Clause 56

Crossrail Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:30 pm on 27 November 2007.

Alert me about debates like this

Application of Act to extensions

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport)

In the same spirit as my comments on clause 54, I want to clarify some points with the Minister. Clause 56 effectively allows most of the provisions in the Bill to apply to any proposed extension of the Crossrail network. Does that mean any extension that is carried out under an order under the Transport and Works Act 1992? I can see that if the network is expanded, it should receive the same statutory support as planned under the network. However, unless I have read the clause completely wrongly, would not an extension to the Crossrail network that occurred or was proposed in the construction period re-hybridise the Bill? The extension would then be subject to the same scrutiny that the hon. Member for Leicester, South has indicated he experienced and enjoyed.

Photo of Tom Harris Tom Harris Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

I strongly suspect that the hon. Gentleman has read the clause completely wrongly, but I shall try to explain. Clause 56 allows any TWA order that relates to a proposed extension of Crossrail or to provision of a facility connected with Crossrail to apply to any provision of the Bill, with any modifications necessary to the order, or to provide that any provision of the Bill should have effect as if the extension were part of Crossrail.

Let me explain the purpose of Clause 56. As the hon. Gentleman knows from earlier debates, the Bill establishes a bespoke regime for Crossrail. It modifies and disapplies various pieces of legislation, and replaces them with a tailor-made regime that is based heavily on that created by the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Act 1996.  Indeed, he will recall from our debate last week that the Bill creates a bespoke planning and railway regulatory regime for Crossrail.

If a TWA order is subsequently sought for an extension to Crossrail—for example, to Reading or Ebbsfleet—or for a new Crossrail facility such as a new station, the TWA order cannot necessarily apply the same regime to the works as is established by the Bill. The reason is that, as a form of delegated legislation, TWA orders are limited in their ability to modify the application of legislation.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport)

For the purposes of clarity, is the Minister saying that a TWA order cannot extend Crossrail?

Photo of Tom Harris Tom Harris Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

TWA orders have their own scrutiny mechanism, which would apply to any future extension. Any future extension would have to be considered separately, although not as part of a hybrid Bill.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport)

I am following the Minister’s logic, but I think that, in fact, I read the clause correctly, and I still have not had the answer to my question. The question was whether any route extension to Crossrail can be made without it being subject to hybrid Bill provisions, such that it does not require the same scrutiny—nor present the same possibility of petitioning—as was the case for the original route. If that is the correct position, it is a curious one.

Photo of Tom Harris Tom Harris Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

It is my exact understanding that any future proposal to extend Crossrail—albeit there is no such proposal at present—could be achieved through a TWA order rather than through the hybrid Bill process. Perhaps I could continue to the end of my remarks, and if the hon. Gentleman then has further questions I shall be happy to answer them.

The clause would allow any TWA order to make the necessary provision to ensure that any extension or new facility was subject to the same regime as the Crossrail scheme covered by the Bill. The Government believe that that makes perfect sense. It would be confusing and unhelpful if one regime applied to parts of Crossrail and another applied to others. Having said that, there are safeguards. Certain provisions of the Bill that deal with extension of compulsory purchase powers, listed buildings, buildings in conservation areas and ancient monuments are excluded from such application. Any TWA order that sought to apply the Crossrail Bill regime would of course follow the normal procedures for such orders. Those affected would have the opportunity to object to any aspects of the Bill regime that the order proposed should apply, and have their concerns heard by an independent inspector as part of the TWA order process.

I had intended to conclude my remarks on the amendment at that point, by if the hon. Gentleman has questions, I shall try my best to answer them.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport)

I do no think that I have any further supplementary questions, but the Minister has made some very interesting observations that have expanded on the information contained in the explanatory notes. Given that, and given my understanding of the way in which his remarks tie up with the explanatory notes, we shall certainly wish to the clause revisit on report.

Photo of Tom Harris Tom Harris Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

For clarification, a TWA order can extend Crossrail. However, without the provisions in this clause, the same statutory regime cannot apply. That is why we need the clause.

Photo of Susan Kramer Susan Kramer Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Transport, Shadow Secretary of State, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Transport)

I thank the Minister for that response, but we are beginning to descend into complete confusion. Is what he is describing a sort of TWA-plus, so that it essentially builds up to the level of protection of the hybrid Bill for the extension, or is he saying that this will be a classic TWA with no more protection than any other project?

Photo of Tom Harris Tom Harris Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) 4:45, 27 November 2007

I am not sure whether I can add to the comments that I have already made. The situation remains that a TWA order can extend Crossrail. The hon. Lady mentioned safeguarding. The decision to safeguard, for example, the route to Reading is on my desk, and I will be considering that in the very near future. That would simply keep options open, so that in the future the Government could choose, through a TWA order, to extend Crossrail to Reading. Once again, I must emphasise that that is not what the Government propose at the moment. I talked merely about safeguarding. However, that is the process that would have to be gone through if Crossrail were to be extended either westwards to Reading or south to Ebbsfleet.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 56 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 57 ordered to stand part of the Bill.