Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 6920 - 6939)

  6920. MR CAMERON: No, my Lord, it would not.

  6921. CHAIRMAN: Because we cannot do that.

  6922. MR CAMERON: I appreciate that and that is why we put forward Option 1 in these terms. It would not affect the principle of the Bill; that is, as I understand it, what Ms Lieven accepts, and it is based on the very clear precedent of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Bill and Act.

  6923. Can I make absolutely plain that Bexley Council welcomed the proposal to bring Crossrail to Abbey Wood and acknowledged that that will secure benefits for the Council's area, but the Council wish to ensure that those benefits are extended to areas, as Ms Lieven describes them, of fairly high deprivation in north Bexley, east of Abbey Wood.

  6924. The line to Ebbsfleet, as Ms Lieven has already said, was included in the scheme promoted in Crossrail's July 2003 Business Case, so it was not just in 2002 but in 2003, and then in September 2004 there was consultation carried out by Crossrail and that included the route to Ebbsfleet, so a decision to drop the route to Ebbsfleet and terminate the service at Abbey Wood was only taken as late as November 2004.

  6925. CHAIRMAN: But before the Bill was introduced into Parliament?

  6926. MR CAMERON: Yes, my Lord, but the reason I make that point is that Bexley are not trying to persuade you of the benefits of some scheme that has not been considered. It was considered as part of Crossrail's Business Case and it was considered in the Montague Report which reviewed the benefits and costs of the provision.

  6927. My Lord, I do not anticipate a dispute on two main points and those are, one, whether it be physically possible and practicable to extend the line to Ebbsfleet. I do not anticipate dispute on that because—

  6928. CHAIRMAN: I think you have already heard the answer to that. Yes, it would be done, but it is very expensive.

  6929. MR CAMERON: Yes, my Lord, and our answer on expense is we are not asking for any money to be spent at the moment. If the amendment we seek was made there would be no additional expense to the Promoter; it would just be made easier for the Promoter when and if she came forward with a scheme. The second point over which it is clear there is no dispute is that there would be socio, economic and regeneration benefits if the line were to be extended. There is no dispute on that.

  6930. The only areas of dispute appear to be the relative benefits of extending Crossrail to the east, and that is the difference between the benefits with the service to Abbey Wood and the additional benefits that would be approved if you took it east, and, again, not a substantial dispute on that. The only other issue is how best to grant the powers that authorise a future extension and, again, on that there appears to be no dispute that you can do it, and so the case that Bexley puts is: if you can do it, why not do it? It does not cost the Secretary of State anything.

  6931. On the issue of procedure I have already addressed the Committee and I do not intend to go over that again, save to emphasise that Option 1 is our preference: it has been done before, it can be done, and it can be done without affecting the principle of the Bill. Option 2 is very much our second best which is, in effect, that we are seeking warm words from the Committee but we would like the Committee to go further and to go for Option 1. As I have already said, the history of this is that in the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Bill what is our Option 2 was the first stage of the Committee, then people went away and thought about it and, once they had thought about it, the solution they came up with was the one that is equivalent to our Option 1, but because that thought took place before, we can use the advantage of it and go straight to Option 1.

  6932. CHAIRMAN: Which House would this happen in? The first House or the second House?

  6933. MR CAMERON: The first House, my Lord, but the amendment only took place at the consideration stage and it was specifically stated in the debate that it did not involve a rehybridisation of the Bill.

  6934. As far as the merits are concerned I would like to just draw attention to one exhibit, and Mr Donovan will give evidence in a moment but if your Lordships would not mind going to page 40 of the exhibits, at page 40 you will see an extract from the Crossrail Business Case summary, September 2003, so this is when the line to Ebbsfleet was still in.[7]8 The areas marked in blue are described as regeneration areas so those are areas which deserve and are in need of action to achieve regeneration, and the Committee will see that by stopping the line at point 9, which is Abbey Wood, a very large proportion of the regeneration areas which would otherwise have benefited from Crossrail will not benefit from Crossrail to the same extent. They will have some benefit because of the interchange at Abbey Wood, but by cutting it at point 9 the ability to benefit the Thames Gateway regeneration areas is removed, and pictorially one can see that almost half the regeneration areas are, therefore, cut out from the benefits that would otherwise have been derived from Crossrail, and you will see on the right hand side of the page the estimate of jobs that would result in key regeneration areas directly served by the route, 56,000 to 110,000 jobs. That will no longer be the case.

  6935. My Lord, I do not say anything else on the benefits for the moment because, unless I can assist the Committee any further, what I would intend to do is call Mr Donovan, who can deal with the regeneration and other benefits.

  6936. CHAIRMAN: Yes. I think he will have to deal with it fairly briefly.

  6937. MR CAMERON: My Lord, yes. I hope we will be able to skip through the bundle, having been given that guidance.

  6938. CHAIRMAN: Very well. Was this matter discussed in the House of Commons?

  6939. MR CAMERON: Yes, my Lord.

7   8 Committee Ref: A35, Benefits of Crossrail 1(BEXYLB-44_05A-040) Back

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