Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 8940 - 8959)

  8940. LORD SNAPE: My Lord Chairman, are we going to have a debate on the economic policy under this or any future government, or shall we talk about the matters before us?

  8941. LORD JAMES OF BLACKHEATH: We are having a debate about the feasibility of what this plan is.

  8942. LORD SNAPE: With respect, that is not in the Bill, is it?

  8943. LORD JAMES OF BLACKHEATH: It is not in the Bill but it is also underlying what is actually being said here. I am just trying, legitimately, to see what the philosophy has been that has gone into the construction of these assumptions. It is a big plan they have; I am entitled to ask. I have no more questions on it.

  8944. CHAIRMAN: Just before we leave this, I have another, different point. The money that you are committing to the rail network, is this going to include any of the gauge improvements?

   (Mr Cann) Yes, it does. There are gauge improvements up to Peterborough from Felixstowe.

  8945. The Peterborough-Nuneaton?

   (Mr Cann) From Felixstowe to Peterborough, my Lord.

  8946. LORD BROOKE OF ALVERTHORPE: Have you drawn up a list of all the improvements you are going to make, or will you retain some flexibility?

   (Mr Cann) Thank you for asking that question. There is no flexibility whatsoever. Our commitments are 100 per cent. We did not get planning permission by making vague promises. Our planning permission is based upon making firm, costed and funded commitments.

  8947. So I can give a little weight to Lord James's point. Are you saying that you really are committed to precise uplifts and you would not vary, in the light of experience, all routes.

   (Mr Cann) That is 100 per cent true, my Lord, and I can show you the drawings of the things that we are currently building, will be building and are actually in the process of being designed with Network Rail. It is 100 per cent committed to.

  8948. LORD BERKELEY: Is this not a further commitment to the planning authority that you have to do this and demonstrate that you have done it before you can actually sign it all off?

   (Mr Cann) Yes.

  8949. That is the difference.

   (Mr Cann) Yes. The difference is—and this is one of our criticisms of the Crossrail Bill—that Crossrail are saying they may do some infrastructure improvements. That was not good enough for our developments; that was not good enough for our competitors' developments. The various local authorities, various agencies and the Strategic Rail Authority before the DfT required us absolutely to give the commitment to what we would do, and we would expect no less. That is what we have done.

  8950. You have a schedule of all the works, as part of the section 106 agreement, that you have to stick to. Is that right?

   (Mr Cann) Yes.

  8951. LORD BROOKE OF ALVERTHORPE: When does this take place? What is the timescale?

   (Mr Cann) There are various commitments but the vast bulk of the works, which is the £48 million tranche of works, will be committed by 2014, and there is actually a backstop date within the section 106 commitment which says we cannot, in effect, operate our port without doing those works.

  8952. CHAIRMAN: I think the sanctions as between these requirements by the local planning authorities and what can be done on infrastructure on the railway are very different because the planning authorities, presumably, are relying on section 106 agreements, which would have to be enforced by the courts, whereas the infrastructure you were talking about earlier is enforced by the ORR simply saying: "You are not going to get an access option".

   (Mr Cann) My Lord Chairman, I am not an expert on the role of the ORR. What I do understand, however, is that it is in your gift, in effect, in your deliberations here to take a view as to what you think is appropriate. The ORR is not making its decisions for you. In a sense, I would say, you are making the decisions for the ORR. There are two parallel processes going on here, both of which have to be gone through. The ORR process has been gone through and your process is now being gone through. The ORR, as I understand it, shares out the capacity; you can decide to increase that capacity or mitigate the effect that we say Crossrail is going to make.

  8953. LORD BERKELEY: Would you have been happy if you had the same conditions applied to you as Crossrail are arguing for, saying: "We will guarantee we will give you so much extra traffic as an option agreement but we will decide later and agree with you later what enhancements may be necessary to achieve that"?

   (Mr Cann) My shareholder would have been delighted.

  8954. You would probably have saved quite a lot of money.

   (Mr Cann) At the moment I say to my shareholder: "We are committed to £130 million of rail works" and if that had been the case I could say: "We are committed to up to £130 million of rail works, but potentially very little at all".

  8955. Mr Cann, I think we will go very quickly through the last slide, which is number 13, showing where these container trains will go, because it is relevant to the fact that I believe some of them go on the Great Eastern.[25] Can you just explain this slide?

  (Mr Cann) You will hear evidence later that will give a lot more detail about what is going on in London and our concerns there. What this slide is here to demonstrate is—for those that are not aware—how much of the traffic from the Haven port is actually going through London. For example, if you take the 2014 figure—and that is, again, a figure that was presented at the FSR public inquiry that has been accepted—it said that eight trains from 2014 will be going via the East Coast main line and 23 via the West Coast main line; they would have to go through London. It is just really to give you an overview of where the issue is, and the issue, at the moment, is that the majority of our trains go through London. As far as the evidence that was accepted at our public inquiry is concerned, that will continue.

  8956. Could you just explain, finally, if for any reason this growth in rail freight traffic does not occur, how many extra lorries will be on the roads leading to Felixstowe, Tilbury and Thames Gateway?

   (Mr Cann) You will forgive me if I cannot give you an exact answer, but the total at the bottom there of 83 trains per day would equate to approximately 5,000 lorry movements a day on the A12, A13, A14 and then moving on to the other routes.

  8957. LORD BERKELEY: Thank you, Mr Cann. I have no further questions.

Cross-examined by MR ELVIN

  8958. MR ELVIN: Mr Cann, Gospel Oak to Barking—those improvements are already sanctioned, are they not?

   (Mr Cann) I understand they are committed.

  8959. They are required, as I understand it, whether Crossrail goes ahead or not. The TIF was announced, I think, while we were in the House of Commons Select Committee.

   (Mr Cann) They have been committed to, regardless of Crossrail.

25   Committee Ref: A52, Container Trains on or across GEML (LINEWD-34_05-013) Back

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