Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 4760 - 4779)

  4760. CHAIRMAN: Is Route B a main alternative in itself? It is.

  4761. MR HORTON: My Lord, in my submission, yes. In considering schemes of this kind it is manifest that they have to be looked at section by section, although it is a single scheme, and the effects section by section have to be considered. If, for example with Crossrail, the route were as now approved in the second reading with its limits of deviation and you took that same route and the only alteration you made to it would be Route B on the Spitalfields section, in my respectful submission that would fall within the meaning of "main alternative".

  4762. CHAIRMAN: That is very clear and that is exactly what we wanted to know. That would apply to any part of the route.

  4763. MR HORTON: I have to accept that.

  4764. CHAIRMAN: Would the same point arise anyway?

  4765. MR HORTON: Yes. I gave the motorway analogy yesterday. In practice, with large projects of this kind, as Mr Schabas has confirmed in his experience, that is the approach taken in other countries. We do not necessarily pay any attention to what other countries do, but we are better at listening perhaps and examining that than we used to be. My Lord, I urge upon the Committee that this is the right approach.

  4766. CHAIRMAN: I understand that as an engineer he would do that.

  4767. MR HORTON: Exactly.

  4768. CHAIRMAN: Whether as a lawyer one ought to do it is another matter.

  4769. MR HORTON: Yes. You have my submission.

  4770. As you know from yesterday—and I have reiterated it this morning so I can state it very shortly—it being accepted that it was not considered as a main alternative, curiously—and I will be corrected if I am wrong—I do not understand the Promoters to be saying that as a matter of law if they had chosen to identify Route B for closer examination and refer to it in the ES that it would not have been within the meaning of "main alternative" in the Directive.

  4771. CHAIRMAN: Or part of the main alternative.

  4772. MR HORTON: Indeed. Yes. Faced with the fact, however, that in their discretion—which is relied upon by my learned friend and he says is supported by the authorities in the domestic courts in this country—the Promoters did not consider it worthy of such consideration, I have to submit, as I already have done, that it is not a matter for the subjective judgment, unreviewable, of the Promoters.

  4773. CHAIRMAN: We have got this point. It is for us.

  4774. MR HORTON: Thank you, my Lord. You have heard Mr Schabas, which I hope is of some assistance in considering that.

  4775. I am not sure there is anything more I need say to your Lordships, unless you think I can help further.

  4776. CHAIRMAN: I strongly suspect you are right, Mr Horton.

  4777. MR HORTON: Then I will sit down.

  4778. CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much.

  4779. Now what are we going to do.

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