1.The High Speed Rail (West Midlands-Crewe) Bill is a Hybrid Bill which is intended to provide the legislative powers needed for the building of Phase 2a of the high speed rail line between Fradley Wood in Staffordshire and the junction with the West Coast Main Line near Crewe in Cheshire. A Hybrid Bill is a public bill which is “considered to affect specific private or local interests”.
2.The Bill authorises the construction and operation of a new high speed railway line 36 miles (58 km) long.
3.The Bill had its second reading in the House of Commons on 30 January 2018 and was referred to the select committee. The Committee’s role is to consider petitions against the Bill and “Additional Provisions”. Additional Provisions are changes to the Bill that potentially may affect other specific and private interests.
4.The Committee does not have powers to reject the principle of the Bill.
5.At Second Reading on the floor of the House of Commons, the Bill was committed to a Select Committee and the House passed the following motion:
“That there shall stand referred to the Committee
a)Any petition against the Bill submitted to the Private Bill Office between 30 January 2018 and 26 February 2018, and
b)Any petition which has been submitted to the Private Bill Office and in which the petitioners complain of any amendment as proposed in the filled-up Bill or of any matter which has arisen during the progress of the Bill before the Select Committee.”
6.The Committee’s role is to hear petitioners who wish to petition against the scheme contained in either the Bill or Additional Provisions or both. The Committee may also invite the Secretary of State for Transport, represented by Counsel to respond to the petitioners’ points. The Committee will then make decisions based on the evidence heard, which may mitigate or compensate for the adverse impact of the Bill’s provisions on petitioners.
7.There were 187 petitions against the Bill. The Secretary of State has challenged the right to be heard of 26 of those petitioners. Only those who are directly and specially affected by the Bill are allowed to put their case to the Committee. The decisions made about challenging the right to appear can be seen in the Annex at the end of this report.
8.The Committee is aware that there are many people whose lives are affected by the proposal in the Bill. They will be interested in following the outcome of petitions against the Bill. The Committee will regularly make announcements and issue short reports containing its decisions.
9.The Committee announced on 7 March 2018 that it would consider, in the following order,
10.The Committee received 187 petitions against the Bill: HS2 challenged 26 of these. The period for petitioning against the first Additional Provision ran from 29th March until 27th April 2018. The Committee received 33 petitions against the Additional Provision and has programmed, where possible, petitioners’ appearances on both the Bill and Additional Provision matters in a single hearing in order to minimise the necessity for petitioners to travel from the West Midlands. Of those, eight petitioners had not previously submitted a petition against the Bill: these petitioners will be programmed to appear over the next few weeks.
11.We are grateful to our colleagues from the HS2 Phase 1 Committee who advised us so that we have been able to incorporate some lessons learned from Phase 1 into our approach to Phase 2a.
12.The Committee’s hearings began with the opening statement by HS2 (the Promoter) setting out the case for the scheme. Members of the Committee visited the proposed route. The Committee then received a series of informal briefing sessions about the control of environmental impacts, ecology, tunnels, traffic, compensation and noise. Copies of the presentations given to the Committee were published online in advance of these sessions.
13.To complement the informal briefings and to ensure the Committee understood the areas, the Committee also met Members of Parliament. This gave us valuable background information on the constituencies affected. We met Sir William Cash MP, Antoinette Sandbach MP, Laura Smith MP, Jack Brereton MP, Michael Fabricant MP, and Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP.
14.Ms Sandbach, Mr Brereton, Sir William Cash, and Mr Jeremy Lefroy formally petitioned the Committee and we are grateful to HS2 for not challenging their right as Members to do so.
15.Following the hearings on the right to petition, the Committee heard the following petitioners in relation to the Whitmore–Madeley Heath tunnel: Staffordshire County Council, Lichfield District Council, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council; Sir William Cash MP; Whitmore Parish Council; Madeley Parish Council; Graham Hutton; and the Woodland Trust. We would like to thank everyone for their attendance and for participating in the process.
1 Erskine May. Twenty-fourth edition, p. 652
2 HC 927, Minutes of Evidence, 19th March 2018, Q6
3 For full text of the Motion see the following website:
4 HC 927, Minutes of Evidence, 19 March 2018, Q2
5 The Committee’s “Should I Petition guide” available on the Committee’s website:
6 Mr Smith (witness) of the Whitmore2Madeley Action Group highlighted the impact that the proposal was having on people’s lives.
7 The transcripts of these sessions can be viewed on the Committee’s website:
9 HC 927, Minutes of Evidence 23rd April, 15th May and 4th June 2018
10 Petition No. 130
11 Petition No. 108
12 Petition No. 141
13 Petition No. 187
14 Petition No. 90
15 Petition No. 104
16 On behalf of Joanna Hutton and 238 others; Petition No. 44
17 Petition No. 99
Published: 24 May 2018