Clause 35 - Noise

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

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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.