Examination of Witnesses (Questions 4620
4620. CHAIRMAN: Because there was another
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
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.
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
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
HC Deb, 13 December 2007, cols 551-552 Back