Examination of Witnesses (Questions 7300
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
(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?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
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 thisI 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