Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 7400 - 7419)

  7400. CHAIRMAN: I think we have had enough difficulty about deciding what is the principle of the Bill in this case!

  7401. MS LIEVEN: Yes, but what is absolutely clear in a hybrid bill process is that people cannot come before the Committee and say: "Don't build Crossrail".

  7402. CHAIRMAN: But they can say: "Don't build it here", in the first House.

  7403. MS LIEVEN: Yes, but a distinction between that situation and a TWA is that it is open to the Secretary of State on a TWA, even under section 9, to reject the TWA, and it is open to the Inspector to recommend that the Secretary of State reject the TWA, so it is quite difficult to see quite what section 9 does but it clearly does give more weight and makes it more difficult for the Inspector to recommend refusal, and it therefore stacks the balance against anybody who would want to argue that. So if, for example, you are a landowner who has a very high aspiration for development which will be stopped by the proposal, then it is going to be much more difficult for you to put your case. I put it like that.

  7404. LORD YOUNG OF NORWOOD GREEN: You argued earlier on in your first submission on this that there was a real significance in that procedure where it refers to proposals of national significance. I was then a bit swayed by Mr Cameron's view that it was just procedural, but now I look and I realise, in fact, that when you go to page 10 you are operating under a scheme of national significance.[60]61

  7405. MS LIEVEN: Absolutely, my Lord. It is clearly intended that proposals which came under section 9 had been considered by the Secretary of State to be of national significance. That is section 9(1). What Mr Cameron is saying to you is: "Well, don't worry too much because we accept this is not national significance, but it is deemed to be of national significance and that is all we are asking".

  7406. Well, I accept that as a legality but, in my submission, this Committee should not be accepting something to be deemed of national significance if they are clearly of the view that it is not of national significance. I am not saying that legally you cannot do it, I suspect you could do it, but, in my submission, you have to be satisfied on the evidence that it is an appropriate thing to do, and there is no doubt that the powers in section 9 were brought in for that very special case.

  7407. Mr Taylor, who knows more about this than me, says that it was brought in after the Terminal 5 inquiry and one can clearly see in cases such as that there might be an argument about national significance, but in my submission an extension from Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet plainly does not meet that test, and it is the test that this Committee should be applying.

  7408. LORD YOUNG OF NORWOOD GREEN: May I just ask one more supplementary? If you did not go down the section 9 route, is section 6 an alternative route? I am just not clear.

  7409. MS LIEVEN: I think section 6, as I understand it, is the normal TWA route.[61]62 I ought to know this because I have promoted many TWAs, but that is how you make your normal TWA.

  7410. LORD YOUNG OF NORWOOD GREEN: Where something is not of national significance?

  7411. MS LIEVEN: Where something is not of national significance, or it might be but nobody might have bothered to go down a section 9 route. So if you go to section 9 for a second, please, you can see what it says is: "This section applies where an application made under section 6 above relates (wholly or in part) to proposals which in the opinion of the Secretary of State are of national significance". So if you want to make your section 6 ordinary application but you want to give it an extra push because you say it is of national significance, then you seek to put it under section 9.


  7413. CHAIRMAN: Mr Cameron, I think you must be allowed a comment on all of that.

  7414. MR CAMERON: I am very grateful.

  7415. My Lord, it is curious that the Secretary of State promotes the Crossrail project as a whole as a hybrid bill seeking to get the principle established and then to debate the details, and then objects to a similar approach—I am not saying it is the same approach but a similar approach—being adopted for an extension which the Secretary of State acknowledges has public benefit and which the Secretary of State acknowledges has such sufficient public benefit to merit safeguarding. That is the first comment I make in response to that.

  7416. On the details, my Lord, the effect of section 9 and the amendments we are seeking, described before by Lady Fookes as deeming to be of national significance, I have already dealt with that point, but subsection (5) on page 11 is the effect of it: "An order made on the application shall not include any provision that is inconsistent with a proposal approved by a resolution in accordance with this section", so what would happen would be a resolution was put before both Houses of Parliament which could set out, for example, the starting and finishing points, and, my Lord, in the Stratford case that is exactly what happened, specific provisions were referred to in the resolution, and, in fact, I have the resolution here: "The construction, maintenance and operation in the London Borough of Hackney and Newham of a station at Stratford for international domestic services and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link with vehicular parking and other facilities in connection therewith, railways comprising", and then the railways are specified, and there was a debate in the House of Commons—I do not have the record for the House of Lords—in which one of the members of the Committee, I think Lord Snape, participated in his former role, and I take that as an example.[62]63

  7417. So there is an opportunity to debate the terms of the resolution and the terms of the resolution are set, so it could say "from Abbey Wood to Gravesend" or Hoo or wherever, that would be set, and then at the Transport and Works Act stage inquiry it is open to the Secretary of State to reject the Order but it is not open to the Secretary of State to include any provision which would be inconsistent with the resolution. So the purpose of this amendment would be to assist the Secretary of State in achieving something which she says is desirable. Although Ms Lieven, on behalf of the Secretary of State, speaks about the difficulties for landowners, landowners would be protected, first, by the resolution and, secondly, by the procedure itself.

  7418. CHAIRMAN: Conversely, they could not object to the principle.

  7419. MR CAMERON: They could not object to any proposal approved by a resolution.

The Petition of Mr Roy Carrier

60   61 Committee Ref: A35, Options for Select Committee (8) (BEXYLB-44_05A-010) Back

61   62 Committee Ref: A35, Options for Select Committee (6) (BEXYLB-44_05A-008) Back

62   63 Committee Ref: A35, Options for Select Committee (8) (BEXYLB-44_05A-010) Back

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