High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill Contents

7Locus standi

376.Petitioners against hybrid bills and additional provisions need to show that one or more of the bill provisions (or additional provisions or supplementary environmental statements) directly and specially affect them, the purpose of the petitioning process being precisely to protect those who may suffer particular adverse effects beyond effects on the public at large.

377.Challenges to the locus standi of petitions against the Bill itself were addressed in our interim report. The Promoter challenged the locus standi of 35 out of 182 AP2 petitions,74 three out of 144 AP3 petitions, 165 out of 278 AP4 petitions, and 13 out of 22 AP5 petitions. (None of the AP1 petitions was challenged.) As we have commented elsewhere in this report, of the AP2 and AP4 petitioners who were challenged, many had expressed discontent not principally with the additional provisions themselves but with the alleged inadequacy of the additional provisions in addressing their concerns with the Bill itself. That does not provide locus standi.

378.Of the AP2 petitioners whose locus was challenged, one conceded he was not directly affected but claimed to represent the views of others. Those ‘others’ could have petitioned themselves, so we upheld the locus challenge. A further AP2 petitioner was concerned that because of her proximity to the East-West railway she would be affected by HS2’s use of that railway. That was not a sufficiently special effect; we sympathised, but many people live close to railways and roads that will be used to some extent by the project. We upheld the AP2 locus challenges in all but two cases, where we felt that the benefit of the doubt should be given. In those two cases we requested that the petitioners be brief in their submissions.

379.One AP3 challenge was not contested by the petitioner. The other two challenges concerned petitioners (Andrew Bodman and the South Northamptonshire Action Group) who were concerned about the effect of the project on conventional train services from Northamptonshire into Euston. We upheld the challenges on the basis that the petitioners were not specially affected compared with the general travelling population. (There are, in any event, other means for those petitioners to make their opinions known.)

380.Some of the 165 AP4 challenges were not contested. The contested challenges were heard in three days of sittings when we sat for about 14 hours. We are grateful to the AP4 petitioners for grouping their presentations on locus. We exercised our discretion to grant locus in three cases where we felt that it would be equitable to do so in the circumstances. In one case, we refrained from a decision on the basis that that would allow sensible discussions. In other cases, it was clear to us that AP4 would be substantially advantageous to the petitioners. Such disbenefits as were associated with it would be brought to our attention by other petitioners.

381.11 of the 13 AP5 locus challenges were not resisted. Two AP5 petitioners elected to appear to express their discontent with AP5, but stated in the Committee Room that they were not thereafter resisting the locus challenge. Accordingly, we were not required to make any decisions on locus on AP5.

74 Three challenges were subsequently withdrawn, however.

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Prepared 29 February 2016