Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 8960 - 8979)

  8960. They are improvements which are required by the rail freight industry whether or not Crossrail happens.

   (Mr Cann) They are committed to, regardless of Crossrail or not.

  8961. Capacity improvements are required, according to the freight industry, and are being actioned quite independently of the issue of the Crossrail Bill.

   (Mr Cann) That is true.

  8962. You have committed to upgrading Felixstowe to Peterborough. Do I understand that?

   (Mr Cann) No.

  8963. What was the position that you committed yourselves to then?

   (Mr Cann) There are a number of different capacity improvements and gauge enhancements in that area, but we are not committed to any overall improvement of the Felixstowe to Peterborough routes. There are various different schemes promoted by various different bodies.

  8964. So what is it you were telling the Committee was committed in that event?

   (Mr Cann) The largest part is £48 million worth of works on the Felixstowe branch line, which is a six kilometre dualling, and in the construction of three extra roads in the Ipswich yard. That is the largest part. What there also are, and this is the majority of the remainder of the money, are 13 gauge enhancements from Ipswich to Doncaster.

  8965. They are being paid for by whom?

   (Mr Cann) By Hutchison Ports UK.

  8966. Who is paying for Gospel Oak to Barking.

   (Mr Cann) I think that is coming out of the TIF fund.

  8967. So you are not being required to pay that?

   (Mr Cann) No.

  8968. There are two groups of improvements that you have identified, both of which are required in any event, regardless of Crossrail.

   (Mr Cann) I agree.

  8969. So far as your planning permission is concerned for your port expansion, you say you have to be committed by 2014.

   (Mr Cann) I think the backstop date is the end of 2014.

  8970. That allows you to make a decision as to whether or not to proceed over a period of time; you do not have to make a decision now.

   (Mr Cann) In practice that is not the case because, of course, in order to get constructions moving you need to work several years ahead.

  8971. That is true. What was the timescale allowed for by the planning permission? Was that granted 18 months ago?

   (Mr Cann) It was about 18 months ago. The original planning permission was five years. That planning permission was varied.

  8972. To ten years.

   (Mr Cann) No, it was varied to include a backstop date.

  8973. When you say you are committed, the planning permission, in fact, despite what you said, allows you actually not to do anything at all, if you decided—

   (Mr Cann) If we decided not to build our port, yes.

  8974. If the growth was not there you do not have to do the work.

   (Mr Cann) If we decided not to build our port and not operate it, yes.

  8975. So you do have the flexibility in economic terms if you have to address it.

   (Mr Cann) If we did not want to build the railway we would not build the port and operate it.

  8976. Yes. Coming to the ORR, you appeared with two of your colleagues at the hearing on 1 February.

   (Mr Cann) No, I did not appear. I was present.

  8977. I am sorry, that is a subtlety that is beyond me, Mr Cann. You were present at the hearing of the ORR; you are recorded as being there with two of your colleagues. You had the opportunity to put forward any case you wished to make on the issues that were being considered.

   (Mr Cann) We put forward our case in written submissions.

  8978. Including freight growth and capacity issues with regard to Crossrail.

   (Mr Cann) Yes.

  8979. We have seen what the ORR said in the provisional decision already. Hutchison Ports wrote on 19 March in response to the provisional decision.

   (Mr Cann) Yes.

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