Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 7300 - 7319)

  7300. And, is this right, the extension to Ebbsfleet was included on the basis that it was value for money, had transport benefits, and had socio-economic benefits, am I right?

   (Mr Berryman) Yes, that is correct.

  7301. And at the time the scheme was promoted in 2004, for all those reasons, the Mayor's Transport Strategy published in 2001 had other proposals which no doubt you took into account, is that right as well?

   (Mr Berryman) Yes, that is correct. Certainly some of them, yes.

  7302. So, for example, the transit schemes included in the Mayor's 2001 Strategy would have been taken into account in reaching the decision to include the line to Ebbsfleet up to and including 2004?

   (Mr Berryman) Yes. From memory I think that is correct, yes.

  7303. Now, you are now consulting on safeguarding for the four-track section east of Abbey Wood, and you have explained precisely where the four track is?

   (Mr Berryman) Yes, that is correct.

  7304. And the purpose of consulting on that safeguarding is to enable a future scheme to be brought forward to that section of route, is that right?

   (Mr Berryman) Absolutely right, yes.

  7305. And in promoting safeguarding, the Department, is this right, must be of the view that any blight caused by safeguarding is outweighed by the public benefit of being able to promote a scheme in the future, is that right?
  (Mr Berryman) That is correct, yes, although obviously we always try to ensure that the way we administer safeguarding, and I can write a book on this subject if needed, attempts to minimise blight for third parties.

  7306. Yes, but the Department would only be promoting safeguarding if it considered that there was public benefit in the scheme which could go ahead on the safeguarded route?

   (Mr Berryman) Yes. Absolutely right, yes.

  7307. So there is no difference between us, is there, that there is a public benefit to be derived from extending the route east, whether to Ebbsfleet or Gravesend?

   (Mr Berryman) No, I think there is no doubt at all that there is a benefit from doing that. It is how that ranks with other transport schemes for investment made by the Government which is the area of uncertainty, I think.

  7308. And if that scheme was to go ahead east of Abbey Wood you envisage it to be promoted by a Transport and Works Act Order?

   (Mr Berryman) At the moment it would be, certainly. There is new planning legislation in the offing which may make a difference to that, but certainly under the current situation it would be a Transport and Works Act Order.

  7309. You are referring to the Planning Bill and that, of course, has not been enacted yet?

   (Mr Berryman) That is correct.

  7310. And as far as the decision to, if I can put it this way, drop the line east of Abbey Wood, the published reason for that, and I summarise it, is service unreliability, is it not?

   (Mr Berryman) Yes, that is right.

  7311. But that, there is no difference between us, is capable of being overcome by four tracking, and that is why you are promoting the new safeguarding?

   (Mr Berryman) That is correct, yes. Of course, the scheme that was being promoted in 2002 assumed minimum works to the tracks beyond Abbey Wood and that is a different situation to that which we now expect to eventuate, that more works would be needed for that area.

  7312. And in terms of the benefit:cost ratio, without going into details, there is broad agreement that the line east of Abbey Wood would achieve a benefit:cost ratio at least as good and probably better than the line taken as a whole, is that right?

   (Mr Berryman) Yes, that is right. I would not say probably better but certainly in the same range.

  7313. Can we then turn to the option put forward by Bexley, and I appreciate you are an engineer not a lawyer, but do you mind just turning to page 3 of the Bexley exhibits?[54]55 First, if this amendment was made, can you take it from me that it would not oblige the Promoter, the Secretary of State, to promote a Transport and Works Act Order? It does not require the Promoter to do it, does it?

  (Mr Berryman) It does not require the Promoter to do it but, as you rightly say, I am not a lawyer and I think perhaps the wording of this kind of thing is something which is perhaps dealt with by legal submission shortly.

  7314. Yes. Well, I get the hint with the "shortly", endorsed by everybody! But can I just ask you this, and take it from me at the moment, that if such an amendment would cost the Secretary of State nothing, would not oblige the Secretary of State to take action but would facilitate action if the Secretary of State decided to take it, what is the disadvantage—

  7315. CHAIRMAN: I think, Mr Cameron, we are getting into submissions. It does not sound to me as though it is the sort of question Mr Berryman can answer.

  7316. MR CAMERON: Can I try in a different way?

  7317. CHAIRMAN: Do.

  7318. MR CAMERON: If the Promoter sees merit and benefit in extending east, which you have told the Committee she does, what is the disadvantage of having a mechanism in place to achieve that desirable end?
  (Mr Berryman) No doubt Ms Lieven will cover this in her submissions but I would have said from a purely practical point of view there is nothing to stop a Transport Works Order being brought forward at any time. An amendment like this—I am not clear what it adds to the story. You would still have to raise a Transport and Works Act Order and you would still have to if this amendment was in place. I am just not sure what good it does you.

  7319. CHAIRMAN: Mr Cameron, I do not see how it puts anything in place because it starts with "if".

54   55 Committee Ref: A35, Option 1-Recommend TWA Order plus amendment which designates scheme as scheme of national significance (BEXYLB-44_05A-003) Back

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