Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 4620 - 4639)

  4620. CHAIRMAN: Because there was another Committee stage.

  4621. MR HORTON: Yes. I beg your pardon. At that stage the Select Committee was not asked to consider route B. It did not know of its existence. When AP3 was introduced, which was to do with something else, the Second Reading, I am told, had taken place and so the issue relating to establishing the principle of the alignment had arisen. The Petitioners tried, possibly chancing their arm, having learned of route B by then, to ride in on the back of a case they were presenting about AP3 and introduce this argument about route B.

  4622. CHAIRMAN: Just remind me: what did AP3 do?

  4623. MR HORTON: It was to do with tunnelling strategy and taking out spoil, I think.

  4624. MR ELVIN: No, that is not right. The tunnelling strategy did not require an AP. It was dealt with in SES3. In the June or July of 2006, partly in response to Tower Hamlets, we put into the public arena some more information about shaft options and alignments, not because we thought it was appropriate but simply to try and ease the process, and the Commons allowed the Spitalfields Association and the others to come back again in January 2007 and there was a lengthy discussion, including these issues, on 30 January 2007 and beyond. It is entirely true that it was not considered at the first stage.

  4625. CHAIRMAN: Yes, but what did AP3 do?

  4626. MR ELVIN: That is a good question. I can remember AP4, which was Woolwich. If you will give me a moment please I will try and find it. (Pause for checking) It dealt with the interim recommendation of the Select Committee in July 2006, and it was putting into action a whole series of those things, such as amendments to footbridges, amendments to Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road. There is a whole series of them.

  4627. CHAIRMAN: Anything in Tower Hamlets?

  4628. MR ELVIN: It allowed for access to the staff car park at the Swanley School to be restricted, and it revised construction access arrangements at Whitechapel and a new ticket station at Liverpool Street. It was a Liverpool Street recommendation and amendments to the access at Whitechapel that were promoted in this area.

  4629. CHAIRMAN: But it did not deal with the route between Liverpool Street and Whitechapel?

  4630. MR ELVIN: No. That was covered in Supplementary Environmental Statement 3, not AP Environmental Statement 3, because we were simply putting into the public arena further information which we had told the Select Committee in the June and July hearings of 2006 that we would put into the public arena, partly as a response to a request for information from Tower Hamlets when they petitioned the Commons. This was not anything to do with the additional provisions. It was just additional information which we had said we would put in, but it was considered by the Select Committee in January 2007 so route B came in at that stage. It was put to the Select Committee, and indeed the issue of compliance with environmental impacts and the command paper, were put before the House of Commons again by Tom Harris at Third Reading. I will give you the Hansard reference as well when Mr Horton has finished. They went back to the Commons at Third Reading.

  4631. LORD YOUNG OF NORWOOD GREEN: Can you just tell us, because this seems to be one of the key points that Mr Horton is seeking to put before us, when route B first appeared in the public domain?

  4632. MR ELVIN: January 2007. That is when the report was provided to them. If you have the bundle of exhibits that we produced at the beginning of the week, and if you go to tab B, pages 1 and 2, this is a letter from the department setting out the list of documents provided on alternative alignments.[8] There was a whole group provided in August 2005, and then you will see on the next page two sets provided 25 January 2007, and then 29 January. You will see that the March 2001 report is the first bullet point of those provided on 25 January 2007.

  4633. LORD YOUNG OF NORWOOD GREEN: At that stage could an amendment have been made to the main route or suggested to the Committee?

  4634. MR ELVIN: The Committee could have recommended one if it had thought it was not reversing the principle of the Bill. The submissions that are being made to you were made to the Commons' Select Committee; hence my letter of 1 May later in the year saying that we had complied with the duty with regard to main alternatives. This issue that is being fought out today is no different from the same issue that was being fought out in the Commons.

  4635. LORD BROOKE OF ALVETHORPE: My Lord Chairman, could I follow up my fellow peer's question about when this first came into the public domain? Was it in the public domain at the time of the Second Reading of the Bill in the Commons?

  4636. MR ELVIN: No, it was not, but what was in the public domain were the other matters, and what came back at Third Reading --- can I just show your Lordship the Hansard extract? This is Hansard for 13 December 2007, columns 551 and 552.[9] The Minister, Mr Harris, summarises the environmental impact issues and refers to the command papers which included by then the new command paper which set out the environmental position post the Select Committee hearings, but also had the Select Committee Special Report and the transcript of the proceedings, which included the submissions from the Spitalfields residents and associations regarding alternative alignments. The reports that were before the Commons at Third Reading included the Command Paper with the correspondence, including my letter explaining why we had considered main alternatives, and that was in the context of Option B as well as Options A to C, because Ms Jordan, who is one of those instructing Mr Horton, had put forward the excerpts from the March 2001 report which dealt with the options of route alignment to the Select Committee in January 2007, so by the time the matter came back at Third Reading the Commons had the information, Option B had been then thoroughly ventilated and I had made submissions and there had been an exchange of correspondence over the question of compliance with the Environmental Assessments Directive which was set out in the command paper which the Minister, Mr Harris, referred the House to at the time. All the submissions that were being made about alternatives at the time were put before the Commons after Option B had come to light. Could I also just mention this? If your Lordships are thinking about opportunities, AP4 was promoted after this. You will recall that there was a disagreement over the issue of Woolwich Station which took some months to resolve, but AP4 was dealt with in the summer of 2007 and therefore, if the Commons Committee had thought we should have promoted an alternative provision with regard to an alternative route alignment, there would have been time to do so because we were already being asked to produce AP4 to provide a Woolwich Station, and it took some months, as you will recall, for the Minister to come back with the announcement that a mechanism had been found. AP4 was promoted after all this arose. To return to my Lord, Lord Brooke's question, yes, there was an opportunity had the Commons thought it appropriate.

  4637. LORD BROOKE OF ALVETHORPE: The Petitioners' knowledge is very important indeed, when they gained that knowledge, to see whether they could seek to persuade the Commons that an additional provision should be made.

  4638. MR ELVIN: If your Lordship would give me a moment, of course, the relevant section of the report which deals with Option B is not actually more than a couple of pages and a plan, so, to the extent that one needed to absorb that, it was not something which took a great deal of time. Indeed, it was put fairly and squarely. I can probably give you the references if you will give me a moment. Yes, it is 30 January.

  4639. CHAIRMAN: Is it in the green book?

8   Crossrail Ref: P23, Correspondence from DfT to Woodseer and Hanbury Residents Association, List of Documents Provided on Alternative Alignments, 5 July 2007 (TOWHLB-XR5B-001 and -002) Back

9   HC Deb, 13 December 2007, cols 551-552 Back

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