Examination of Witnesses (Questions 1480
1480. MR REED: I am grateful to your
Lordships. My Lords, this is a case of competing demands and where
the balance of significance is judged by your Lordships to lie;
effectively, it is cost against disabled access. My Lords, in
short, the question is: is there to be full access at two of the
stations on the Crossrail route, and is that worth the cost involved?
1481. My Lord, the decision, Newham says, is
a decision that cannot be reached in a vacuum. One cannot understand,
I should say, the importance of having full accessibility in the
rail system and at two particular stations until you properly
understand the policy context for reaching that decision. My Lord,
it is for that reason that I went through with Dr Maynard the
various policy documents relating to accessibility, and, in particular,
the Railways for All document produced by the Government.
What I say is that that is clear and straightforward; quite simply,
it emphasises the importance of having an accessible rail system
to the disabled.
1482. They should be able, in short, to access
adequately the rail system. The ultimate approach I suggest, my
Lord, is this: that if one is dealing with a new railway system
it should be upgraded to fully accessible status. My Lord, that
is something that Mr Berryman himself acknowledged in cross-examination.
The question, ultimately, and it is the only answer that Ms Lieven
has on this point, is whether or not this is to be regarded as
a new railway. The answer, you have heard from Ms Lieven, was
"Well, that is ludicrous".
1483. What I want to do, in those circumstances,
is read something to you. It is from the Equality Impact Assessment,
paragraph 1.1, and you have a copy of it in your papers. Crossrail
say this: "Crossrail is a major new railway that will run
under Central London through new tunnels linking Maidenhead and
Heathrow in the West with Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the East."
That is the way Crossrail itself puts itself forward. That is
how it justified what it was: a major new railway, and to be regarded
as such. If it is irrational, it is irrational from the words
put forward by Crossrail themselves. So I suggest, my Lord, it
is no answer to the point that we make, namely that policy should
lead to a presumption that there will be upgraded stations along
the Crossrail line.
1484. So what I suggest, my Lord, is that there
has to be some convincing reason as to why full accessibilitythe
upgrading of existing stationsshould not be undertaken.
That, then, comes down to whether or not the criteria that Crossrail
themselves have put forward to justify why they are not upgrading
1485. My Lord, before I go on to deal with those
particular criteria, can I raise several positive reasons as to
why it is important in this case that Newham, particularly, should
benefit from upgraded stations. The first is something that you
have heard on a good many occasions over the last two days, which
is Newham's significant deprivationdeprivation experienced
by those who are going to be (the relevant people we are dealing
with) the mobility restricted. They are people who face a double
problem: namely, low income and mobility restricted. It is those
types of people, my Lord, you may think, that more significantly
benefit from close and accessible stations. They are not people
that are going to be able to benefit to the same degree from,
for example, accessibility to cars and accessibility to the taxi
system. Looking at the question of mothers and children, they
are not going to benefit from free bus accessibility either.
1486. My Lord, although Ms Lieven says that
we are dealing with very small percentage differences in terms
of the incidence of disability in Newham, the evidence has been
provided that Newham does have a higher level of disability incidence
than in London generally and in England. My Lord, that is relevant
in this case because it indicates the extent to which there is,
again, to be a benefit in having the upgrading; it reiterates
the importance of having the upgrading.
1487. My Lord, what I say is that when looking
at it overall, of course, NewhamI was going to say "are
grateful"welcome the position in terms of the existence
of stations that are going through its borough. My Lord, whilst
they of course welcome that, it needs to be a benefit that is
a full benefit and that acknowledges the interests of all those
who want to use the system. It should not be a gift, as it were,
that is only offering itself to part of the population; it should
be something that the whole population within Newham benefits
1488. My Lord, if I can turn, then, to the approach
that Crossrail has taken in respect of its approach towards the
two stations we are dealing with today, what I say is this: Crossrail
has been inconsistent in its approach towards whether it is going
to upgrade stations. It said, originally, that it would upgrade
a station if it were reasonably practicable. Subsequent to that,
it laid down a set of criteria far more stringent than the criterion
of reasonable practicability, which was quite obviously an engineering
practicability issue, as we went through with Dr Maynard yesterday.
They stepped back from that and imposed a number of criteria in
order to reach the conclusion that they have.
1489. My Lord, in terms of those criteria, the
way in which Crossrail have applied them needs to be carefully
considered. Crossrail did not undertake any cost-benefit analysis.
Could they have undertaken an adequate cost-benefit analysis?
What Ms Lieven submitted to you was: "Well, Dr Maynard said
yesterday that it is always going to end up with a negative decision".
That is not, actually, reflecting what Mr Berryman said today,
which was that yes, one could have been undertaken; a GOMMS Study
could have been undertakena multi-modal studyor
a New Approach to Transport Appraisal Study (the NATA approach).
Both of those could have been undertaken and they could have been
adjusted to reach adequate conclusions which reflected the importance
of disability upgrading generally. So it could have been done
and it was not done.
1490. What you heard was a wholly inadequate
explanation as to why it was that these two decisions had been
reached and the basis upon which they had been reached. There
were no particular benchmarks; it was all just a matter (from
what Mr Berryman was saying) of subjective judgment; there was
no way to understand the relative importance given to any particular
station, save for two criteria (which I will come back to): one,
generally, how many people were going to be accessing it over
a three-hour period, and, two, how much was it going to cost?
That substance was the way in which it was done. Then just a simple
judgment: should it or should it not?
1491. What I suggest to your Lordships is that
that is a wholly inadequate basis on which to approach it when
you were dealing with it in the policy context that I referred
to earlier on. Nor, in reaching that subjective judgment, did
they ask for any advice or information on those specific issues
from an inclusivity adviser. You would have thought that Dr Maynard
would have been one of the first people that should have been
approached in advising as to whether or not there should be upgrading
in this caseas to where the balance truly lay of importance
1492. My Lord, if I can go on to the application
of those various criteria, there were (at least on the Information
Paper) four criteria identified. The incidence of disability was,
in fact, a criterion, as was acknowledged by Mr Berryman, in addition
to accessibility to the station, costs, etc, which we will come
on to. Looking at the incidence of disability in the locality,
was there actually any detail given in this Committee, despite
that being a particular and specific criteria? Was anything given
by Crossrail? Answer: no. What we got was how difficult it was
to actually produce any information on that issue. (I say there
was not anything but what we did get was the information today.)
I will come on to the way in which that was used in a moment.
I suggest, in those circumstances, that not a great deal of weight
can be placed on the detail of the analysis, the rigorousness
of the analysis, that was undertaken by Crossrail.
1493. My Lord, if I can just look at the question
of what we put forward, we indicated evidence of the incidence
of disability based upon the mobility allowance. Ms Lieven says
that, frankly, was going to assist absolutely no one because it
just did not take into account the mobility restricted generally.
Mr Berryman acknowledged that it was something that was usefulyou
heard that in evidence today. The reason it was useful is because
it was showing the incidence of disability in the two wards in
comparison to the situation at Forest Gate. Again, I will return
to Forest Gate, but it shows that there was a comparable position
in respect of Forest Gate and comparable to London there was a
higher incidence of disability. Even if you say: "It does
not take into account all those who are disabled or mobility restricted",
what it did do was, at least, give an indication of people who
were within that group and how many were there within those wards
or boroughs. That is a useful indicator, I suggest to your Lordships.
1494. The way in which we discovered from Mr
Berryman that 4.4 per cent was used as an incidence of disability
was just to apply it blanket to every station when reaching their
judgment as to whether to upgrade. In that case it was, despite
being a specific criterion, completely neutral because it was
an equivalent figure used at every single location, irrespective
of actually what the reality of it was. Despite that not actually
reflecting the nature of the criterion that they said that they
used, nevertheless, the way in which they did use it was, I suggest,
of no real use at all.
1495. If I can then turn to the numbers of people
who were predicted by Crossrail as accessing the particular stations,
Crossrail, of course, produced their predicted numbers, which
are in fact on the overhead projectors now. My Lord, what that
shows, if one was looking at it in the context, say, of Manor
Park, is that there should be an upgrading, subject to costagain,
a matter agreed by Mr Berryman. It should be because, of course,
those with fewer people accessing those stations are to be upgraded.
1496. In terms of Maryland, we see there that
it is at some 2,000. Your Lordships will no doubt pay close attention
to the fact that West Ealing and Acton mainline, with only a few
more accessing those particular stations, are nevertheless to
be upgraded. My Lord, on the basis of the incidence of the people
who are likely to be accessing those stations, I suggest that
it indicates plainly a conclusion that there should be upgrading,
subject, as I say, to the question of costs.
1497. I should point out, though, that if we
are right, and aside from simply taking 4.4 per cent of these
total figures (which is the way in which Crossrail have done it),
actually what you apply is a recognition of the greater number
of disabled within those wards surrounding the two stations, and
that would be a still greater indicator that one should be undertaking
1498. If I can just deal with a point as an
aside on that issue which concerns what these figures are showing,
they are peak-hour figures, not off-peak figures. As Viscount
Colville pointed out, these are peak figures, they are not off-peak,
but your Lordships will recall that no figures at all were put
forward by Crossrail as to what the position would be in the off-peak.
One can only, therefore, assume that it was not a factor that
played any particular role in the decision-making process, so
it should not be counted in favour of one particular station than
another, whatever the figure might be, and, in any event, we have
no detail as to what that is, so it does come down to what these
1499. My Lords, I would just touch on another
point which is something that Ms Lieven raised, namely that you
cannot just keep throwing money at things all the time, that cumulatively
the cost goes up and that renders eventually this project unaffordable.
My Lords, that is a point that you may hear time and again, but
of course it is a point being raised as a defence on the part
of Crossrail again and again, and they should not be entitled
to do it. What they should be held to is the decision-making process
that they said they undertook, namely a decision-making process
on the basis of the criteria that were set out in Information
Paper E5. If those are not met, then these stations should be
upgraded. My Lord, I will come on to the question of costs shortly.
When looking at it overall, I will be suggesting to your Lordships
that it is quite plain that the criteria indicate that there should