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Channel Tunnel Rail Link

Volume 227: debated on Monday 28 June 1993

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will visit Thurrock to meet householders and representatives of industry affected by the alteration in the proposed line of route for the channel tunnel link which he announced in March.

Union Railways is taking the lead in a full public consultation process on the channel tunnel rail link, including in Thurrock. A report will be prepared when consultation has been completed and so the Government will be properly informed on local opinion in reaching final decisions on the route.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the next Union Railways report on the channel tunnel rail link consultation will be published; and if he proposes to publish it in full.

At the end of October Union Railways will submit a report to the Government on the options for refining the rail link identified during public consultation. Decisions will then be reached and most of the report will be published, but excluding commercially confidential material.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the railway inspectorate started work in examining the possible safety risks concerning the channel tunnel rail link running at high speeds through residential areas of the London borough of Barking and Dagenham.

Discussions have already taken place between British Rail and the Health and Safety Executive's HM railway inspectorate about the various safety issues relating to the channel tunnel rail link. The assessment of safety risks for the route proposed by Union Railways is being carried out in a structured fashion. Union Railways intends to maintain a programme of discussions with the inspectorate and other authorities and is expected to present a safety case at key stages of the development of the project.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria were applied to the compensation and purchase schemes in respect of the channel tunnel rail link in (a) Kent and (b) the London borough of Barking and Dagenham; and what reasons underlie the differences in the criteria in (a) and (b).

The proposed arrangements for the route of the rail link as a whole are set out in the paper "DOT—Paper for the High Level Forum: Property Purchase and Compensation Policy". Copies have been placed in the Library and I also sent one to the hon. Member. Earlier purchase schemes, which covered broader zones, were applied to Kent and the then affected part of London—mainly Peckham. The reasons for the proposed change in coverage are explained in the paper.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if a full environmental impact assessment has been carried out on the proposed channel tunnel rail link; and if he will make a statement.

Environmental appraisal is a continuing process throughout the development of the project. The results of the most recent stage in the process are described in the appendix "The Union Railway and the Environment" to the Union Railways' March 1993 report. Additonal appraisal is being undertaken which will enable the environmental statement to be produced, in accordance with standing orders, when statutory approval for the project is sought.