83: Losing Track? Keeping Track
It is already over 18 months since the HS2 Bill was introduced and it has not yet reached the half way mark.
When a Bill takes over 3 years to be passed by Parliament, it is easy to lose track of its progress. Here is a recap.
- In May 2014, 1,918 petitions against the Bill were filed by parties seeking changes to the project, protection from it or a remedy for its impact.
- Since June 2014, a select committee of 6 MPs has been hearing the cases presented by the petitioners, taking them in a mainly geographical order from north to south.
- On 26 March 2015, the committee published an interim report. It included some decisions and recommendations. Many more are still to be made.
- By their adjournment for the General Election in May 2015, the select committee had reached Buckinghamshire.
- Following the election, the Bill was re-introduced in Parliament. It continues where it left off in the previous Parliament. One member of the committee, Michael Thornton (LibDem) lost his seat. The remaining 5 members continue in office.
- The committee resumed its work on 8 June 2015. London local authorities are expected to be heard in early July before the committee reverse direction to hear before the summer recess the case of extended tunnelling in the Chilterns.
The Government has prepared many changes to the scheme, in the form of over 120 amendments to the Bill. If any of them has an adverse effect on your property or interests, you will be formally notified by HS2. You will have a new opportunity to petition against the Bill. The deadline for this will be known shortly.
A petition is not simply a standard document which you can copy and sign. If it is drawn up properly, it will give you a vital foot in the door so that you can then negotiate with HS2.
If you have already petitioned but have not yet been heard by the committee, the time for reaching agreement is now accelerating fast, depending on where you stand in the committee’s batting order.
Presenting your case to the committee is a last resort. It means that you haven’t managed to reach agreement and so you seek your remedy from the committee instead. It is better to reach agreement if you possibly can.
22 June 2015