Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence


Examination of Witnesses (Questions 4420 - 4439)

  4420. CHAIRMAN: Well, what is he going to say?

  4421. MR HORTON: He is not in a position to say that, he has not done enough work. He is going to say, with his experience, that the reasons given in 2001 for not even ranking it as a main alternative were simply not proper reasons and that, looking at it with his experience, it plainly should have been considered as a main alternative, judging it objectively. He cannot go further, and your Lordships, on the case which I am presenting, would not need to go further and say that Route B should be preferred. What I am inviting your Lordships to say is that, as a matter of law, the EIA does not appear to have been properly done and to give an instruction that Route B should be looked at.

  4422. CHAIRMAN: Well, I am going to give a ruling on that on Monday after I have heard this. I am still concerned about what it is that Mr Schabas is going to say.

  4423. MR HORTON: Well, perhaps I can try to illustrate it in this way: that you have available to you, and I do not know whether you have read it, but I can refer you to it, the evidence that he gave for the Mayfair Society in relation to the alignment through that part of London. He indicated there that he had a lot of experience with the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, and you will recollect that these Promoters claim, claim, to have used the experience on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link to have guided them when considering how to select the route and any examination of alternatives for Crossrail. In relation to the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, Mr Schabas, with his skills, said to the Lords Committee, "You should not be putting the terminus at King's Cross. You should be putting it at St Pancras", without having done a huge study of it, but that was a judgment that he could make as an expert. The Lords Committee would have none of it, but in due course, as you know, that is what has happened, so I am presenting him as a man who has the technical training and the very ----

  4424. CHAIRMAN: I do not think anybody doubts that. Are you promoting Route B? Are you saying that it is within our powers to suggest to the House, on recommitment, that Route B ought to be chosen?

  4425. MR HORTON: Well ----

  4426. CHAIRMAN: Are you or are you not?

  4427. MR HORTON: My Lord, yes, but ----

  4428. CHAIRMAN: You are?

  4429. MR HORTON: Yes, I am, but that is because, with great respect, if I have understood the approach this Committee so far has taken to what is called the `principle' of the Bill, the case I have to put is that the principle established of having a route on this section that runs between Liverpool Street and Whitechapel Station, which I am not instructed to dispute, as end points on this section, that principle, which, as I understand it, the Committee takes the view was established on Second Reading, does not prevent you from looking at precisely how to get from Liverpool Street to Whitechapel.

  4430. CHAIRMAN: Yes, it does. I am going to rule on this.

  4431. MR HORTON: My Lord, forgive me, I am sure it is my fault and I may be confusing your Lordship, but, because I was aware or thought the Committee had already made it clear that, whether Petitioners like it or not, that principle is decided, you recall that yesterday the way I put it to you by reference to the EIA argument was that you may consider Route B in a different context, so not by reference to the principle. I simply on the record make it clear, in case it should be important in the future, that I respectfully, of course, submit that your Lordships are wrong as to what has been established by the principle, but, as I understand it, you have formed a view and I must accept that.

  4432. CHAIRMAN: Wrong or not, that is our view.

  4433. MR HORTON: Exactly, precisely so. Your Lordship knows that I know my job to that extent. I am putting it to you a different way, namely that, if my submission was right yesterday, which your Lordship, I appreciate, has not ruled on yet and all you have done is to be kind enough not yet to tell me that you reject it, as I understand, if my submission yesterday was correct that, properly construing the European Directive on Environmental Assessment, the test of whether a promoter should have considered a particular alignment as a main alternative should be an objective test for the reason that, if it is not an objective test, it gives an opportunity, with great respect, for abuse because promoters can just, for reasons of their own, and I do not suggest it in this case because I know nothing of the underlying reasoning in this case, but there may be cases where promoters, for commercial reasons of their own which are not in the public interest, do not want to consider a particular alternative, although they can see that, in the public interest, it might be a good alternative, if they are allowed simply to say, "Well, we never selected that as a main alternative and didn't consider it, so it doesn't arise and we don't have to put it into the Environmental Statement", there is a risk, which is contrary to the public interest, that perfectly proper, important and objectively viewed main alternatives will never get proper examination. Therefore, in my submission to you, the test is objective and you, nonetheless, in reporting to Parliament, would need to have enough information to enable you to report to Parliament whether, in your judgment, it does appear to you objectively that it is a main alternative which should have been considered. Therefore, my only purpose in wishing to call Mr Schabas is to assist you on that point, unless of course your Lordships already have a view on that.

  4434. CHAIRMAN: We do have a view on it. I have explained this several times. The question of whether the route from Liverpool Street to Whitechapel does or does not follow Route B is not something upon which we can make recommendations to the House. What we can do is we can say to the House that we have considered a submission about whether the EIA process was adequate and, as Parliament is the only judge of whether it is or not, Parliament will be invited to do so, but that is a separate point about whether we can make representations about Route B between Liverpool Street and Whitechapel.

  4435. MR HORTON: Well, my Lord, if your Lordship is saying to me that, in reporting to Parliament, the furthest you can go, supposing you were to support my legal submission, is to say to Parliament, "We consider that the test should be objective. You, Parliament, therefore, should consider whether Route B should have been considered as a main alternative", then I have to accept that would be the end of it.

  4436. CHAIRMAN: That is what we are going to do.

  4437. MR HORTON: Yes.

  4438. CHAIRMAN: I am not going to do it today, I am going to do it on Monday. Today I want to deal with Route B and I want to deal definitively with Route B.

  4439. MR HORTON: I understand that and it may be my fault, but it is not clear to me whether you want more information about Route B.



 
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