Crossrail Bill

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Schedule 13

Disapplication and modification of miscellaneous controls
Stephen Hammond: I beg to move amendment No. 57, in schedule 13, page 206, line 25, leave out sub-paragraph (3).
The Chairman: With this it will be convenient to discuss amendment No. 58, in schedule 13, page 206, line 29, leave out ‘or (3)’.
Stephen Hammond: Schedule 13 is an important part of the Bill, in that it adjusts any legislation that might otherwise hinder the construction and operation of Crossrail. It includes a number of different paragraphs, a couple of which relate to London lorries and the effects of the London lorry ban order—the Greater London (Restriction of Goods Vehicles) Traffic Order 1985—on the Crossrail project.
Paragraph 10 of the schedule makes provision for the approval of a lorry licence if certain conditions are met. In principle, I can see that that is absolutely necessary, but the paragraph goes on to state that
“no condition may be imposed which is likely to obstruct the carrying out of authorised works”.
My concern about that wording is that there may be a number of circumstances in which localised conditions mean that the use of lorries will have to be slightly curtailed or at least regulated. I imagine that if a permit were granted, extra conditions would be imposed only if absolutely necessary, and if that were absolutely necessary, it would be unwise for the Bill to state that such a condition would automatically not be enforceable.
The underlying motivation for the amendment is a desire to see that the construction of Crossrail is carried out responsibly. I hope that the Minister will elucidate exactly how schedule 13 and, in particular, paragraph 10 in relation to approval of a lorry licence will operate, and reassure me that my amendment is not required.
Mr. Harris: Again, the amendment is not necessary, but I can understand why the hon. Gentleman tabled it and the concerns that he has expressed. Paragraph 10 of schedule 13 deals with applications for the issue of a permit under the London lorry ban order in connection with the carrying out of Crossrail works authorised by the Bill, whether in an emergency, when special procedures set out in paragraph 11 apply, or in other circumstances. The London lorry ban order enables restrictions to be put in place on the use of heavy goods vehicles in the scheme area to help to minimise noise pollution in residential areas during unsocial hours.
Sub-paragraph (3) of paragraph 10 requires that if an application is granted
“no condition may be imposed which is likely to obstruct the carrying out of authorised a timely and efficient manner, accordance with approved arrangements.”
Sub-paragraph (4) allows an applicant aggrieved by a decision on the issue under sub-paragraph (2) or conditioning under sub-paragraph (3) of a permit to appeal to the Secretary of State.
The amendments proposed by the hon. Member for Wimbledon would allow the authority responsible for issuing permits to condition the permit in a way that could obstruct the timely and efficient carrying out of Crossrail works or be inconsistent with approvals previously given by the relevant local planning authorities to lorry routes.
The amendment is not desirable. It would allow the issuing authority to overrule the careful consideration that local planning authorities will already have given to the matter of lorry routing under the schedule 7 consents process. Schedule 7 expressly provides that the local planning authority may modify the nominated undertaker’s proposed arrangements for lorry routing on grounds including the preservation of the local environment, where that is reasonably possible. In other words, the amendment would undermine the good work that local authorities had already done on lorry routing.
In addition, the amendment would expose the project to additional cost and risk of delay. It is unreasonable for the project to face that risk, given the protections available to local residents through the schedule 7 process. There is the opportunity to petition in the Bill itself, and there have been a number of undertakings to petitioners on the matter of lorry routing. With those assurances about the other protections available to local residents as regards lorry routing, I invite the hon. Gentleman to withdraw the amendment.
Stephen Hammond: I listened carefully to the Minister and I am happy to accept his invitation. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Stephen Hammond: I beg to move amendment No. 59, in schedule 13, page 206, line 33, leave out from beginning to end of line 35 and insert—
‘( ) Where an appeal under sub-paragraph (4) is dismissed by the Secretary of State, it should be referred to arbitration’.
The amendment is self-explanatory. It would transfer the task of dispute resolution from the Secretary of State to a third-party arbiter. Clause 62 sets out a robust arbitration process, which would be suitable for resolving the kind of dispute that may arise as a result of the necessary disruption caused by the construction and operation of Crossrail. The resolution procedure provides, for example, that if two parties cannot agree on an arbiter, the president of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers or someone appointed by the ORR will perform the role of arbiter. If such an arbitration process is good enough to deal with disputes arising from provisions elsewhere in the Bill, why is it not good enough to deal with those arising from the provisions in this schedule?
The key benefit of arbitration is that the final decision is made by a person who is accepted by both parties to the dispute, which gives the arbiter the necessary authority and independence. I have no doubt that the Secretary of State would come to a reasoned and fair decision, but I fear, as I have said previously, that he or she may not have the same perceived independence as a third-party arbiter. Clause 62 provides for an independent arbiter, and such a person would be much better suited than the Secretary of State to making the relevant decisions. I therefore look forward to the Minister accepting my invitation to agree to the amendment.
Mr. Harris: Paragraph 10 of schedule 13 to the Bill deals with applications for the issue of permits under the London lorry ban order in connection with the carrying out of Crossrail works. Sub-paragraph (4) provides that an applicant who is aggrieved by the decision of the local authority responsible for issuing the permit may appeal to the Secretary of State within 28 days of notification of the decision. Sub-paragraph (5) provides that the Secretary of State may allow or dismiss the appeal or vary the decision of the authority concerned.
The hon. Gentleman’s amendment would replace the certainty provided by the Secretary of State’s decision to dismiss an appeal by the applicant, who is likely to be a contractor or sub-contractor to the nominated undertaker, with an uncertain and unclear right or obligation—the drafting does not make clear which—to seek arbitration following the Secretary of State’s decision. Given that applications for permits cannot always be planned far in advance, as the inclusion of an emergency procedure in paragraph 11 anticipates, the option of further protracting the decision-making process through the further step of mandatory referral to arbitration would be of no benefit to the applicant or the progression of the Crossrail project more generally. I hope that the reference to the emergency situation will explain why the provisions for arbitration or the lack of arbitration in the schedule differ from those in the schedules to which the hon. Gentleman referred.
Stephen Hammond: I have listened to the Minister and clearly the emergency issue is one of relevance and importance. However, I am surprised that he thinks that the drafting is unclear. I thought that the words “should be referred to” would have provided for a clear obligation. It might be that he thinks that the obligation would not help the process, but it might help those involved in the arbitration. I might revisit the amendment on Report, therefore, but at this stage I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Schedule 13 agreed to.
Clause 49 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 14

Burial grounds: removal of human remains and monuments
Stephen Hammond: I beg to move amendment No. 60, in schedule 14, page 210, line 24, at end insert—
We now turn to the question of the construction of Crossrail affecting the burial grounds of human remains and monuments to the deceased. I am aware that the Select Committee considered a number of petitions about that and has carried out some excellent work. However, clearly the removal of burial grounds and monuments in order to make way for the construction of Crossrail is an important and sensitive issue, which the Bill tackles comprehensively. Paragraph 1(1) and (2) of schedule 14 requires the nominated undertaker to publish details of removals, and sub-paragraph (3) relaxes those rules when dealing with the remains of someone who died more than a century ago. That appears to be appropriate.
My amendment, however, proposes an additional sub-paragraph that would change the rules when dealing with the remains of those who died more recently and would represent a more sensitive way of dealing with this very distressing matter. Twenty five years is a relatively short period for burials. I accept that no obligation could be placed on a nominated undertaker to take the approach proposed in the amendment when dealing with all interred remains. However, very little effort would be required in order for the nominated undertaker to find relatives of those interred more recently. They could refer easily to undertakers that performed the particular ceremony, church records or the electoral role. Rather than just placing a notice in a newspaper, a slightly more demanding obligation should be placed on the nominated undertaker in order to relieve some of the distress caused to the families of those interred less than 25 years ago whose remains will be removed to make way for the albeit necessary construction of Crossrail.
Mr. Binley: I support the amendment. In fact I would go even further and, therefore, seek help from the Minister. Many people have moved out of London, many of whom came to Northamptonshire, on an overspill basis, 40 years ago. Many of their grandparents are the people we are talking about, but they might have died 40 or 50 years ago. Although I recognise that there is a limit to what he can do for those people, will he rethink this scenario very seriously? It will impact immensely on sizeable numbers of Northamptonshire residents, and I am sure that the same goes for other counties. Will he be kind and give us and them some comfort in that respect?
It being One o’clock the Chairman adjourned the Committee without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.
Adjourned accordingly till this day at Four o’clock.
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Prepared 28 November 2007