CHAPTER 6: CONCLUSION AND THE FUTURE
OF THE PROJECT
250. The House of Commons' Committee, in their
First Special Report (HC 235-I) left a number of matters outstanding,
not least the Railway clauses. These we have addressed elsewhere
in the Report. They also drew particular attention to the need
to enable members of the public to understand this enormous project
and the way in which it may affect their community, their property,
their businesses and their homes. We endorse that concern and,
at the end of our proceedings, we wonder whether the material
which had been made available by the Promoter has been assimilated
by members of the public.
251. There is a huge range of information in
the form of the Information Papers, the Environmental Minimum
Requirements, and the Register of Undertakings and Assurances.
All these documents can be seen by any interested partythey
are all online and have been updated throughout the Parliamentary
proceedings in both Houses.
We urge the Promoter to continue to ensure that all information
provided to the public is clear, accessible and comprehensive.
252. We wish to stress that Petitioners' dialogues
with the Promoter do not end with the publication of this Report.
It will be important for both parties to continue to communicate
with each other through construction and beyond to ensure that
Crossrail is built with minimal disruption to those directly affected
by its' construction.
253. The Committee's view throughout proceedings
has been that there are clearly many and continuing problems likely
to encountered by those with properties or businesses above the
running tunnels or adjacent to surface works but that machinery
is in place to resolve these. We agree that the members of the
public particularly affected by the works must have recourse to
remedies to mitigate the nuisance they will suffer but we also
believe that such remedies should not place an undue burden on
public finances. There is a balance to be struck and where Petitioners
sought our recommendation for measures which would overload the
impact on public funds we had to decline.
254. Petitioners will be protected by the Crossrail
Environmental Minimum Requirements, Crossrail policies (as set
out in their Information Papers), settlement deeds and other undertakings,
assurances and deeds negotiated in specific cases with individual
petitioners. Those affected by Crossrail will have access to the
24 hour Information and Helpline Service and, in some instances,
to 'one stop shops'.
255. We expect the helpline service to be an
effective means for individuals with complaints and concerns to
channel their views. In particular we expect the nominated undertaker
to ensure that the staff employed on the helpline are sufficient
in number and expertise and are able to deal tactfully and helpfully
with callers. Above all, we expect that there will be no resort
to a system of disembodied voices and call queuing.
256. A Complaints Commissioner will be appointed
to act as a form of Ombudsman and investigate any cases forwarded
to him/her. The Commissioner will be a person of suitable stature
and relevant qualifications and will be independent. Local Authorities
will also be active in taking measures to protect their residents
and will ensure that the Construction practices, which have been
agreed by all local authorities along the route, are observed.
257. Community Liaison Groups also have an important
role to play in ensuring that those affected are fully informed
and have an opportunity to discuss their concerns and frustrations
with the Promoter. As was noted by several Petitioners, such a
device proved very useful in the case of the Channel Tunnel Rail
Link construction in the King's Cross area of Londonthe
London Borough of Camden set up and chaired just such a Group
which was successful in giving satisfaction over many issues.
It is proposed that such groups should operate along the Crossrail
route. It has to be said, however, that to be of any use the Group
must include members of the local community who are fully prepared
to participate. Such an organisation cannot be imposed and will
never function without the element of trust and cooperation respected
by all concerned.
258. Our Committee was presented with far fewer
Petitions than the House of Commons' Committee; not least because
we did not have to deal with any Additional Provisions and their
accompanying new rounds of petitioning. Before us a great many
Petitions were settled as a result of diligent and patient negotiation
by both parties; in other instances a compromise was reached before
the scheduled hearing date or after the hearing. In such cases
the basis for agreement was often another undertaking or assurance
which will now appear in the Register.
259. With the publication of this Report the
Committee has formally reported the Bill. The Bill will now go
through its remaining stages in the House of Lords (Committee
on re-commitment, Report and Third Reading) before being returned
to the House of Commons for consideration of amendments. When
both Houses have agreed the provisions of the Bill the Bill will
gain Royal Assent and become an Act. A nominated undertaker can
then be appointed, contracts can be let and Crossrail construction
can then commence.
260. We have made some minor, technical amendments
to the Bill and have amended clause 16 (for an explanation of
why we have amended clause 16 in this way see Appendix 13). When
the Bill returns to the House it is proposed that ministers will
move amendments to omit clauses 23-34 which have been overtaken
by the decision of the Rail Regulator in early May to grant an
Access Option to Crossrail under the Railways Act 1993. There
remains some concern over clauses 40-41 (especially clause 41(3))
and their retention can be discussed in the Chamber. For the benefit
of the House a note on clauses 40 and 41, presented by the Promoter
to the Committee, is published as Appendix 12 to this Report.
36 These documents can be found online at: http://billdocuments.crossrail.co.uk/ Back