The HS2 Hybrid Bill

The recently-published HS2 Hybrid Bill reveals “God-like” powers to destroy heritage, livelihoods and green belt space.The authority it enshrines is worthy of the most power-crazed dictatorship and echoes John of Gaunt (Richard II Act 2 , Scene 1) … “This Sceptered Isle” …

Deregulation incorporated within the HS2 Hybrid Bill disapplies the powers contained in most other regulatory regimes, including controls relating to

  • listed building controls,
  • ancient monuments,
  • burial grounds,
  • consecrated land,
  • commons,
  • town or village greens,
  • open spaces or allotments,
  • trees,
  • overhead lines,
  • water,
  • building regulations,
  • street works,
  • the use of heavy commercial vehicles (including a power for construction vehicles to use routes currently covered by lorry ban orders – which could result in a lot of night-time lorry movements in places that don't normally have them), and
  • noise.

The theory is that HS2 is sufficiently important, and has been approved as such by Parliament, that it doesn't need to jump through these hoops too. The bill also disapplies various controls under local laws relating to London, Oxfordshire, Staffordshire and the West Midlands by reference to schedule 26.

In London, for example, it disapplies controls for the protection of squares in the London Squares Preservation Act 1931.

Quite frightening wouldn’t you say?