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 ongoing Locus Standi challenges and House of Lords Select Committee process and also the appointment of the new Secretary of State for Transport.
New Secretary of State for Transport
Chris Grayling MP has been appointed new Secretary of State for Transport. In an interview on Radio 4 last weekend he is reported to have said, ‘I have no plans to back away from the HS2 project. And the thing that’s important for people to understand is that HS2 is not simply a speed project, it’s a capacity project’. More details are available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36820702
Locus Standi ruling for MPs
On 11 July Cheryl Gillan MP gave evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on behalf of 7 other MPs along the route, as to why they should be granted Locus Standi in respect of their petitions. The Committee ruled that Locus Standi should not be granted as a right but did say that any MP could appear as a witness for another petitioner. You can read the ruling at http://www.parliament.uk/documents/lords-committees/High-Speed-Rail/HSRBC-ruling-on-locus-standi-18-July.pdf
Decision on Additional Provisions in the House of Lords
On 7 July 2016 the House of Lords Select Committee made an announcement on Additional Provisions. The full statement can be found at the beginning of the transcript at http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/high-speed-rail-london-west-midlands-bill-lords-committee/high-speed-rail-london-west-midlands-bill/oral/34895.html The conclusion was that the committee will not hear petitions which require Additional Provisions unless they receive an appropriate instruction from the full house. The statement concluded with the following:
‘We are likely to hear petitions from the Chilterns area during October, with petitions from the Colne Valley, Ickenham and Ruislip areas following probably in November. In the event, as we see it the very unlikely event, of our receiving an appropriate instruction, we will of course hear all relevant evidence and submissions and also, no doubt, petitions against the additional provision. But if there has been no relevant instruction by then it would be fanciful to suppose that such an instruction might be given at a later date, and it would be a waste of time and resources for us to hear evidence and submissions that would be relevant only in a fanciful contingency.’
House of Lords Select Committee announcement 19 July 2016
Following on from the beginning of substantive hearings in the House of Lords Select Committee and the decision taken on Additional Provisions the Committee made the following statement. This highlights concerns about repetition of evidence, hearing on anything that requires an additional provision and sets out the timetable on resumption of hearings post recess.
1. THE CHAIRMAN: Good morning. This is our second last day before the summer recess, and before we begin I’m going to read a short statement referring to that. With our proceedings about to break for the summer recess, the Committee wishes to issue some guidance, which may prove useful to petitioners appearing in the future. As to our programme, we’ll be hearing from petitioners in the Euston and Camden areas in September. Then we will resume our southbound progress down the line when the House returns after the conference recess in October.
2. In the light of our ruling on additional provisions given on Thursday 7 July, we wish to make it absolutely clear that, in the absence of an instruction from the House, we will not hear argument for measures which would require an additional provision, that is, measures which would amount to significant changes to the scheme. In preparing their cases, petitioners should be extremely mindful of our limited powers. They will be squandering their time if they choose to present proposals which would require an additional provision, just as they will if they present proposals which go against the principle of the Bill. Instead, they would be wise to focus on issues and solutions over which the Committee does have power to intervene.
3. The Committee also wishes to re-emphasise the merits of succinct and cogent presentations from petitioners and the desirability of petitioners grouping together to present a single case. Groups of petitioners from the same area are encouraged to appoint a lead petitioner to outline their case, with other petitioners from the group adding local detail where appropriate, instead of repeating the case. It is our clear view that there is no relationship between repetition and persuasiveness.
Update on Broadband
The County Council has been supplied the following update on broadband provision for rural communities along the route of HS2:
‘The Department for Transport is having ongoing discussions with Broadband Delivery UK and the Department of Culture Media and Sport on the issue of what opportunities exist to improve superfast broadband connectivity for rural communities along the Phase One line of route.
It is understood that the specification of new tenders for further rollout of Broadband coverage are currently being negotiated with relevant local authorities. The Department will want to ensure that any plans for supporting the provision of additional coverage do not conflict with those specifications.
A further announcement on this issue will be made in due course.’
Public Accounts Committee session on HS2 on 11 July 2016
The Committee examined HS2 costs and progress. Their witnesses were Simon Kirby, the Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd, Philip Rutnam, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Transport and David Prout, Director General at the Department for Transport. You can watch the session at http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/ . Buckinghamshire County Council submitted written evidence to the Committee but was not invited to attend the session, as they were in 2013.
If you would like to be kept up to date will all the latest information on HS2 matters please contact Andrea Polden firstname.lastname@example.org who will add you to her mailing list. Andrea is a volunteer who shares daily information on HS2 matters.
Buckinghamshire County Council HS2 team:
Jackie Copcutt email@example.com Tel: 01296 383793
Laura Martin-Leech firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01296 382163
HS2 Blueprint Mailbox HS2Blueprint@buckscc.gov.uk
BCC HS2 Webpages: http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/environment/hs2/