Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 8780 - 8799)

  8780. They do not, do they? You have not seen anything in them which, if you delete the clauses that we have said are going to be deleted, specifically provides for an amendment to the Schedule 4 powers.

   (Mr Bennett): No.

  8781. They will not allow an arbitrator to override the ORR and amend the access option, will they?

   (Mr Bennett): No.

  8782. So they cannot interfere with the terms imposed on the access option imposed by the ORR?

   (Mr Bennett): Thank you for that clarification.

  8783. MR ELVIN: That is what the Minister said at the Third Reading, I believe. Do you therefore accept my proposition—and I will sit down once you have accepted it!—that you are asking this Committee now to depart from those very industry processes which you have urged on this Committee and the Committee in the other Place is the proper way to deal with this matter. Do you agree with that? I am right, are not I? Please say "Yes".

  8784. LORD SNAPE: Is that not known as leading the witness?

  8785. MR ELVIN: I am allowed to lead in cross-examination.

  8786. CHAIRMAN: It is Lord Berkeley who cannot and he has been doing it copiously throughout!

  8787. MR ELVIN: My Lord, I was too polite to mention it! Mr Bennett, it is right, that this is a point at which in fact you are asking the Committee to actually do something outside those industry practices?

   (Mr Bennett) We are looking for specific commitments.

  8788. MR ELVIN: Would you say yes to my question?

  8789. CHAIRMAN: Well, are we able to do that?

  8790. MR ELVIN: My Lord, I am going to make submissions that it would be difficult to do so because, without an amendment to the Bill, taking out the powers that we are proposing to take out at the public bill stage, there will be no power to direct any change in the access option.

  8791. CHAIRMAN: Well, I think you will have to tell us what you think our powers are.

  8792. MR ELVIN: I will do so.

   (Mr Bennett) In which case, may I say yes.

  8793. MR ELVIN: Mr Bennett, that is very fair and thank you very much.

Re-examined by LORD BERKELEY

  8794. LORD BERKELEY: If I could just clarify one point, would you agree that in fact what you and other Petitioners are looking for on this particular issue is not to remove industry processes because you and other Petitioners have accepted it, but it is to have a second line of defence, if you like, because of the uncertainties, and I will be asking other witnesses later this afternoon—

  8795. CHAIRMAN: That really is a leading question and you are not allowed to do that in re-examination.

   (Mr Bennett) With respect, my Lord Chairman, he does not need to lead. The whole thrust of what I have been trying to say, and, I have to say, I was not expecting to respond on these issues, was that we are looking for the protection of normal industry processes in circumstances where we have perceived there to be some risk as to their applicability. Now, if the exchanges with Mr Elvin have clarified that, that has been helpful.

  8796. CHAIRMAN: Well, I am not sure that it has. I still have other members of the Committee who want to ask questions.


  8797. LORD JAMES OF BLACKHEATH: I am going to say to you, Mr Bennett, that for the last hour and a half I think what we have listened to is a presentation aimed at achieving a lot of what we would call "nice-to-have things" which you might get opportunistically on the back of Crossrail, but which have actually got no variation from the normal commercial decisions of an investment policy to run any business in this land.

   (Mr Bennett) My Lord, no, we are looking for the security to run that business that we would have been able to run under normal circumstances without the Crossrail project, and indeed that is the whole basis. I think there would be no dispute with the Promoters of the Crossrail Bill. As Mr Elvin said, it is not a Bill to provide a general increase in capacity for the rail industry. The Promoters have, in fairness, said that what we will seek to do is to provide the rail capacity for freight equivalent to that which would have been available without their project.

  8798. LORD JAMES OF BLACKHEATH: In that case, Lord Berkeley, if that is the case, I think that the continuation of this presentation by yourself would be of great benefit to everybody's advantage if we were to be allowed to have concentration on the issues which matter in the definition that Mr Bennett has just given us and not lose them in the thickness and undergrowth which we have been swamped with for the last hour and a half on issues for which you do not appear to have an application.

  8799. LORD BERKELEY: I am very grateful for that clarification. Maybe we can look at that in this afternoon's evidence more than if we carry on now.

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