“Phase One purposes”

High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 pm on 3rd March 2016.

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

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

The clause defines “Phase One purposes” as used in the Bill. The hon. Member for Middlesbrough asked earlier why the definition had been drafted to include references to further stages of the HS2 project and expressed concerns that the power to acquire land for phase 1 purposes under clause 4(1) might be extended to lands and plans that have not been specified at this stage.

Paragraphs (b) and (c) of the definition have been included to refer to things that need to be done as an integral part of phase 1, to enable HS2 trains to use the HS2 route as a whole or to continue on to the existing rail network, such as the provision of sidings in Manchester; or to ensure that ancillary works provided for phase 1, such as signalling and electrification works, have sufficient capacity to cater for the wider route. The purposes under clause 4(2) for which land acquired may be used therefore include the construction of ancillary works that are designed to cater for both phase 1 and further phases of the HS2 route.

I can reassure the hon. Gentleman, however, that the power to acquire land is tightly constrained, because the power under clause 4(1) applies only to land within the Bill limits—that is, land within the boundaries shown on the plans deposited with the Bill. Most of the land within the limits are also within the limits of deviation from the works specifically described in schedule 1 to the Bill. Any additional land within the Bill limits required for ancillary works, accesses, construction sites and other ancillary purposes is identified in schedules 5, 7, 8, 11, 12 and 16, together with the purpose for which the land is required.

Photo of Andy McDonald Andy McDonald Shadow Minister (Transport)

I thank the Minister for that thorough and comprehensive explanation. The definition was a matter of concern, although it might have been my interpretation of the drafting. It struck me that “Phase One purposes” had an elasticity that we would not ordinarily expect to see, but I fully accept the explanation given by the Minister. It is entirely logical and sensible, and I support the clause.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 65 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 66