Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 4540 - 4559)

  4540. MR HORTON: Correct.

  4541. CHAIRMAN: Then, supposing the Promoters do look at the alternatives—I do not know whether it is objective or what it is—the only objectivity that could come in, I would have thought, is when it comes to the decision-maker. In the case of a reservoir or an aerodrome or something like that, it would be the planning authority, would it not?

  4542. MR HORTON: Yes.

  4543. CHAIRMAN: They would consider under the EIA Directive whether there were main alternatives that had been put forward and considered and they would decide whether there was any merit in them other than the one that was chosen. Would they not?

  4544. MR HORTON: They would certainly consider whether there has been merit in the alternatives which were in fact considered, yes.

  4545. CHAIRMAN: Who exercises the objectivity?

  4546. MR HORTON: Speaking of the planning process at large rather than specifically these proceedings in Parliament, in the first instance it would be the planning authority but it would also be open to other interested parties to consider and make representations as to whether an alternative judged objectively ----

  4547. CHAIRMAN: I think the reality is that the planning authority would have the EIA assessment, so would other statutory consultees, and the statutory consultees would be able to make their comments to the planning authority.

  4548. MR HORTON: Certainly.

  4549. CHAIRMAN: And the local planning authority would have the objective duty to consider all of this before it reached a decision. Is that right?

  4550. MR HORTON: Yes.

  4551. CHAIRMAN: So the objectivity lies with the planning authority to consider all the points being made about main alternatives.

  4552. MR HORTON: Yes, subject to this qualification, that that judgment of the authority, I would submit, is capable of judicial scrutiny.

  4553. CHAIRMAN: Of course it is.

  4554. MR HORTON: And subject to the usual rules about judicial scrutiny.

  4555. CHAIRMAN: Of course it is. If they come to an unreasonable decision there is judicial review.

  4556. MR HORTON: Yes.

  4557. CHAIRMAN: The objectivity that you are talking about is exercised by the planning authority.

  4558. MR HORTON: Yes.

  4559. CHAIRMAN: Having taken everything proper into account, they get judicially reviewed. Is that right?

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