We have received the following update from the Buckinghamshire County Council HS2 team:
(Note: previous Updates can be found on the Campaigns part of this web site at https://www.amershamsociety.org/topics/hs2/).
This E-update looks at the appointment of the HS2 Construction Commissioner and the visit to Buckinghamshire by the House of Lords Select Committee.
HS2 Construction Commissioner appointed
Gareth Epps, who previously held a senior community relations role at Crossrail, will investigate any matters that have not reached a satisfactory conclusion through HS2 complaints prcedure.
Mr Epps has been appointed to the role of interim Construction Commissioner by an independent panel. He will apparently provide independent, impartial decisions as well as advice on how to make a complaint. Full details on the appointment can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/independent-hs2-construction-commissioner-appointed.
The role of the Construction Commissioner is set out in the HS2 information paper G3 which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/497866/G03_-_Construction_Commissioner_1.4.pdf.
House of Lords Select Committee Programme
The House of Lords Select Committee is currently in recess. Hearings are due to begin again from the 6 September. The weeks of 5 and 12 September will be on CFAs 1 to 3 (Camden petitioners) with the arguments on Euston station to be heard. The Committee will then go back to its North-South programme and is expected to start hearing Buckinghamshire petitioners in October. The Local Authorities are likely to be heard ahead of individual and other group petitioners.
Visit to Buckinghamshire by the House of Lords Select Committee
The Council and MPs wrote to the Committee in May asking them for 4 days of site visits to see the extent of impacts on the county. It has now been confirmed that the Committee will be visiting Buckinghamshire. This will be undertaken sometime in October before Buckinghamshire petitioners are heard. The text below is taken directly from an email response to the MPs from the Clerk of the Committee:
‘The Committee will be visiting Buckinghamshire. This will be undertaken sometime in October, I suspect, and, as has been practice, will preface hearing petitioners from Bucks. The Committee has decided to undertake site visits in a different way to the House of Commons Committee and, indeed, such a different approach was taken on the Committee’s first site visit in and south of Birmingham. Further visits will be undertaken to the rest of the line just before petitions are heard from the area.
The Committee decided that visits would be exercises in essential fact finding and route familiarisation only. They would not be a proxy for hearing petitions or evidence gathering. The hearing of petitions and the taking of evidence is confined to transparent, public, quasi-judicial proceedings in Committee Room 4. As such, the Committee will not be holding community stops’.
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Buckinghamshire County Council HS2 team: