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Business of the House

Volume 573: debated on Monday 6 January 2014

The following is the answer given by the Leader of the House of Commons, the right hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire (Mr Lansley) to the right hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mrs Gillan) during Business of the House on 19 December 2013.

I have spoken to the Leader of the House on several occasions about my concerns over the environmental statement on HS2 that has been issued by the Department for Transport. The fact that it is tens of thousands of pages long is putting great strain on our environmental organisations, because the Department has given them only eight weeks over the Christmas period in which to respond to it. Furthermore, the memory sticks containing those tens of thousands of pages had to be recalled because of omissions and errors, and new ones had to be issued. Will the Leader of the House allow a debate on the possibility of extending the consultation period immediately?

I know how assiduously my right hon. Friend is pursuing the interests of her constituents in relation to this matter. I am not in a position to extend the period as she requests, not least because the 56-day consultation period for the environmental statement that precedes the production of a report by the person appointed by the House was determined not by the Department for Transport but by the House, by means of orders made in June relating to changes in the Standing Orders covering hybrid Bills.

[Official Report, 19 December 2013, Vol. 572, c. 898.]

Letter of correction from Mr Lansley:

An error has been identified in the answer given to the right hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mrs Gillan).

The correct response should have been:

I know how assiduously my right hon. Friend is pursuing the interests of her constituents in relation to this matter. I am not in a position to extend the period as she requests. The minimum 56-day consultation period for the environmental statement that precedes the production of a report by the person appointed by the House was determined by the House, by means of orders made in June relating to changes in the Standing Orders covering hybrid Bills.