Clause 35 - Noise

High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 1 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) 3:30, 1 March 2016

This follows on neatly from our previous discussion about street works and relates specifically to lorries. Clause 35 introduces schedule 25, which contains provisions relating to the granting of permits for the use of heavy commercial vehicles on roads where there are heavy-lorry restrictions. Similar provisions were included in the Crossrail Act 2008. Local authorities have the power to make orders prohibiting and restricting the use of heavy goods vehicles on specified roads. Such an order is enforced in Greater London. Schedule 25 streamlines the process for the use of permits authorising lorries to use restricted roads for the purposes of the construction of phase 1 of HS2.

I can reassure the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, before he jumps up, that the measure will not completely remove the powers of local authorities in that regard. Permits will still be issued by the local authority. Schedule 25 will streamline the process for the issue of permits and includes an appeal procedure to the Secretary of State and an expedited process for the issue of emergency permits.

Part 1 of schedule 31 requires a nominated undertaker to

“have regard to the potential disruption of traffic which may be caused” and to

“seek to minimise such disruption so far as is reasonably practicable.”

In addition, those matters are covered in the environmental minimum requirements and the highways sub-forum, a group of the relevant local highway authorities chaired by HS2 Ltd.

Incidentally, this morning we discussed the availability of the scope and methodology report, which the hon. Gentleman said he would like to see. I have brought him a copy of that weighty tome, which I hope will be his bedtime reading this evening. The report contains a number of the reassurances he sought. In terms of environmental mitigation, we are on top of everything and are ensuring that we recognise the impact this project will have on people. Where things can be done to limit that impact, they will be done.

Photo of Andy McDonald Andy McDonald Shadow Minister (Transport)

Briefly, I want to return to the issue of the transporting of goods by lorries. The Minister will be aware that one of the most significant concerns of the people of Camden is the extra loading that will fall on to the roads around Euston station during construction. Can he give further detail about the commitment being made to transport and transfer out of the construction site as much of the goods and the spoil as possible by rail, as opposed to road? That, in itself, will be one of the most significant ways to mitigate the impact on the residents of Camden. If he will say something about that, I shall be extremely grateful.

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

The hon. Gentleman talks about excavated material. Material from the tunnelling process—the majority of the line from Euston to Old Oak Common is a tunnel—will be transported out to the end of the tunnel; it will not be put on lorries at Euston and transported around there. We have a lot of experience of that in this country. We have, for example, the Queen Elizabeth line. We have a number of major projects being delivered from a transport infrastructure and housing and office point of view in London, so we have some experience of how to limit and mitigate the impacts of traffic.

As the Minister responsible for cycling, I am also aware of the risks caused to pedestrians and cyclists by tipper trucks. A number of accidents have happened where vehicles are turning left and cyclists have found themselves on the inside. The codes of practice that we have previously used will, I am sure, be used by the construction industry as it delivers the project, to ensure that we minimise that risk.

I understand that the hon. Gentleman proposes a new clause later in the Bill with regard to transporting material by rail. We can discuss that subject in more detail when we debate that new clause. I understand his concern to limit, where possible, the amount of material transported by road. When we have to transport goods and material by road, we must ensure that we do so in the way that is most sympathetic to the community, working with the local authority and, as we saw last week in Camden, having a location where people can go to get information about the sequencing of work.  They will then know which roads might be closed or particularly used for trucks, so that they can plan their lives around that.

We are very conscious of the impact that this project will have during construction, but we are also very conscious of the long-term benefits for the Camden area in general and Euston in particular of the delivery of this transformational project, which will make Euston every bit as much a totemic station as King’s Cross and others around the country.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 35 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill .

Schedule 25 agreed to.