HS2 Update 11 Jul 2014

We have received the following update from the Buckinghamshire County Council HS2 team.

The start of July marked the beginning of the Select Committee proceedings and locus standi challenges are currently underway. This update will provide information on the Select Committee process, the community support we are currently providing and information on the compensation consultation that has now opened.
*We want to get the right information out to the correct people. If you know of local people who don’t get our HS2 information and would like it, please ask them to contact HS2Blueprint@buckscc.gov.ukand we can add them to our list*.

Community support- local area meetings
Thank you to those who have attended our local area HS2 meetings this week [Note; this includes the Amersham meeting]. We hope you found this useful, and will ensure all feedback is considered. We hope to organise another round of local area meetings in September and will ensure detailed information is sent out as soon as possible.

Traffic and Transport petitioning points
A key concern raised at local meetings is the impact of HS2 on the highway network. We are continuing to work closely with our technical officers to assess the impacts, suggest alternative options, and produce evidence to support our requests. We appreciate that residents have local experience of the highway network, and we are grateful for all the feedback we received at the local area meetings. To ensure members of the community remain up to date with our progress, we will provide traffic and transport update in future newsletters.

Select Committee
The 1 July marked the start of the Select Committee proceedings and the full schedule for July can be found at https://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/hs2/HS2-Programming.pdf. Locus standi challenges have now begun, with both HS2AA and StopHS2 having the opportunity to present their case. The outcome of these challenges will be released on the 17 July.

All Select Committee proceedings can be watched live at http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Home.aspx, and a transcript will be uploaded on the website within 24 hours.

Attending The Select Committee
If you would like to attend any of the hearings these are open to the public, although large groups are advised to notify the Private Bill Office in advance due to space limitations. It is recommended that you arrive around an hour before the start of hearings to allow time for getting through security. For further information on attending the Select Committee please contact Neil Caulfield at prbrhoc@parliament.uk.

We do recommend attending at some point, as although this can be watched on the Parliamentary television, being in the room is likely to provide a more realistic experience. You will also be able to see the slides that are showed and the types of evidence that are being presented.

Thank you to Hilary Wharf who provided a useful update on presenting in front of the Select Committee. It was good to hear that the Select Committee do make an effort to make the process as unintimidating as possible for individuals, and you are encouraged to use slides, pictures and videos as you please. It is also advisable to keep your evidence concise and not laboured.

As we get a greater understanding of how the Select Committee process will run, we will provide further advice on appearing before the Select Committee.

Locus standi challenge letter
Some people who had their locus challenged received a copy of a letter in their information pack dated the 9 June between Winckworth Sherwood (HS2 Ltd’s Parliamentary Agent) and Neil Caulfield the Clerk to the Select Committee. This letter suggests that HS2 Ltd may challenge petitioner’s locus standi further down the line. It seems that in the majority of cases this will be when a petitioner’s concerns have already been covered by their local authority, or when issues affect the general public rather than the petitioner specifically. Furthermore, HS2 Ltd may challenge certain aspects of a petition, and therefore suggest that only certain points should be heard. It seems that HS2 Ltd will inform petitioners if their locus standi is to be challenged in their Petition Response Document (PRD).
We are aware that this has caused some concern, as the Select Committee stated that all locus standi challenges will be heard at the beginning of the process before any petitioners are heard. Our Parliamentary Agent is aware of this letter and we will ensure that we update you on the response we receive. It is worth bearing in mind that the Select Committee will not want to hear the same petitioning points twice, and therefore if points are covered by the local authority, groups and individuals may not be asked to appear on these points unless they have additional issues to raise. This emphasises the importance of the current local area meetings we are holding, to ensure we are accurately reflecting local concerns.

Evidence collection
We are finalising dates for evidence collection workshops focussing on specific topics. It would be inefficient to share information on an ad hoc basis and we are finalising with our parliamentary agent the best way to present evidence and make representation, so that we can then include others petitioning on the same issues. In the meantime a document produced by Parliament updated in January 2014 can be found at https://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/witnessguide.pdf.

Compensation consultation
A further property compensation consultation, including an alternative cash offer and a homeowner payment scheme is now open and closes on the 30 September 2014. Full details on the compensation proposal can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/hs2-property-consultation-2014, and responses to the consultation can be submitted to https://hs2propertyconsultation2014.dialoguebydesign.net/.

Information papers
We continue to stress the importance of keeping an eye on the information papers which HS2 Ltd is continually updating. These can be found at http://hs2.org.uk/news-resources/information-papers. It is likely that HS2 Ltd will refer to these in their Petitioner Response Documents (PRDs), and it is possible that they will use these to provide the information that was lacking in the original Environmental Statement. This approach was used in the case of Crossrail, and it seems that HS2 Ltd is also adopting this approach.

Again, our Parliamentary Agent is aware of this and we will provide further information in future updates regarding whether HS2 Ltd should be consulting on these papers and how we will ensure these are accurate.

HS2 Summit – date for you diary
Many of you will have attended previous summits we have held on various topics. We intend to hold another on the morning of the 8 October 2014. An invitation letter will be following soon.

Shirley Judges
Buckinghamshire County Council would like to take this opportunity to express our condolences to the family and friends of Shirley Judges, who sadly passed away this week. She was a prominent member of the community in Buckinghamshire, particularly in Great Missenden where she was a Parish Councillor and a representative on the Chilterns AONB Conservation Board. Shirley spent the last four and a half years campaigning against HS2 in defence of the Chilterns AONB.

Buckinghamshire County Council HS2 team:

Jackie Copcutt jcopcutt@buckscc.gov.ukTel: 01296 383793
Alex Day alexday@buckscc.gov.uk Tel: 01296 382409
HS2 Blueprint Mailbox HS2Blueprint@buckscc.gov.uk