Exercise rights of entry

Part of High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 3 March 2016.

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Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) 2:30, 3 March 2016

May I explain why we have to do this? While we were developing route options for the stage that is under consideration at the moment, a number of landowners did not allow access to land. That gave us some very real problems, particularly in the way that we surveyed some of the ancient woodland and environmental features. It was only when we subsequently could survey the land that we understood the problems in more detail. The proposal would also apply to some of the noise modelling that we need to do, because it is often important to be able to do that work.

We also have a particularly intractable problem in the London borough of Hillingdon. In the Hillingdon outdoor activities centre, we want to go into the lake to carry out some boring to see how a viaduct that we wish to construct in the lake can be done, and the London borough has prevented us from going on to that land. That is very disappointing indeed, because the organisation concerned—the charity that runs this fantastic activities centre—will lose the money that we were going to give them for the disruption that the work would cause, which is between £20,000 and £40,000. It will also mean that we cannot get access to that land until the Bill gets Royal Assent, so we will not be able to draw up as detailed a viaduct design as we would like. We want these viaducts to be designed in an exciting way, so it is disappointing that this has happened. With these powers, it will be possible in future cases to get on to the land to carry out the surveys, whether for engineering, construction or environmental reasons.

The short answer to the hon. Gentleman’s other question is yes: another warrant can be applied for, but an explanation for why the initial warrant was not exercised would need to be given.