COMMONS

Petitioning against the Bill

What is a petition?

A petition against an additional provision to the High Speed Rail (West Midlands – Crewe) Bill is different to an e-petition  or a public petition (a paper headed “we the undersigned …” followed by many signatures). It is a document outlining how the additional provision affects a person, group or organisation and how they believe it should be altered to meet their objections.

Who may petition?

Any individual, group of individuals, organisation or business specially and directly affected by the additional provision can petition against it. Local authorities and MPs may also petition against additional provisions. However, if the Secretary of State for Transport believes that a petitioner is not specially and directly affected, they may object to the petitioner being heard by the select committee.

Individuals or organisations affected by the Bill, but not affected by the additional provision, do not have the right to be heard by the select committee in relation to the additional provision. This also applies where a petitioner asks for something that is not included in the additional provision.

Can I petition against the provisions of the Bill as originally presented?

No. You can only petition against the proposals included in the additional provision.

Can I petition against the Supplementary Environmental Statement published at the same time as the additional provision?

No. The Supplementary Environmental Statement (SES) is not part of the additional provision and although the additional provision Environmental Statement and the SES are both subject to consultation, there is no right to petition against an SES.

What should I put in my petition?

Your petition should:

  • Say who you, the petitioner(s), are and where you live (or what your business is and where its premises are if it is your business which is affected). If you are petitioning as a group or organisation, the petition should also mention what the group or organisation does and the size of its membership;
  • Describe how you are specially and directly affected by the additional provision, and explain how the additional provision, will particularly harm you; and
  • State what should be done to reduce the adverse effects the additional provision has on you or your property or business and, if possible, how the Bill should be amended to achieve this.

Remember, your petition forms the basis of your case to the select committee, so it must include all the objections which you wish to raise. Matters can only be raised in committee if they are referred to in the original petition. You do not need to go into your objections in great detail; it is fine to outline them briefly.

The petition template is available at the back of this document.

Can I include pictures and photos in my petition?

No. Your petition is just a summary so do not include anything other than text. The appropriate place for photos etc. is in your evidence to the committee.

When can I submit my petition?

You must submit your petition during the petitioning period, which opens on Thursday 29 March and runs to 1 pm on Friday 27 April.

You cannot submit your petition before the petitioning period begins and you will not be able to do so after it ends.

How do I submit my petition?

When the petitioning period begins you will be able to submit your petition online through our website: www.parliament.uk/HS2-Phase2a-Committee . You will also be able to submit your petition by post, email and in person.

Is there a charge for petitioning?

Yes. You have to pay an administration fee of £20 for your petition to be considered by the committee. This is a flat fee for each petition (not for each petitioner). When you submit your petition online you will receive an email telling you how to make the payment by bank transfer. If you submit your petition in person or by post you can give or send us a cheque (made payable to HOC Administration 2) or cash, or make a bank transfer.

Note that a petition will not be considered by the committee if the fee has not been received.

If you already submitted a petition against the Bill in February, then you do not have to pay again. Please indicate this on your petition and include your original petition number. However, you will have to pay a £20 fee if you wish to petition when the Bill reaches the House of Lords.

Can you check my petition for me?

Yes. If you send a draft of your petition to us in advance we will check it to ensure that the form of your petition is correct. We cannot comment on your arguments though as those are a matter for your own judgement.

Can I withdraw my petition after submitting it?

Yes. You may withdraw your petition if you wish to do so at any time by emailing or writing to us. If you are not the only petitioner on your petition, you or any of the other petitioners may withdraw from the petition in the same way, leaving the remaining petitioners to continue with their case.