Power to construct and maintain works for Phase 2a of High Speed 2

High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:27 am on 25th June 2019.

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

Photo of Karen Buck Karen Buck Labour, Westminster North

With this it will be convenient to discuss that schedule 1 be the First schedule to the Bill.

Photo of Nusrat Ghani Nusrat Ghani Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport), Assistant Whip (HM Treasury)

The clause authorises the nominated undertaker to construct and maintain the works specified in schedule 1 for the construction of phase 2a of High Speed 2 and other incidental works. It is a standard clause found in all works Bills. Phase 2a sits between two larger phases of the HS2 project, so the clause makes provision to accommodate emerging design works for phase 1 at Handsacre junction and phase 2b at Crewe.

Schedule 1 sets out the construction requirements for the scheduled works and provides permitted limits of deviation from the siting of works as shown on the relevant plans. It also provides a description of the scheduled works. The permitted deviation limits have precedence in other railway Acts, most recently the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Act 2017. The limits of the deviation reflect the fact that the design of phase 2a is, by necessity, at an outline stage—detailed design will come later—so some flexibility is essential. Any variation within the limits of deviation is controlled by the environmental minimum requirements.

Photo of Matt Rodda Matt Rodda Shadow Minister (Transport) (Buses)

Labour supports High Speed 2, as it will address the severe capacity constraints on our rail network and improve connections between cities in the midlands and the north. Any responsible Government must contend with the fact that commuter and freight services are being squeezed off the network due to lack of capacity. HS2 is vital for unblocking the railway and creating additional capacity.

The UK is off track to meet its emission reduction targets under the Climate Change Act 2008. Transport is the most emitting sector of the economy and the worst performing sector with regard to emissions—indeed, emissions have risen since 2010. HS2 will provide an alternative to domestic flying and will tackle that important issue. It will also allow for more reliable rail services.

It is vital that we get HS2 right. It is a tremendous opportunity to improve connectivity and we support it as part of a package of delivering transformative investment in our rail system.

Photo of Nusrat Ghani Nusrat Ghani Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport), Assistant Whip (HM Treasury)

I welcome the hon. Gentleman’s comments. We are debating a particular section of the line, and I welcome his support.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 1 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 1 agreed to.