateful to the Minister for setting out the process, but I am afraid the measure raises some serious questions about the integrity of the process. It raises the question of whether High Speed 2 is listening to the petitioners, to the Minister or to the Bill Select Committee, which has begun considering petitioners’ concerns with interest.

The integrity of the process is fundamental. As my hon. Friend Lilian Greenwood, the shadow Minister, said, we do not expect some kind of celestial design from High Speed 2. There are bound to be problems and they will need correcting. That is why the Bill Committee, to which I again pay tribute, is so important, and why hon. Members are so grateful that it is doing such a magnificent job.

The motion contains a couple of provisions for the Saltley business park that are intimately connected with the proposed rolling stock maintenance depot, which takes out a considerable chunk of the north of my constituency. I do not want to detain the House with the details of the proposal because I have mentioned it on the Floor of the House a number of times. Suffice to say that that area of land is the size of 100 football pitches. It represents one third of the available industrial land in the whole city of Birmingham, and it is located at the junction of two of the constituencies that are among the four most unemployed constituencies in the whole United Kingdom. If we develop the site in its entirety, we could generate 7,000 jobs, which is my estimate, or 3,000 to 3,500 jobs, which is the Minister’s estimate. That is still a very considerable number that could knock off something like a third of the unemployment in the city of Birmingham.

This is a site of such economic significance that the High Speed Rail Bill Committee has considered it in considerable detail. I was incredibly grateful that although the Committee did not side completely with my argument, it recognised that the issue of unemployment in and around the rolling stock maintenance depot had to be considered. The provisions set out today on the Saltley business park do nothing to address the Committee’s concerns; in fact, they take out even more industrial land in the city of Birmingham. It could be that the site is proposed today for the relocation of business, but we simply do not know.

The Committee said:

“We impress on HS2 the need to adjust the scheme” to reach agreement with the site owner, AXA, to maximise the number of jobs and to minimise the time for which land would be required. HS2 was directed by the Committee to work with the site owners to deliver that solution. That judgment was passed down in December. Although there have been detailed technical committee meetings and the site owners have now presented a detailed redesign of the site that would minimise land take, we have seen nothing of those discussions reflected in the provisions this afternoon.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

It is precisely on that point that I wish to intervene. As the Select Committee’s interim report recommended, we are working with the owners and Birmingham City Council on land take to see how far land can be returned for development as early as possible to secure that development that could result in jobs being created.

Photo of Liam Byrne Liam Byrne Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills)

I am very grateful for the Minister’s clarification, but I urge him to go further in his winding-up remarks. It is of course important to me that land is minimised and jobs are maximised, but it will be of interest to all right hon. and hon. Members of this House that HS2 not only responds to the petitioners and the Committee but is seen to do so. Frankly, we have scant evidence of that in the provisions we have seen this afternoon.

I hope the Minister will take the opportunity to endorse once again the Committee’s recommendations on the rolling stock maintenance yard. I hope he will urge HS2 to do the deal and come to an agreement with the site owner, AXA. I personally do not want to occupy the site in order to ensure that HS2 honours a recommendation from a Select Committee of this House. I hope the Minister will spare us all that spectacle and use his very good offices to ensure that HS2 will buckle down and listen to a Select Committee of this House and its recommendations.

Photo of Iain Stewart Iain Stewart Conservative, Milton Keynes South 4:53 pm, 23rd June 2015

I want to comment briefly on paragraph 1(c), which asks the Select Committee to consider providing Crossrail with sidings at Old Oak Common as a way of future-proofing a possible link between the Great Western main line and the west coast main line. Such a link would be a very important safeguarding measure for two principal reasons.

First, in the long term, when HS2 is constructed and capacity is freed on the west coast main line for classic services, I very much hope that we will explore the possibility of extending Crossrail up the west coast main line, even as far as Milton Keynes to serve my constituents. That would be a very good enhancement of commuter services in and out of London.

Secondly, and perhaps even more significantly, having the option of Crossrail going up the west coast main line during the HS2 construction phase, in particular while construction takes place at Euston when there will inevitably be some disruption to both inter-city and commuter services, could see the transfer of some commuter services from the west coast main line into London via the Great Western main line. That could provide relief during the construction phase and minimise disruption to my constituents and many others along the line. It is for that reason that I commend the motion, in particular paragraph 1(c). I hope the Select Committee will consider it in due course.

Photo of Andrew Slaughter Andrew Slaughter Shadow Minister (Justice) 4:55 pm, 23rd June 2015

I support HS2 and the potential for jobs, homes and regeneration in the Old Oak Common area in my constituency. I even appreciate some of the difficulties that everyone, from the Minister down, has with this scheme—not least because Old Oak itself must be one of the most complex as well as the largest development sites in London, and possibly in the country. It involves not only HS2, but Crossrail, Overground, the Great Western main line and, of course, the commercial and residential developments. The Minister will anticipate a “but” coming here.

The first I knew of some of these proposals was when I picked up the additional provision document yesterday, certainly in respect of the relocation of the Heathrow Express depot to Langley. That does not feature. Perhaps it is thought that it is more significant for my right hon. Friend Fiona Mactaggart, where it is going, rather than for me, from where it is being removed. Nevertheless, these are—as acknowledged by HS2 itself—significant changes. Indeed, I received an e-mail today from HS2, saying:

“I understand there is a motion tabled for debate tomorrow on changes along the proposed HS2 route, including some substantial changes to the Old Oak Common area.”

It went on to mention

“three turnback sidings for the Crossrail service and passive provision for a West Coast Main Line Crossrail link”, which I shall return to in a moment. It referred to the need to acquire additional land

“for the diversion of a sewer…for the construction of a temporary logistics tunnel…for…a construction compound…for…a conveyer route”, and, as an afterthought, to the relocation of the depot. There is a public meeting on Saturday, which I cannot attend, advertised to my constituents, but no mention is made of some of these changes taking place.

It is right to say that some prior notice of the west coast main line-Crossrail link was given. HS2 was very clear to me that this was not an HS2 project, but a Crossrail project. Crossrail was very clear to me that it was not really part of the Crossrail scheme either. As Iain Stewart said, it is a temporary measure to deal with the construction phase. It must be the most expensive “diversion” ever in the history of the country. I am not quite sure exactly how many millions of pounds it is costing. It may be a nice adornment to the railway network, but nothing more than that. During the construction and when it is built, it is certainly going to cause very severe disruption.

As I say, I do not object to the proposals, and I am sympathetic to the difficulties of the logistics of the task, but I do find that HS2 acts in a vacuum and often in a way that does not appear to take account of anything else going on around it—and that includes other railways. I am pleased to have one of the country’s major interchanges in my constituency, but the way things are going at the moment, it is going to be a dog’s breakfast of an interchange. I missed the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Slough, but I suspect she asked why she was getting the depot rather than it being in Shepherd’s Bush. I suspect that the real answer—the Minister cites purely logistical reasons—is that it is better to put it somewhere where prices are probably a little cheaper than in Shepherd’s Bush.

Photo of Andrew Slaughter Andrew Slaughter Shadow Minister (Justice)

I will give way to the Minister in a moment. There will be room for more of “Boris’s mini-Manhattans”, which is what we will be graced with: these sky-high blocks of flats—all of which are empty, all of which are sold overseas and all of which are safe deposit boxes for dirty money from abroad—that will loom over Wormwood Scrubs for the foreseeable future.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

I wish that that were the cheapest option. We considered a number of options including North Pole East, the Crossrail depot, Reading, Southall, Ealing and Langley. Langley was the best option, as all the others involved operational issues, but it was certainly not the cheapest .

Photo of Andrew Slaughter Andrew Slaughter Shadow Minister (Justice)

I realise that the Minister is reading from his brief, and that he cannot be expected to know every single detail of all the immaculate plans that are in the document. However, those who are in the middle of this—and a very large part of my constituency is being developed: it is the largest development site in London—are genuinely worried. I plead with the Minister to talk to his colleagues in the Government, and to appoint a tsar, a sultan or whatever the title of such a person might be, to oversee what is happening at Old Oak Common, because otherwise we shall end up with a terrible, terrible mess.

Photo of Dame Cheryl Gillan Dame Cheryl Gillan Conservative, Chesham and Amersham

Obviously the hon. Gentleman and I do not see entirely eye to eye on this project. However, he may agree with me that it is time for the Department for Transport to sit down, have a look at the administration of HS2 Ltd, and come up with a proper communication strategy that keeps all of us informed, whether we are pro or anti. We need accurate and detailed information to be provided on a timely basis.

Photo of Andrew Slaughter Andrew Slaughter Shadow Minister (Justice)

I agree with the right hon. Lady, who is assiduous in her pursuit of this issue. I think that, in time, HS2 Ltd may even thank her for that. There is nothing better than a well-informed critic to keep people on their toes. I am even sympathetic towards HS2 Ltd. I know that the Government are saying, “Make sure that you keep within budget and keep to time, because any further increase in the costs will not be sustainable.” However, HS2 must be clear about the fact that it is not just building a 21st-century railway, but engaging some of the major regeneration projects in the country. It needs to think about the potential for collateral damage, and I am not referring just to the obvious problems.

Members have rightly objected, on behalf of their constituents, to the fact that the development is despoiling countryside, or causing noise or other pollution. My hon. Friend Dr Huq intervened on behalf of her constituents in Wells House Road and Midland Terrace, who are right up against it. I visited the area, which is in my old constituency, with other members of the Select Committee. My hon. Friend’s constituents will be surrounded on three sides by the development for 15 to 20 years, which is horrific, while on the fourth side the main road, Old Oak Common Lane, will be closed for a year or two. That does not bear thinking about, and I am afraid that it either has not been thought about, or has been thought about and then dismissed and put in the “too difficult” box.

The issue that I raised in a short 80-minute speech in Westminster Hall at the end of last year, when I spoke about the effect on my constituency—particularly the environmental effect, and notably the effect on Wormwood Scrubs, a unique and very large piece of open land—has still not been addressed. I do not believe that the meetings that we were told would take place with amenity groups, environmental groups, residents’ groups and, indeed, transport groups have indeed taken place. I do not believe that the voice of local residents is being listened to. Those residents may be speaking in an entirely parochial way—quite properly—about their property or land and their need for adequate compensation, which we in the urban areas are certainly not receiving. They may be speaking for the wider public good and the environment, or coming up with innovative and better transport schemes. In any event, I plead with the Minister to go back to HS2 and say that it must take a more responsible attitude. It must balance its duty to build the railway, which I support, with its duty to the constituencies through which is passes.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) 5:03 pm, 23rd June 2015

With the leave of the House, Mr Deputy Speaker.

The first point that I should make is that the motion is about the process. It is about kicking the ball into play, and it is for those who are directly affected, and the Select Committee, to carry out the game. Having said that, I should add that many Members on both sides of the House have made very effective points on behalf of their constituents and the interests of their particular areas.

I want to make it clear that I will always be pleased to engage with colleagues around the House on these and future additional provisions. We are expecting to bring forward AP3, which will relate to Euston, before the end of the year. If Opposition Members have concerns, it might be easier to arrange visits to their constituencies through the pairing Whip, and I would be happy to do that if it is at all possible.

The consultation period was mentioned. A period of 42 days is set out in Standing Orders, and I believe that that is appropriate. Looking back over the whole scheme, we have had about two years’ worth of consultations on one aspect of HS2 or another, so it would be hard to say that we have consulted too little. My right hon. Friend Mrs Gillan raised some important points. I should point out that, of the 20.8 kilometres in her constituency in the Chilterns, only 3.3 kilometres will not be in a tunnel. I am sure that is largely due to her doughty campaigning.

Photo of Dame Cheryl Gillan Dame Cheryl Gillan Conservative, Chesham and Amersham

The Minister knows that it is impossible to over-flatter a fellow politician. Let me make it clear, however, that 45% of this railway will be in a fully bored tunnel in my constituency, and that 55% will be in a green tunnel or in cuttings, which will be a scar on the landscape and will damage the area of outstanding natural beauty. This is a PR exercise too far. We want a whole tunnel.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

My right hon. Friend raises a point that I am well used to hearing, and I know that the Select Committee is in no doubt about the strength of her feelings and those of her constituents on this matter. I would remind her that one of the major political parties stood in the election on a Stop HS2 platform and that, despite that, her majority was increased. I am sure she would argue that that was due to the strength of her campaigning, rather than to the scheme itself. Two of the four changes in the additional provision that relate to her constituency have been made at the request of landowners. That shows that we are reacting to people’s very real concerns.

My right hon. Friend Mrs Spelman asked about certain concerns in her constituency, and I will certainly write to her with full details, but many of them will be in the environmental statement. For example, the Berkswell greenway change extends the greenway to Berkswell station, which will benefit existing users.

Lilian Greenwood asked why information on the petitioning period was not included in the press notice. The petitioning process depends on the motion being passed today, and we would therefore have pre-empted the will of the House if we had announced that information in a press notice. She also mentioned the maps and the information on land take. That information will all be provided in the environmental statement that will accommodate the deposit if the motion passes.

My right hon. and learned Friend Mr Grieve mentioned western rail access, which is important to the future connectivity of our country. I can reassure him that the depot at Langley is compatible with the western rail access to the Heathrow scheme.

Dr Huq raised the very real concerns of her constituents about the compensation arrangements. I should like to point out to her that the residents of Wells House Road are eligible for the need-to-sell scheme. Indeed, properties in that road that are in safeguarding can issue blight notices to have their properties purchased.

As I have said, many of the points raised in the debate should be raised in petitions and through the process that is commencing today. I congratulate the Chairman of the Select Committee on Transport, Mrs Ellman, on retaining that position unopposed. She and Liam Byrne talked about the quality of the process. The process is about the people involved in it, and that means not only the members of the Select Committee that is considering the Bill but those involved with HS2—I know that they have had a bit of stick today, but by and large they are doing their best to address these problems—and the many people up and down the line of route who are being affected and who have engaged with the process in such a commendable way.

Photo of Liam Byrne Liam Byrne Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills)

Do I take it, therefore, that the Minister will use his good offices to ensure that HS2 will indeed honour the recommendations that the Committee hands down to it? If those commitments are not honoured, the integrity of the process will be called into serious question.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Absolutely, and I think I have already given that assurance about land being released as soon as possible. If necessary, I will have a meeting with the right hon. Gentleman, with officials, so that we can get some assurances that, I hope, will satisfy him.

I commend the motion to the House. The hybrid Bill process is working for people.

Photo of Fiona Mactaggart Fiona Mactaggart Labour, Slough

In response to Mr Grieve, the Minister said that this scheme is fitting in with western rail access. As I understand it, however, the Hollow Hill Lane bridge was to have been raised in order to improve the problems with HGVs, which the right hon. and learned Gentleman discussed. As an alternative is being proposed, those issues will not be dealt with by this scheme unless it is changed. Can the Minister answer on that point?

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

I would certainly be happy to meet those concerned to get my head around precisely how we could improve the scheme to address those concerns. It is not an issue I am absolutely on top of, and I apologise for that—

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

But I am going to be put right by my right hon. and learned Friend.

Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Conservative, Beaconsfield

I assure the Minister that if he has a discussion with his officials, he will see that I have had correspondence with them about this issue. It does provide a real opportunity but, as I have suggested on previous occasions, it is going to need a bit of a push from his Department if it is going to be brought to fruition. What I certainly cannot accept is that this scheme goes ahead and leads to it becoming impossible to implement a relief road, as that would be a catastrophic state of affairs for my constituents.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

I absolutely understand that this scheme should neither confound some of our other rail plans on western access, nor confound plans for highways improvement. I am therefore more than happy to meet my right hon. and learned Friend to get my head around these issues in particular.

The motion introduces changes to address issues that have been raised. It will put these proposals under the scrutiny of the Committee, and I am sure the House will be delighted to approve it.

Photo of Lilian Greenwood Lilian Greenwood Shadow Minister (Transport)

Before the Minister finishes, will he clarify when he expects to introduce the additional provisions relating to Euston and when the Government expect to confirm the line of route for phase 2?

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

We expect to bring forward provisions for Euston later this year. I am working actively with officials from HS2 to ensure that we are in a position to introduce a proposal that will address some of the problems, particularly the issues about continuing to use that station for the west coast main line at the same time as construction is taking place. I will certainly give the hon. Lady some more information on the other point she raises when appropriate.

I commend the motion to the House and I hope the House will approve it.

Question put and agreed to.

Ordered,

That it be a further Instruction to the Select Committee to which the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill is committed–

(1) that the Select Committee have power to consider–

(a) amendments relating to the vertical and horizontal alignment of the proposed railway in the vicinity of the A38 and Trent and Mersey Canal in the parishes of Fradley and Streethay, King’s Bromley and Whittington in the County of Staffordshire;

(b) amendments conferring additional power to carry out works in the Borough of Slough and in the parish of Iver in the County of Buckinghamshire for the purpose of providing a new Heathrow Express depot in the Borough of Slough (to the north east of Langley railway station), in consequence of the displacement of the existing depot because of the exercise of powers conferred by the Bill;

(c) amendments conferring additional power to provide sidings for Crossrail services at Old Oak Common in the London Boroughs of Ealing and Hammersmith and Fulham that could be extended in the future to create a connection between the West Coast Main Line Railway and the Great Western Main Line;

(d) amendments to accommodate the requirements of landowners and occupiers in

i. the London Boroughs of Brent and Ealing;

ii. the parishes of Barton Hartshorn, Calvert Green, Chetwode, Great Missenden, Grendon Underwood, Little Missenden, Preston Bissett, The Lee and Twyford in the County of Buckinghamshire;

iii. the parishes of Godington and Mixbury in the County of Oxfordshire;

iv. the parishes of Aston-le-Walls, Boddington, Chipping Warden and Edgcote, Greatworth, Radstone, Thorpe Mandeville and Whitfield in the County of Northamptonshire;

v. the parishes of Burton Green, Coleshill, Curdworth, Kenilworth, Ladbroke, Lea Marston, Middleton, Offchurch, Southam, Stoneleigh, Stoneton, Wishaw and Moxhull and Wormleighton in the County of Warwickshire;

vi. the parishes of Armitage with Handsacre, Drayton Bassett, Hints with Canwell, King’s Bromley, Swinfen and Packington and Whittington in the County of Staffordshire;

vii. the parishes of Balsall, Berkswell, Chelmsley Wood and Hampton-in Arden in the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull; and

viii. the City of Birmingham;

(e) amendments to accommodate changes to the design of the works authorised by the Bill in:

i. the London Boroughs of Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham and Hillingdon and the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea;

ii. the District of Three Rivers in the County of Hertfordshire;

iii. the parishes of Chetwode, Denham, Ellesborough, Great Missenden, Grendon Underwood, Little Missenden, Preston Bissett, Quainton, Steeple Claydon, Stoke Mandeville, Turweston, Twyford and Wendover in the County of Buckinghamshire;

iv. the parishes of Godington and Mixbury in the County of Oxfordshire;

v. the parishes of Aston-le-Walls, Boddington, Greatworth, Marston St Lawrence, Radstone and Thorpe Mandeville in the County of Northamptonshire;

vi. the parishes of Coleshill, Curdworth, Kingsbury, Lea Marston, Middleton, Offchurch, Radbourne and Stoneleigh in the County of Warwickshire;

vii. the parishes of Colwich, Drayton Bassett, Fradley and Streethay, Hints with Canwell, King’s Bromley, Swinfen and Packington and Weeford in the County of Staffordshire;

viii. the parishes of Berkswell and Bickenhill in the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull;

ix. the City of Birmingham;

(f) amendments to the definition of “deposited statement” in clause 63(1) of the Bill to refer to supplementary environmental information provided in relation to matters which do not require an extension of the powers of the Bill to construct works or acquire land;

(g) amendments for purposes connected with any of the matters mentioned in subparagraphs (a) to (f);

(2) that any petition against amendments to the Bill which the Select Committee is empowered to make shall be referred to the Select Committee if–

(a) the petition is presented by being deposited in the Private Bill Office not later than the end of the period of four weeks beginning with the day on which the first newspaper notice of the amendments was published, and

(b) the petition is one in which the petitioners pray to be heard by themselves or through counsel or agents.

That these Orders be Standing Orders of the House.