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Lords High Speed Rail (West Midlands-Crewe) Bill Committee publishes report

Monday 19 October 2020

Today the House of Lords Select Committee on the High Speed Rail (West Midlands–Crewe) Bill published its final report.

This bill, which is a hybrid bill, confers legislative powers for the construction of Phase 2a of the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail network, running between Fradley in the West Midlands and Crewe.

Hybrid bills give effect to government policy, but they can also adversely affect the private interests of individuals. Those individuals have the right to petition the House of Lords to seek changes to the scheme enabled by the bill.

The petitioning period ran from 17 July to 16 August 2019 and the Committee was appointed in March 2020 to consider those petitions against the bill.

It had been anticipated that this stage would take place in autumn 2019, but progress was delayed by the prorogation and general election. After the Committee was appointed, COVID-19 prevented it from holding more than a handful of sessions until July.

Between July and September 2020 the Committee heard 18 petitions, sitting either fully virtually or in hybrid, with some participants present in Westminster and others remote.

The report gives a full account of each of those hearings.

Some matters have been resolved without the Committee needing to make any recommendations, and in some cases the Committee did not feel it was appropriate to make recommendations. However, the Committee has proposed that the Government, or High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd, the company responsible for developing and promoting the UK’s new high speed rail network, take action in certain cases – these can be seen in Chapter 7 of the report.

Lord Hope of Craighead, Chair of the High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill Select Committee, said:

“Despite unavoidable delays caused by the prorogation, general election and the impact of COVID-19, the Committee gave petitioners the opportunity to have their say, and in some cases we were able to provide solutions to their problems.”

The bill will now continue its progress through the House. The next stage is recommitment, where any member of the House can debate, and propose amendments to, the bill.

 

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