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House of Commons Hansard
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High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill
23 March 2016
Volume 607

[Relevant documents: Ninth Report from the Transport Committee, Session 2013-14, High speed rail: on track?, HC 851, and the Government Response, HC 1085; Oral evidence taken before the Transport Committee on 25 March 2014, High speed rail: update, HC 1193; Oral evidence taken before the Transport Committee on 17 November 2014, on HS2: update, HC 793; Sixth Report of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Follow up to PHSO Report of an investigation into a complaint about HS2 Ltd, HC 793; Second Special Report from the Select Committee on the High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill, High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill, HC 129; First Special Report from the Select Committee on the High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill, High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill, HC 698; First Special Report of Session 2014-15 from the Select Committee on the High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill, High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill, HC 338.]

Consideration of Bill, as amended in the Select Committee, not amended in the Public Bill Committee

New Clause 19

Vocational qualifications

‘(1) The Secretary of State must prepare a report on vocational qualifications obtained in each financial year in connection with HS2 construction.

(2) Each such report must contain an account of vocational qualifications gained by individuals employed in constructing the network referred to in section 1(1), in preparing for such construction, and in connected and ancillary activities, broken down by type of qualification and activity.

(3) Each such report must contain an overall assessment of the costs of vocational training for relevant qualifications and by whom such costs were incurred.

(4) In this section, “financial year” means—

(a) the period beginning with the day on which this Act is passed and ending;

(b) each subsequent period of 12 months.

(5) The Secretary of State must lay each report under this section before Parliament as soon as is reasonably practicable after the end of the financial year to which it relates.”— (Mr Goodwill.)

Brought up, and read the First time.

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I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

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With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

New clause 1—Reimbursement of local authorities for expenses and lost business rate revenue resulting from HS2

‘(1) The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and the Secretary of State for Transport shall conduct an assessment of costs incurred by local authorities that arise directly and indirectly from the construction and future operation of HS2, including staff costs, and shall ensure that such additional funding as is required to reimburse local authorities for those costs is made available.

(2) To the extent that such additional funding is not made available through service level agreements, the Secretary of State for Transport shall make the additional funding available through other means of local authority funding within six months of the end of the relevant financial year.

(3) The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government shall appoint an independent auditor to assess the extent of any shortfall in local authority revenue attributable to closure of or movement of businesses and consequential diminution in business rates.

(4) The Secretary of State for Transport shall establish a mechanism whereby any such shortfall shall be made good within six months of the end of the relevant financial year.’

This new clause is intended to give statutory enforceability to the Department for Transport’s intention to reimburse local authorities for costs consequential on the construction of HS2, and to ensure that there is compensation for lost business rate revenue.

New clause 2—Reimbursement of local authorities for damage to highways resulting from HS2 construction

‘The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and the Secretary of State for Transport shall conduct six-monthly assessments of the amounts required to repair and make good highways in each county following construction of HS2 Phase One, and shall ensure that such additional funding as is required to meet those amounts is made available to local authorities.’

This new clause is intended to give statutory enforceability to the Department for Transport’s intention to reimburse local authorities for highways repair costs consequential on the construction of HS2.

New clause 3—Amount of funds allocated to the Business and Local Economy Fund and Community and Environments Fund

‘The Secretary of State for Transport shall allocate a sum of £150,000,000 to the funds established to support business and local economy and community and environment initiatives to mitigate and address the effects of HS2 construction.’

This new clause is intended to increase the amounts allocated by the Department for Transport to the Business and Local Economy Fund and the Community and Environment Fund from £30m to £150m.

New clause 4—Compensation procedures

‘(1) The Secretary of State for Transport shall ensure that included within contested valuation procedures for claimants under statutory or discretionary HS2 compensation schemes are processes for valuation by a valuer with knowledge of local markets.

(2) The Secretary of State shall ensure that all compensation applications are acknowledged within a period of two weeks and responded to substantively within a period of ten weeks, failing which the application will be deemed accepted.’

This new clause is intended to insert procedures for valuation by local valuers in disputed compensation cases, and to seek to ensure timely responses to compensation applications.

New clause 20—Public Sector Operators

‘(1) Section 25 of the Railways Act 1993 (c. 43) (public-sector operators not to be franchisees) does not apply in relation to the franchisee in respect of a franchise agreement—

(a) which relates wholly or mainly to the provision of one or more Phase One of High Speed 2 passenger services, or

(b) which relates wholly or mainly to the provision of one or more other services for the carriage of passengers by railway where—

(i) the services run wholly or partly on the route of Phase One of High Speed 2, and

(ii) the services are likely to be subject to substantial disruption because of the construction of Phase One of High Speed 2.

(2) The following may in particular be taken into account in determining whether, for the purposes of subsection (1)(b), services are likely to be subject to substantial disruption—

(a) the frequency with which the services are likely to be disrupted,

(b) the duration of the period in which the services are likely to be disrupted (and, in particular, its duration relative to the length of the franchise term),

(c) the severity of any likely disruption.

(3) In this section—

“franchisee”, “franchise agreement” and “franchise term” have the meanings given by section 23 of the Railways Act 1993 (designated passenger services to be provided under franchise agreements).’

New clause 21—Financial Reports

‘(1) The Secretary of State must prepare a report on expenditure under this Act in relation to each financial year.

(2) Each report must contain details of—

(a) expenditure incurred during the financial year to which the report relates (with capital and resource expenditure specified separately in relation to construction and other activity under this Act and in respect of each head of expenditure referred to in section 1(4)(a) to (c) of the High Speed Rail (Preparation) Act 2013);

(b) the extent to which expenditure incurred during that year represents an overspend or underspend as against the budget for such expenditure for the year;

(c) the likely effect of any such overspend or underspend on a total budget of £55.7 billion in 2015 prices (which includes construction and the cost of rolling stock);

(d) total expenditure incurred under section 67 up to the end of that year;

(e) sums or assets received in that year in connection with expenditure incurred under this Act, including in relation to section 48.

(3) In this section, “financial year” means—

(a) the period beginning with the day on which this Act is passed and ending;

(b) each subsequent period of 12 months.

(4) The Secretary of State must lay each report under this section before Parliament as soon as is reasonably practicable after the end of the financial year to which it relates.’

New clause 26—Protection of business continuity by extended notice of entry in the case of vulnerable businesses

‘(1) If an operator of a business or undertaking believes that the business or undertaking’s continued operation or profitability would be vulnerable if inadequate notice is received of the planned exercise of powers under sections 4, 5, 6, 12 or 15 of this Act and the associated schedules, the operator may notify the Secretary of State of this belief.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), “inadequate notice” means a period of notice that would not provide a reasonable amount of time for the business or undertaking to relocate to a new premises and refit that premises to a reasonable standard before the exercise of the powers.

(3) Upon receipt of such notification, the Secretary of State must facilitate a dialogue with the operator in relation to timing and funding of business relocation, and required notice periods, and shall consider the reasons for the operator’s belief.

(4) Unless the dialogue provides a satisfactory resolution within three months of initial notification—

(a) a 12-month minimum notice period shall apply for the exercise of powers mentioned in subsection (1) in relation to the relevant business or undertaking; and

(b) the early compensation payable to the operator shall be 100%, not 90%, of the estimated relocation costs, and such compensation shall be payable in full, nine months before the anticipated relocation date notified by the operator.”

New clause 27—Report on classification of HS2 as England-only project

‘Within 3 months of this Act receiving Royal Assent, the Secretary of State must lay before both Houses of Parliament a report on—

(a) the classification of HS2 as an England-only project for the purposes of Treasury expenditure, and

(b) how much extra money Wales would receive in terms of Barnett consequential money as a result of such classification.’

This new clause would require the Secretary of State to produce a report on reclassifying HS2 as an England-only project for the purposes of calculating Treasury expenditure through the Barnett Formula and how much more money Wales would have received as a result.

New clause 30—Community detriment fund

‘(1) The Secretary of State must establish a community detriment fund.

(2) The community detriment fund will provide an additional source of funding to communities, supplemental to that available through the community and environment fund.

(3) The community detriment fund will be available to address adverse impacts of HS2 construction on communities, including but not limited to impaired accessibility, diminution in availability of community amenities, and physical effects of construction.

(4) A principal objective of the fund will be to remove the need for formal compensation claims and to provide an expedited means of claiming funding for detriment.

(5) The fund will be available only to address adverse effects on communities, not impacts on individual households, businesses or undertakings.

(6) Among the measures that may be considered as available for funding to address detriment shall be transport facilities such as shuttle services.’

New clause 32—Review of fairness of rural support zone compensation

‘The Secretary of State must conduct a review of the reasons for situating the boundary of the Rural Support Zone in west London which shall be laid before both House of Parliament within three months of this Bill receiving Royal Assent.’

New clause 33—Compensation

‘(1) Within three months of this Bill receiving Royal Assent, the Secretary of State shall lay before both Houses of Parliament a report responding to a review of compensation applicable to those affected by HS2 Phases One and Two which shall by then have reported in accordance with directions already issued.

(2) The review shall consider the following—

(a) whether a compensation framework based on a property bond system could be an equally or more effective means of compensating those affected by blight from HS2 construction and operation while maintaining a functioning property market, having due regard to demands on public expenditure and investment;

(b) whether the current rateable value limit for compensation and blight claims by owner-occupiers of business premises should be abolished or amended;

(c) whether loss payment ceilings are fair and appropriate;

(d) whether a higher proportion of advance compensation for relocation than the current 90% should be payable in certain instances;

(e) whether the time limits for claiming compensation where no land is taken should be re-evaluated;

(f) the position of those affected by blight caused by HS2 whose property is subject to mortgage and who may find themselves unable to remortgage or in a position of negative equity as a result of such blight;

(g) whether those considering a claim for compensation should receive advance payment of fees for professional advice.’

Amendment 15, in clause 48, page 18, line 8, after “considers” insert

“having regard to the relevant development plan,”.

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I must confess that I feel like a queue-jumper, because I added my name and the Government’s support to new clause 19 and amendment 15 only last night. I will be brief, because I know that the hon. Member for Middlesbrough (Andy McDonald) will want to expand on them and to explain why his case was so convincing and compelling. It is another example of how our new railway will be delivered not only on a cross-party basis in this House, but with the support of the great cities of the midlands and the north.

I welcome new clause 19 on vocational qualifications. I strongly believe in the importance of ensuring that we utilise the opportunities that HS2 will create for skills and jobs, which is why we have invested in the National College for High Speed Rail. New clause 19 will further bolster the importance of delivering skills as part of the development of HS2. As such, the Government support it becoming part of the Bill.

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I am grateful to the Minister for giving way, because I know that he needs to get on. Does he agree that it is important that the National Construction College and the Construction Industry Training Board are closely involved in this skills initiative?

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Indeed, I look forward to being in Doncaster soon with the right hon. Member for Doncaster Central (Dame Rosie Winterton), the Opposition Chief Whip, to cut the first sod in that project. It is important that we look at skills across the board. The college’s hub and spoke arrangement will enable other educational establishments to engage fully and will allow for other qualifications.

Similarly, I welcome amendment 15 from the Opposition. It relates to clause 48, the purpose of which is to ensure that the regeneration opportunities presented by HS2 are maximised in a timely manner. It is a backstop power and we expect that local authorities will lead such opportunities using their existing powers, but in the event that development is impeded we will have the ability to step in to ensure that development progresses. It is important that such development takes into account relevant development plans. I am grateful that the hon. Member for Nottingham South (Lilian Greenwood) tabled the amendment, and I urge all hon. and right hon. Members to support it.

Turning to the other proposed changes, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mrs Gillan) has proposed several new clauses and amendments. She has been a tireless advocate for her constituents affected by HS2. However, all her points have been considered before, at length, through the Select Committee process, parliamentary debates, and the many parliamentary questions she has asked my Department. The process has delivered clear benefits to her constituency, including a 2.6 km tunnel extension, meaning that almost 86% of the route in her constituency is tunnelled, with the rest in a cutting. Her constituency has also benefited from the removal of an area of sustainable placement at Hunts Green and more noise barriers along that cutting. I acknowledge the points made but do not believe that new clauses 1 to 4 should be added to the Bill.

New clause 20 deals with the nationalisation of rail services, an area of ideological difference between the Government and the Opposition. I am therefore unlikely to convince them on it, and, I suspect, vice versa. It is clear to the Government that the franchising process delivers better services, better value for money and a better railway. Since privatisation, the rail industry has been transformed, with the number of passenger journeys more than doubling over the past 20 years. We believe this remains the right approach overall for Britain’s railway.

In any case, the new clause is unnecessary, as under the existing legislative framework it is possible for the state to operate rail services, as happened temporarily on the east coast main line. It is possible, and indeed quite likely, that the state might run HS2 initially, to prove certainty on operation and passenger numbers, but for the long-term successful future of HS2 a privately operated franchise is the best way forward.

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The Minister is giving a pretty fair assessment of how he sees this proceeding. The new clause provides for a permissive power, meaning that it would simply be available going forward. The proposal has been mirrored in previous legislation, such as that dealing with Crossrail, so what is the Government’s objection to a permissive clause of this kind?

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I thought I just said that this power is already available and therefore this is a superfluous new clause and we do not need it to give us these powers. I very much doubt Opposition Members will agree with my view that nationalisation of the railways is not the way forward, so stuck as they seem to be in the 1970s, but I hope I may have provided sufficient explanation as to why this power is not required.

We have given consideration to the other proposed new clauses and amendments. Although I understand the importance of some of the issues raised, I do not believe they belong in the Bill, as they have already been considered during the Select Committee process. To conclude, in order not to take up any more time than is necessary, I hope that right hon. and hon. Members will be able to support the inclusion of new clause 19 and amendment 15, but I urge them to not to press the other proposals, which I do not believe are required.

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I am pleased to be able to contribute to this important debate and play a part in this Bill’s progress. We fully appreciate the importance of this vital piece of infrastructure and the benefits it will bring to our country for generations to come. It is not common to find such consensus in this House, but I am pleased that both the Government and the Opposition understand the need for this high-speed railway. HS2 was, of course, the brainchild of the previous Labour Government, but I readily acknowledge the work that the current Government have done in progressing the project. It is to be very much welcomed for the country that we have such consensus across the House on such important national infrastructure projects.

In that same vein, I shall discuss new clause 19, which stands in the name of the Minister, as well as in my name, those of some of his colleagues and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham South (Lilian Greenwood). It deals with vocational qualifications.

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Just in case it might be thought that there is not still entrenched opposition to these proposals, may I say, speaking not only for myself but for many of my colleagues and for people in Staffordshire, where we get no benefit from this scheme at all, given the damage it is doing to our countryside, that I wish to register opposition to this in its entirety?

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I think I used the word “consensus” not “unanimity”. I sincerely thank the Minister for his constructive approach to this issue and for adding his name to mine by way of support. There is agreement across the House that both jobs and skills are a core part of the case for HS2, and I note that the recent Shaw report calls for much deeper strategic engagement of trade unions across the rail industry. Accordingly, may I take this opportunity to congratulate the Minister and HS2 Ltd for their positive engagement with the TUC in securing an agreement to make sure that trade unions, HS2 and its suppliers work together to maximise HS2’s economic and labour market potential?

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Is the hon. Gentleman at all worried about the possible job impact on the existing railway, because most of the passengers for this line are going to come from journeys that would otherwise have been made on existing trains? Presumably, there will therefore be a decline in fares, revenue and job opportunity on the existing railway.

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The right hon. Gentleman misses the point: this is about having a positive impact on capacity issues. That is the singular and most important purpose of this development.

In the words of the magnificent Frances O’Grady:

“It is clear that trade union engagement is vital to ensuring that HS2 is delivered to time and to budget—and that it is delivered in a manner that reflects the best of socially responsible development.”

The agreement contains the commitment to pay the voluntary living wage—and the voluntary London living wage—and to offer a minimum number of apprenticeships and workforce skills development, among other things. The agreement is an excellent example of how industrial relations should be approached from the outset in projects of this magnitude, and indeed throughout the construction industry, and I hope that it can be the template for good practice throughout industry. The construction of such infrastructure projects places demands on a nation to provide the necessary skilled workforce, creating opportunities for people, and younger people in particular, to equip themselves with not just the vocational qualifications to assist in the construction of this railway, but the tools necessary to forge careers that will be of benefit to both themselves and the nation long after the completion of HS2. Labour Members welcome the fact that, following on from the success of the Kings Cross construction skills centre, a National College for High Speed Rail will be located both in Birmingham and Doncaster, providing specialist vocational training to the next generation of engineers working on HS2 and beyond. We also welcome the fact that HS2 Ltd will provide £4.1 million towards a Euston construction skills centre.

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I, too, am sorry to break the cosy consensus of the two Front-Bench teams, who seem to be conspiring to spend possibly £100 billion of taxpayers’ money on what I believe to be a white elephant. Does the shadow Minister have no concern at all about supporting the Government on a major infrastructure project where the cost-benefit ratio is as low as £1.40 for every pound spent?

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Let me clarify that this is not about a cosy consensus; it is about rigorous examination. There has been a forensic examination of this matter through a lengthy Select Committee and a Bill Committee. The hon. Gentleman is completely wrong about the cost-benefit ratio. The correct figure is 2.3:1.

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rose

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I have already given way and I must now make some progress.

The Government estimate that as many as 2,000 apprenticeship opportunities will be created by HS2, and there will be about 25,000 people employed during its construction. That is welcomed by Members from all parts of the House. Because of the importance of the creation of vocational qualifications in connection with HS2’s construction, we feel it is appropriate that Parliament is given proper oversight on progress in this regard. That is why we tabled new clause 19, which will impose a duty on the Secretary of State to prepare an annual report on vocational qualifications obtained in each financial year in connection with HS2 construction. It seems to us to be eminently sensible for the Secretary of State to report annually on the progress of the creation of vocational qualifications, and I am grateful that the Government have accepted that the new clause should be part of the Bill.

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I support the new clause. Will this annual report capture people gaining qualifications not only through HS2 Ltd and the key construction companies, but further up the supply chain?

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The new clause is focused principally on HS2 Ltd, but the hon. Gentleman makes a very important point. I am sure the Minister and the Secretary of State are listening intently to him. The intention must be to embrace all those within the supply chain.

Amendment 15 would make a small change to clause 48. It simply seeks to insert a requirement that as and when the Secretary of State considers that there is an opportunity for regeneration or development, and land is to be acquired compulsorily for that purpose, regard be had to the relevant development plans that obtain in respect of that particular location. I am grateful that such a modest and reasonable amendment finds favour with the Government.

New clause 21 deals with financial reports. It would impose a duty on the Secretary of State to prepare an annual report on expenditure in each financial year. Each report would contain details of any overspend or underspend against the budget for such expenditure for the year, as well as the likely effect on the total budget.

Labour has been consistent in seeking to hold the Government to account on the cost of HS2, and this new clause would put greater transparency into the process and ensure that Parliament has proper oversight of expenditure. I am aware that expenditure under the Bill would also be reported as part of the Department’s annual report and accounts, but it is our belief that a project with these costs and on the scale of HS2 warrants more detailed oversight of expenditure from Parliament.

Considering that much of the opposition to HS2 has been because of the cost of the project and concerns about ballooning prices, it would be prudent of the Government to allay some of those concerns by ensuring that parliamentarians and the public keep a keen eye on the cost of it. The Prime Minister has previously stated that sunlight is the best disinfectant, and if the Government would like such sentiments to be accepted as more than empty sloganeering then, hopefully, they will support this new clause, which introduces into the process a greater degree of transparency in expenditure.

New clause 20, on public sector operators, would disapply section 25 of the Railways Act 1993, allowing, but not requiring, phase 1 of HS2 passenger services to be run by the public sector. I hope that this does not affect the spirit of consensus and agreement. I am delighted that Labour is committed to the public ownership of the railways. Public opinion on that issue is clear: around two thirds of the public support the nation’s railways being run by the public sector, with fewer than one in five opposing the policy. Public ownership is backed by people across the political spectrum—by Labour, Tory, Lib Dem and UK Independence party voters, although, unfortunately, it is not backed by the latter three parties in this place.

When one looks back at the history of rail privatisation and its impact on the commuting public, it is not difficult to understand why there is overwhelming public support for bringing railway services back into public ownership. Quite simply, the Tory privatisation of British Rail was a rushed, botched job that had more to do with ideology than any clear plan for the railways. The legacy that we have been left with is a fragmented, inefficient and expensive network.

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rose

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I will make some progress.

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Come on!

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No, I will crack on.

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I will give way in a moment.

According to the McNulty report, the fragmentation of our rail network has left us with an efficiency gap of between 30% and 40% compared with other European networks, which means that the money that should be used to address the cost of travel and to fund much needed investment is needlessly wasted.

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I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way. We had this litany from him, which was put just as eloquently, upstairs in Committee. I wish to ask him this: first, if the privatisation of the railways was such a disaster and disservice to the travelling public, why do we now have record levels of people using the railways; and, secondly, why did the last Labour Government not renationalise it during their 13 years in power?

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I am happy to answer the right hon. Gentleman. It was because the last Labour Government put record investment into the railways and made it the safest railway in Europe. We were clearing up the mess of that botched privatisation of Railtrack, which cost people’s lives. We made the network safe.

We have been left with a ticketing system that is the most expensive and confusing in Europe. Indeed, commuter fares are up by a quarter since 2010, having risen three times faster than wage growth. What the public clearly do not accept is that private and many foreign state-owned companies receive subsidies from the UK taxpayer and make significant profits at the expense of rail passengers.

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Will the hon. Gentleman give way on that?

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I will carry on, because I know that people want to contribute to the debate.

In illustrating the benefits of publicly owned operators, one could hardly ask for a better example than the recent east coast main line. The last Labour Government took the important step of bringing that back into public operation after the private operator reneged on its obligations in 2009. East coast proved itself to be one of the most efficient operators, returning more than £1 billion to the taxpayer in premium payments as well as investing every penny of profit back into the service. In addition, fares were kept down in real terms in 2014 at a time when no privately run franchise took the same step. East coast had record passenger satisfaction and its engagement with the workforce was an unparalleled success.

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I am sure that the shadow Minister will welcome the new service that will be starting from Middlesbrough as a result of the Virgin franchise, which will serve his constituents and provide new trains.

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Of course I welcome it; it would be churlish not to. Why would I not welcome that? It does not mean that the system is right, or, for goodness’ sake, that the trains are getting to the right places.

It is difficult to see how east coast’s brilliant delivery for the taxpayer and for the commuter could be seen as a failure, or in any way undesirable. It simply does not make any sense for the UK taxpayer to subsidise foreign state-owned companies so that citizens of Germany, Holland, France and elsewhere can enjoy cheaper and superior services.

Quite simply, the rejection of even the possibility of public ownership is driven by an outdated ideology and is totally out of kilter with the views of a large majority of the public—including many Conservative voters—which is why I am so pleased that Labour is committed to a publicly owned service that puts the passenger first rather than the profits of private or foreign state-owned companies, as is currently the case.

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rose

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No, I am going to move on.

We have heard the Prime Minister, the Chancellor, the Secretary of State for Transport and others speak in glowing terms about how High Speed 2, when completed, will be a proud national achievement, and I completely agree with that. The scale of the project, the amount of talent that will be utilised in its design and construction, and the dedication over the years ahead will be a mark of pride, and represent a proud feat of British engineering and ingenuity.

It is my contention that if we, as a nation, are good enough to build a world-class high-speed railway, then we are good enough to run it, too. From the initial privatisation to the Government’s re-franchising of the east coast main line, Tory rail policy has always been far too focused on its “private good, public bad” ideology. However, new clause 20 would not require the sort of Damascene conversion that we witnessed from the right hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr Duncan Smith) earlier this week. It asks only that the Government keep an open mind. New clause 20 would allow, but not require, High Speed 2 passenger services to be run in the public sector. A similar clause was part of the Crossrail Act 2008, leaving open the option to run passenger services in the public sector. Indeed, we have worded this new clause so that it is as similar as possible to section 26 of the 2008 Act.

May I remind the Minister and the House that the Conservative party did not reject the idea of at least keeping an open mind about who might be the best operator to run Crossrail—or the Elizabeth line—in future years, and it would be disappointing to see the Conservative party move from a position of pragmatism to one of sheer ideology. It would be talking Britain down to suggest that private companies and the state-owned rail companies of the Netherlands, France and Germany are able to run successfully passenger services on our railways, but we ourselves are not. I hope that the Government do not have such a pessimistic view of our capabilities as a nation and will vote in favour of new clause 20.

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It was disheartening to hear the Minister dismiss my amendments in this group before hearing what I had to say, although I am grateful to him for acknowledging that over the past six years I have fought for my constituents and their rights and interests in the face of opposition from many people outside this House. My new clauses in this group are practical and sensible and will, I think, assist my constituents and others up and down the line.

New clause 1 is about local authority finance. Local authorities the length of the HS2 route have received no extra help to support their work on this major infrastructure project. The burden on my two local councils, Buckinghamshire County Council and Chiltern District Council, has been enormous, but the new clause would also apply to other councils.

Buckinghamshire County Council is naturally concerned that without central Government intervention and help its costs will continue to escalate. If the last six years are anything to go by, they certainly will. The county council’s outturn figure for 2015-16 is nearly £520,000 for costs relating to the legal petitioning process, engagement with HS2 Ltd and getting the best deal for Buckinghamshire residents. The council has just submitted the recharge to HS2 Ltd on the current memorandum of understanding and can recoup barely £10,000 for the last year. Why must taxpayers in Chesham and Amersham and elsewhere not only pay for this railway to be built, but pay again through their council tax for their local authorities to carry out inescapable pre and post-construction work for which they get very little help or none at all? Over the past six years, Chiltern District Council has spent nearly £1.18 million on complying with HS2 requirements —a huge amount for a district authority.

Councils have paid out literally millions in the past six years. The costs will only grow during the construction phase and there is no guarantee that local authorities will be fully recompensed. They would appreciate a clear, legally enforceable commitment from the Government that the extra burden will be recognised, particularly in the light of the local government finance settlement. My county, Buckinghamshire, was heavily affected by the settlement. It was only through myself and other Buckinghamshire MPs making very strong representations that we got some increased moneys for our local authorities. If accepted, new clause 1 would ensure security for our local authorities along the whole route where service agreements do not provide additional funding, received by the end of the year. The Minister should appreciate that I am asking for statutory and legally enforceable requirements because there is great distrust of the process so far. I think it is essential to enshrine the provision in statute, so that it is legally enforceable.

New clause 2 is designed to give statutory enforceability to the Department for Transport’s intention to reimburse local authorities for highways repair costs consequential on the construction of HS2.

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Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Select Committee pressed HS2 hard on reimbursement to highways authorities regarding damage to verges, culverts, drains, inspection covers and so on, and the company gave a very positive response? New clause 2 is a belt-and-braces provision. Does she agree that HS2 has already given quite firm commitments?

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I appreciate the work my hon. Friend did on the Select Committee. He is correct that there are undertakings, but they are not enforceable and I am afraid that HS2 does not have a good track record of either keeping good records and accurate information or of following through on its promises, hence my decision to table the new clauses. If HS2 is in good faith going to adhere to those undertakings, it should have no fear of their being put in the Bill. That is why I do not think it is unreasonable to expect the new clauses to be accepted.

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My right hon. Friend might like to point out that there are 65 pages of road and footpath closures scheduled in the Bill and 67 pages of associated works to existing roads, railways and utilities. The work is massive in scale and, obviously, all those involved will need compensation.

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My right hon. Friend is absolutely correct. Perhaps that shows the scale of the battle that has been going on for six years, in which people are trying to defend their environment and locality or, if they cannot have the whole project cancelled, at least to get the best possible deal for their locality.

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In my constituency, we have had significant problems in engaging with HS2—and not just me as the Member of Parliament; the county council and the district council have simply not had their letters answered. That gives us no assurance that HS2 will engage in a timely fashion with those who have to use the roads every day.

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My hon. Friend makes a point that is entirely familiar to me and many other people along the line of the route. That is why I want these not unreasonable assurances to be put in the Bill.

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It seems to me rather strange that the Government will not accept the amendments. The history of statutory undertakers doing work on highways shows without any difficulty the shoddy restoration that takes place afterwards. In this case, we are talking of a massive project involving many miles of roads that will require repair. My right hon. Friend may agree that the assurances being given ought to be reinforced by statutory powers.

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Any addition to my right hon. and learned Friend’s point would be otiose. He is absolutely correct.

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May I take my right hon. Friend back to the point about HS2 liaising with the public? Is she aware of the damning ombudsman’s report that came out last night, which stated that HS2 regarded consultation as merely a box-ticking exercise?

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I drew the House’s attention to that report in a point of order. The report is appended to today’s debate, but of course there was no possibility of tabling amendments that referred to that report in an attempt to alter HS2’s behaviour.

New clause 2 is designed to ensure that all local authorities are properly compensated for any damage to roads as a result of HS2 constructions. As others have confirmed, that vital safeguard should be added to the Bill. The Secretary of State, who is now in his place on the Front Bench, visited my constituency earlier this month and saw at first hand some of the problems that my constituents face. I am grateful for that visit. He also saw the problems we have in Buckinghamshire with potholes. I am particularly concerned about the roads in and around Great Missenden. Quite by chance, my right hon. Friend witnessed maintenance works being carried out on those roads during his visit.

Buckinghamshire County Council highways authority estimates that it will spend about £7.5 million on pothole-related maintenance over the next five years. That figure takes no account of patching, resurfacing, drainage, road sweeping and other related costs. I believe that considerable additional costs will arise from the large number of heavy goods vehicles pounding their way up and down some of Buckinghamshire’s fragile roads. Local authorities may well be reimbursed for reasonable costs, but what are reasonable costs? I want them to be reimbursed fully and I want that to be enshrined in statute, to make sure that the provision is both sufficient and justiciable.

New clause 3 is intended to increase the amounts allocated by the Department for Transport to the business and local economy fund and the community and environment fund from £30 million to £150 million. The £30 million originally announced for those funds to assist those affected by HS2 has been felt across the board to be meagre and insufficient, especially as the funding is intended to cover the entire route of phase 1. The Select Committee acknowledged the significant shortfall and the Government’s response to its final report stated that the sum would be increased to £40 million. I contend that that is not enough. The impacts of the project will be long standing and severe for the environment, local authorities and communities. Through new clause 3, I propose that the funding be increased to £150 million to give those affected the compensation they deserve and to ensure that adverse effects are minimised.

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Both of us have signed new clause 33 on compensation by reference to a property bond. I wanted to put that on the record. My right hon. Friend is doing a great job, and I do not want to take up the time of the House to refer to new clause 33, knowing that she agrees with me.

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I am grateful to my hon. Friend, and grateful for the support that I have received from colleagues across the piece.

On new clause 3, there is currently no information on how the funds will be divided, which areas will be prioritised or how the money could be spent. There is also no clarification of whether, for example, the funds to be allocated will include the moneys already allocated to the Colne valley. Will those come out of this funding envelope? There has been a suggestion that the money will be delivered locally through local enterprise partnerships, but that would be most unsuitable. In Buckinghamshire, for example, we have two overlapping LEPs. How would the money be administered? I think it should be kept separate from the LEPs and genuinely given to local groups so that they can decide how best to distribute the funds. I urge the Minister both to increase the funds and to provide further details on how they will be administered.

The last new clause to which I shall speak in this group is new clause 4, which deals with compensation. All the MPs who have constituencies along the route will know that compensation issues have caused great worry and stress to our constituents, and many of the recommendations of the HS2 hybrid Bill Select Committee, although welcome, have yet to translate into changes to the schemes. The Select Committee’s report in February 2016 stated that

“the Government said that it would work to implement a revised process for the valuation of properties for ‘Need to Sell’ that will allow more local valuers to be used”.

That review was promised for autumn last year, but we are still waiting.

The Department for Transport’s response to the Select Committee report is silent on the valuation point, and although a response was promised before Third Reading, when I last looked I had not yet received that. I may be wrong—HS2 tends to slip out its documents just in time for debates, which I think is poor practice. In this case such poor practice is affecting people’s lives. Implementing a fair valuation process for property owners who are receiving unacceptably low offers from HS2 is of paramount importance.

I still have a large number of constituents who have been negotiating with HS2 for months to get a fair price for their property, and I know from colleagues that it is a similar story up and down the route. I have been appalled at the treatment of individuals, who have had to employ expensive lawyers even to get timely and rational answers from those employed by HS2 or from HS2 itself. My colleagues and I have raised these points for years, yet there continues to be a litany of errors from HS2. There have been internal emails that are rude and disrespectful about constituents. The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee report published earlier today refers to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman report, which accused HS2 of being guilty of maladministration. I believe that that has characterised the way in which HS2 has dealt with people who have lost their houses, their businesses and their land.

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One of my greatest concerns about going forward without the Select Committee, which has been of enormous help to those of us whose constituents have been affected, is that there is nobody to help us mediate with HS2 Ltd and to encourage the company to respond to us in a timely fashion. There is no transparency about the way it does business. Does my right hon. Friend have any ideas to help us with this?

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The hon. Member for Middlesbrough (Andy McDonald) said today from the Opposition Dispatch Box that transparency would be the watchword for HS2. I agree with my hon. Friend—transparency has not been the watchword for HS2. Right from the beginning, when the Major Projects Authority’s reports were withheld from this House and from the Select Committee that considered the Bill, there has been the reverse of transparency. That is what is so distressing about this project; it could have been handled so much better. It has let many people down.

Finally—I know that others want to speak—new clause 4 is designed to ensure that valuers with local knowledge are included on the HS2 panel, and that all compensation applications are responded to substantively within 10 weeks to avoid long periods of uncertainty for property owners on the route.

I started by saying that I was disappointed that the Minister dismissed my amendments before even hearing what I had to say today, so I am not expecting any positive response. But I have learned always to walk in hope, even on the impossible project of HS2, and I invite the Minister to accept my amendments today and add them to the Bill, thereby showing that he has the respect that I believe this House should have for the people whose lives are affected so drastically by HS2.

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High Speed 2 is extremely important and is necessary to expand capacity on a railway that is ever increasing in popularity. Where communities are adversely affected, they should be treated properly and there should be adequate compensation. The amount of that compensation is clearly a matter for judgment, and some of the amendments today address that.

It is exceedingly important, too, that the potential for jobs and economic development created by the building of High Speed 2 is maximised. That was one of the key points that the Transport Committee emphasised when we first looked at High Speed 2 back in 2011. We have published four reports on that since then. Back in 2011 the point considered in new clause 19 was emphasised. We supported High Speed 2 but highlighted the importance of maximising the job opportunities—jobs in the construction of the high-speed network or jobs opened up by economic development in the areas through which HS2 passes—and regional development. I am extremely pleased to see new clause 19 and pleased it has all-party support, because of the focus it puts on jobs.

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Does the hon. Lady agree that a link between Euston and St Pancras might offer an opportunity for jobs? My constituents thought they would be able to get on a train in Birmingham and end up in Paris, but instead they have to schlep across London with their heavy bags. Another possible link is one between Curzon Street and New Street, so that there might actually be a connected railway, which at present there is not.

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The hon. Gentleman makes some important points that are worthy of consideration. I believe the decision likely to be taken later this evening will be the beginning of a very important High Speed 2 network, which may well expand after more people see its benefits.

New clause 19 refers to the need to look at the qualifications achieved by people working on the construction of High Speed 2. I agree with that, but it should be extended a little to include the diversity of qualifications and employment opportunities that can be offered during construction—the wide range of skills that can be obtained and the potential to attract a wide range of people who could benefit. I hope the aims of the new clause can be extended, if not in words tonight, then in the way it is implemented. I am particularly pleased to see the plans for the skills college at both Birmingham and Doncaster, and I hope they can be extended.

It is important, and it is implicit in some of the amendments, that economic development in the areas and regions through which High Speed 2 passes is maximised, working with the local enterprise partnerships, local authorities and business. It should not be just the stations through which High Speed 2 passes that benefit, but the surrounding region.

I also support the proposals to monitor expenditure on High Speed 2, because it is important that the scheme is kept within budget: over £50 billion is a lot of money, even over 20 years.

People have become unduly focused on the current benefit-cost ratio, which is calculated very specifically. Indeed, looking at the overall network and the wider economic benefits, that ratio is likely to expand to at least 2.3:1, but it is calculated rather restrictively. Under current regulations, the benefit can be calculated for only 67 years, and an assumption is made that the number of passengers on the line will increase by 2.2% annually and then stop in 2036, which is most unlikely. I think it is very likely that the benefit-cost ratio will increase.

We all need to have some vision in looking at what is required for the future. We need more capacity on the very popular and important railway, an essential part of public transport, bringing job opportunities—for example, in construction—and economic development to the regions and not just around the stations. For those reasons, I support a number of the amendments proposed today.

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Order. I trust that hon. Members will now be very brief, because we have only 15 minutes left for this part of the debate.

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Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker; I shall be brief.

It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Liverpool, Riverside (Mrs Ellman). I am mindful of the fact that, in promoting this scheme, the Government can make a powerful and perfectly rational case. Indeed, the hon. Lady highlighted some of the points that have been raised. The difficulty that I have, as a constituency MP directly affected by the scheme, is that throughout the whole process of engagement between HS2 and my constituents, HS2’s behaviour towards my constituents has consistently been wanting, both in sensitivity and in its levels of engagement. I have to say that the way in which HS2’s management has dealt with perfectly reasonable objections from people who are very anxious about the future of their communities has led me to be deeply anxious about how this will actually work out in practice.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mrs Gillan), in presenting this batch of amendments, has highlighted some key areas where the Government, by providing some greater reassurance, could go a considerable way towards not satisfying everybody—inevitably some people will remain dissatisfied with the proposals—but providing them with reassurance that some of their worst fears about how this will pan out in practice are misplaced. For example, there has been considerable concern about the way in which compensation is calculated. There have been arguments about failure to take account of local features.

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I thank my right hon. and learned Friend for giving way on that point; I intervene because I had wanted to speak on this new clause but now will not have time. We heard cases in the Select Committee where it was quite clear that the lack of local valuers is doing an injustice to the people whose homes are being acquired. Does he agree that the Government must put that injustice right? The Select Committee made very strong recommendations about that aspect. This injustice must be put right.

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I am so grateful to my hon. Friend. Yes, these are precisely the areas where Government intervention would be valuable. I urge my right hon. and hon. Friends on the Front Bench, even at this late hour, to give this careful consideration.

There is a similar story on the relationship with local authorities. Most of our local authorities, like all local authorities in this country, given the difficult conditions resulting from the continuing economic problems besetting our planet, are short of money to carry out important local projects. Therefore, the prospect of having their infrastructure ripped up during the construction process is inevitably a subject of legitimate concern to them. There is no proper reason why they and the local council tax payer should have to bear the end cost, of any description, on this project going ahead. Here again is an opportunity for my right hon. and hon. Friends on the Front Bench to beef this up and provide the necessary tools to ensure that HS2 honours these commitments.

I am no position to speak to HS2, and I do not understand why it has been so deficient in its approach to dealing with local communities, but that is the reality. I note from the Public Administration Committee’s most recent report that HS2 says that it has learnt its lessons and will do things differently in future. I very much hope that is the case, but until I actually see it with my own eyes and witness it from the comments of my constituents, I have reason to continue to doubt that that will in fact happen. That is all the more reason why these amendments, which are straightforward and should not add to HS2’s costs, or indeed to the burden of carrying out the project, ought to be accepted.

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I rise to support new clauses 26 and 32. Paradoxically, I agree with most of what has been said today, because I do think that it is possible to be pro-infrastructure investment, pro-progress and pro-brand new trains. I am pro the concept of high-speed rail, but I am not pro-HS2 Ltd and, as the right hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield (Mr Grieve) said, the rather cavalier way it operates. In the Select Committee its QC called my residents tedious, which I thought showed complete contempt for them.

New clause 26 is about protecting vulnerable businesses and the time given for relocation. I have spoken to some of the businesses in the Park Royal area of my constituency. The businesses there are quite mixed. Many of them deal with food preparation—for example, supplying olives to restaurants in the west end—and need to be close to the A40, which is a vital artery. They are family businesses. They have been told that when it happens they will be given three months to relocate. They have a combined turnover in the millions. They are all extremely concerned that they will be forced to close because three months is not enough time for them to start again.

I spoke with a prop hire company. It occupies thousands of square feet of warehouse space, with antiques and big fat televisions behind wooden veneer cabinets. It supplies props for films such as “Star Wars”. It would find it very difficult to find alternative premises quickly. Those companies would also like an assurance of 100% compensation for their sites, not the 90% on offer.

The Conservative party is the party of business, surely. It is the party of small and medium-sized enterprises. [Interruption.] I think this new clause has genuine cross-party support, judging by the Members who have signed it. It is deeply worrying that those firms are being forced to move towards what is called extinguishment, because apparently their balance sheets do not show enough turnover, so HS2 considered their financial value to be too small to warrant relocation. That is a slap in the face and an insult to hard-working, small family businesses.

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My hon. Friend is doing a brilliant job of representing her constituents, as she always does. Does she agree—I think this is the purpose of her new clauses—that it is often the businesses in urban areas that are the most fragile and therefore the worst affected, but the levels of compensation and concern shown to them is the worst on offer—[Interruption.]

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Order. We do not have time for long interventions.

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My hon. Friend puts it very well. He anticipates my new clause 32, which is about the fairness of the rural support zone. I know the constituency of the right hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mrs Gillan) well, because she and I were on the same ballot paper in 2005. She represents a rural constituency, but the urban and suburban constituencies, such as mine and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Hammersmith (Andy Slaughter), are not treated the same as rural support zones. I believe that needs to be looked at.

One house in my constituency has a zero valuation—you could not make this up. Someone wanted to re-mortgage a house in Wells House Road, and the mortgage valuer came up with zero. That would not happen elsewhere. For the sake of fairness, that should be looked at. There seems to be a wrong assumption—[Interruption.] Madam Deputy Speaker, I am aware that there is about to be a vote, so I will say my last sentence. We should not accept that suburban or urban dwellers should simply put up with it. I urge Members to support my two new clauses.

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I rise to speak to the new clauses in my name and to put the case of my constituents in North Warwickshire, which is arguably the most blighted part of the HS2 route, outside of London.

I would like to use the short time available to make a final case to the Government to adopt vital protections for local communities such as Kingsbury, Water Orton, Coleshill, Middleton, Lea Marston and Wishaw. Those protections are set out in my three new clauses, as well as in provisions tabled by other right hon. and hon. Members, which I have co-signed.

A recurring theme my constituents have faced is the lack of engagement from HS2 Ltd during the process to date. Many of the questions that have been asked of the company remain unanswered, and its credibility locally is in tatters. Those affected by HS2 have little confidence that communication will get better during the construction stage; indeed, unsurprisingly, the fear is that, should the Bill be approved by the House, communication will get worse.

That is why I seek greater protection for North Warwickshire residents. As a result of the impact on our area, we have been given an assurance by HS2 that we are a special case. Sadly, despite numerous requests, the company has neglected to advise us what that protection actually is, what the benefits are or even what it covers. After what my constituents have had to endure over the last six years, they deserve better. They deserve some kind of certainty and an acknowledgment that HS2 and the Government are sympathetic to their case.

That is why I have introduced new clause 30, which would set up a community fund to protect local communities from the unintended consequences that could arise in the construction phase. The fund would supplement the community and environment fund, and it would address the adverse impacts of HS2’s construction on communities in terms of things such as impaired accessibility, the reduction in the availability of community amenities and the physical effects of construction.

A principal objective of the fund will be to remove the need for formal compensation claims and to provide an expedited means of claiming funding for detriment. The fund would be available only to address adverse effects on communities, not impacts on individual households, businesses or undertakings. However, among the things that may be considered as eligible for funding would be transport facilities such as shuttle services.

As I have stated, the Kingsbury area and the surrounding villages are clearly a special case in the context of the HS2 scheme, and there can be no argument about that. Engagement with our community needs to address the requirements that come with that special place, and my other new clauses address the current lack of communication, including in terms of referral, escalation and monitoring. Crucially, they seek to ensure that local people’s complaints are resolved in a timely manner.

We will hear further arguments later today in the Chamber about HS2’s environmental impact, and it is hard to imagine the change to the landscape that the railhead in Kingsbury will bring, but my constituents will be forced to live with that change.

I urge the Secretary of State to consider my proposed changes to the Bill and those of other right hon. and hon. Members, which I have supported in the interests of our constituents. Our proposals offer common-sense initiatives to support, and offer mitigation to, those people along the proposed line who need it most.

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I did have a very detailed speech on this important issue for Wales, but I am afraid that time will defeat me, so I will be as quick as possible.

Ministers will know of my long-standing concerns about the Barnett classification of HS2. The Plaid Cymru position has always been that this is an England-only railway. All the destinations on the map are clearly in England. The position of the UK Government has always been that this is a UK-Government railway scheme. However, when it came to the statement of funding policy document that accompanied the comprehensive spending review, the railway is an England and Wales railway, because Scotland and Northern Ireland had a 100% Barnett rating for HS2, while Wales had 0% rating.

The impact of that, in a project that may well cost more than £80 billion over the next 20 years, will be severe for my country—in terms of not only HS2, but the precedent set for HS3, Crossrail 2 and the Sheffield-to-Manchester subterranean road. These are massive multibillion-pound projects, and Wales is losing out.

This is an issue of fairness, and unless the Minister says on Third Reading that he will address the issues I have raised in my new clause, my colleagues and I will vote against the Government on Third Reading.

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I will be brief. The SNP welcomes this investment. Although, as has been said, the initial roll-out of the route is in England only, we see the benefits that this can bring to Scotland, and we welcome the aspiration for a sub-three-hour journey time to Glasgow and Edinburgh. I welcome the fact that the Minister says trains will run to Scotland on day one.

On the back of the comments by the hon. Member for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr (Jonathan Edwards) about Barnett, I would ask the Secretary of State to consider the wider issue of Barnett consequentials and the estimates process. There needs to be more clarity on that, but I welcome the investment in HS2.

Question put and agreed to.

New clause 19 accordingly read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 20

Public Sector Operators

‘(1) Section 25 of the Railways Act 1993 (c. 43) (public-sector operators not to be franchisees) does not apply in relation to the franchisee in respect of a franchise agreement—

(a) which relates wholly or mainly to the provision of one or more Phase One of High Speed 2 passenger services, or

(b) which relates wholly or mainly to the provision of one or more other services for the carriage of passengers by railway where—

(i) the services run wholly or partly on the route of Phase One of High Speed 2, and

(ii) the services are likely to be subject to substantial disruption because of the construction of Phase One of High Speed 2.

(2) The following may in particular be taken into account in determining whether, for the purposes of subsection (1)(b), services are likely to be subject to substantial disruption—

(a) the frequency with which the services are likely to be disrupted,

(b) the duration of the period in which the services are likely to be disrupted (and, in particular, its duration relative to the length of the franchise term),

(c) the severity of any likely disruption.

(3) In this section—

“franchisee”, “franchise agreement” and “franchise term” have the meanings given by section 23 of the Railways Act 1993 (designated passenger services to be provided under franchise agreements).”—(Andy McDonald.)

Brought up, and read the First time.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time.

Division 228

23 March 2016

The House divided:

Ayes: 184
Noes: 273

Question accordingly negatived.

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More than one hour having elapsed since the commencement of proceedings on consideration, the proceedings were interrupted (Programme Order, 22 March).

The Deputy Speaker put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that time (Standing Order No. 83E).

Clause 48

Compulsory acquisition of land for regeneration or relocation

Amendment made: 15, in clause 48, page 18, line 8, after “considers” insert

“having regard to the relevant development plan,”—(Mr Goodwill.)

New Clause 6

Chilterns AONB Review Group

“(1) A Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Review Group shall be established.

(2) The members of the group shall include Buckinghamshire County Council, Chilterns District Council, Wycombe District Council, Aylesbury Vale District Council, the Chilterns Conservation Board, Natural England, key community groups and the nominated undertaker.

(3) The purpose of the group shall be to identify measures for environmental enhancement in the Chilterns to mitigate against the impact of HS2 railway construction.

(4) The group shall elect a Chair, who shall not be an employee of the nominated undertaker.

(5) The group shall receive such funds from the Secretary of State as it considers necessary to perform its functions expeditiously and efficiently.

(6) The group shall make a twice yearly report with recommendations.

(7) In the event that the Secretary of State does not accept any recommendation of the group, they shall make a statement to the House within three months of the date of the report, indicating reasons.”—(Mrs Gillan.)

This new clause is intended to give statutory backing to the establishment and powers of the Chilterns AONB Review Group.

Brought up, and read the First time.

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I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

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With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

New clause 7—Obligation to plant trees—

“(1) The nominated undertaker must publish plans to plant the Referenced Trees within the Construction Period and make arrangements for their maintenance for a period of 10 years from the commencement of services on Phase 1 of HS2.

(2) The nominated undertaker must provide an annual report to Parliament which shall specify—

(a) the progress made on planting of the Referenced Trees,

(b) the number and species of trees planted since the publication of the previous report,

(c) the position of the trees, groups of trees or woodlands, as the case may be, by reference to a map,

(d) the adequacy of arrangements to manage Referenced Trees which have been planted previously.

(3) In subsections (1) and (2) “Referenced Trees” shall mean the trees planted to meet the commitment of two million additional trees to be situated adjacent to Phase 1 of HS2 as set out in the environmental statement referenced in Clause 66(4). In subsection (1) Construction Period shall mean the period between commencement of the Scheduled Works and the commencement of operational service on Phase One of High Speed 2.”

New clause 8—Office of the HS2 Adjudicator

“(1) There is to be a body corporate known as the Office of the HS2 Adjudicator hereinafter referred to as “the Adjudicator”.

(2) Schedule [Adjudicator: status and funding] (which makes further provision about the Adjudicator) shall have effect.

(3) The Adjudicator has the functions conferred on it by or under any enactment.

(4) Those functions include—

(a) enforced functions

(b) inspection functions,

(c) information functions.

(5) The main objective of the Adjudicator in performing its functions is to protect the natural environment and communities impacted by the construction and operation of Phase 1 of High Speed 2.

(6) The Adjudicator is to perform its functions for the general purpose of securing—

(a) the minimisation of adverse impacts on communities and the natural environment situated in locations affected by the construction or operation of Phase 1 of HS2,

(b) the provision of additional mitigation measures in the event the environmental impacts of the operation of HS2 are worse than as set out in the environmental statement prepared in accordance with section 66(4).”

New clause 9—Matters to which the Adjudicator must have regard

“(1) In performing its functions the Adjudicator must have regard to—

(a) the views expressed by or on behalf of the members of the public or organisations about the environmental impacts of constructing Phase One of HS2,

(b) the views expressed by people affected by the construction and operation of Phase One of HS2,

(c) the views expressed by local authorities about the impact of constructing and operating Phase One of HS2 in their areas,

(d) the need to protect the natural environment and minimise environmental impacts arising from the construction and operation of Phase One of HS2,

(e) the need to ensure that any action by the Adjudicator in relation to its areas of responsibility is proportionate to the risks against which it would afford safeguards and is targeted only where it is needed,

(f) any developments in approaches to monitoring and mitigating environmental impacts arising from the construction or operation of Phase One of HS2,

(g) best practice among persons performing functions comparable to those of the Adjudicator (including the principles under which regulatory action should be transparent, accountable and consistent).

(2) In performing its functions the Adjudicator must also have regard to such aspects of government policy as the Secretary of State may direct.”

New clause 10—Statement on stakeholder involvement

“(1) The Adjudicator must publish a statement describing how it proposes to—

(a) discharge its oversight requirements to ensure environmental outcomes reflect the forecasts set out in the environmental statement referenced in section 66(4),

(b) promote engagement and discussion with the nominated undertaker and impacted communities concerning adequate levels of mitigation,

(c) ensure that proper regard is had to views expressed by non-government organisations and local authorities concerning the environmental impacts arising from the construction and operation of Phase One of High Speed 2,

(d) arrange for accurate regular reporting of environmental impacts arising from the construction of the scheduled works and operation of Phase One of High Speed 2.

(2) The Adjudicator may from time to time revise the statement and must publish any revised statement.

(3) Before publishing the statement (or any revised) statement the Adjudicator must consult such persons it considers appropriate.”

New clause 11—Compliance with requirements

“(1) The Adjudicator will keep under review compliance by HS2 Ltd, the nominated undertaker and its contractors with the standards detailed in the environmental statement, Environmental Minimum Requirements and the Code of Construction Practice and the assurances and undertakings provided by the Secretary of State on HS2 and Information Papers prepared by HS2 Ltd (collectively the “environmental documents”).

(2) If it appears to the Adjudicator that any person has failed or is likely to fail to comply with any requirements for which he is responsible set out in the environmental documents relating to the construction or operation of Phase One of High Speed 2, the Adjudicator (hereinafter referred to in this section as the “relevant requirements”) may address to that person an enforcement notice.

(3) An enforcement notice comes into effect 36 hours after it is published on the website of the Adjudicator.

(4) The Adjudicator must also transmit an electronic version to HS2 Ltd, any nominated undertaker or contractor to the aforementioned, or local authority who has supplied to the Adjudicator an email address for this purpose.

(5) An enforcement notice must also be placed on a hard copy register maintained at such a location as the Adjudicator may determine.

(6) An enforcement notice is a notice in writing—

(a) specifying the matters which appears to the Adjudicator to constitute a failure to comply with the relevant requirements set out in the environmental documents, and

(b) prohibiting the recurrence or occurrence of those matters and requiring the person to whom it is addressed to carry out any specified works or take any steps which the Adjudicator considers necessary to ensure compliance with the relevant requirements detailed in the environmental documents.

(7) Where any person suffers loss or damage as a result of any matter specified in an enforcement notice, whether that loss or damage occurs before or after the service of the enforcement notice, he may recover damages for that loss or damage in a civil court from the person on whom the enforcement notice was served

(8) It shall be a defence to any claim under subsection (7) above to prove that the matters alleged to constitute non compliance have not occurred or that they do not constitute non compliance with the relevant requirements

(9) If any person fails to comply with the requirements of an enforcement notice he shall be guilty of an offence.

(10) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be punishable on summary conviction by a fine not exceeding £20,000 and on conviction on indictment to a fine.

(11) It shall be a defence to any criminal proceedings under subsection (9) claim to prove that—

(a) the matters alleged to constitute non compliance have not occurred,

(b) that they do not constitute non compliance with the relevant requirements or that any required works or steps were not necessary to achieve compliance with the relevant requirements or

(c) that despite due diligence he was unaware of the provision of the notice.

(12) Where an offence under any provision of this Act committed by a body corporate is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to have been attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate or a person who was purporting to act in any such capacity, he as well as the body corporate shall be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.”

New clause 12—Inspections and studies

“(1) The Adjudicator may for the purposes of its regulatory functions carry out inspections of—

(a) the carrying on of the Scheduled Works, or

(b) the operation of any train travelling on Phase One of HS2.

(2) The Adjudicator may undertake or promote comparative or other studies designed to enable it to make recommendations—

(a) for improving sustainability and effectiveness in any activity mentioned in subsection (3), or

(b) for improving the management of environmental outcomes arising from the operation of Phase One of HS2.

(3) Those activities are—

(a) the undertaking of construction activity by HS2 Ltd or a nominated undertaker,

(b) the making of arrangements by HS2 Ltd or a nominated undertaker for the purpose of environmental mitigation.

(4) The Adjudicator may also undertake or promote studies designed to enable it to prepare reports as to the impact of—

(a) the operation of any particular statutory provisions, or

(b) any directions or guidance given by a Minister of the Crown (whether pursuant to any such provisions or otherwise),

on economy, efficiency and effectiveness in an activity mentioned in subsection (3)(a) or (b).

(5) The Adjudicator must undertake or promote a study falling within subsection (2) or (4) if the Secretary of State so requests.

(6) The Adjudicator must publish—

(a) any recommendations made by it under subsection (2) and

(b) the result of any studies undertaken or promoted under that section.

(7) The Secretary of State may, after consulting the Adjudicator, by regulations make provisions as to the procedure to be followed in respect of the making of representatives to the Adjudicator before the publication under subsection (2) of any recommendations or the result of any studies.”

New clause 13—Power to require documents, information returns etc.

“(1) The Adjudicator may require any person mentioned in subsection (2) to provide it with any information, documents, records or other items which the Adjudicator considers it necessary or expedient to have for the purposes of any of its regulatory functions.

(2) The persons are—

(a) HS2 Limited,

(b) a nominated undertaker,

(c) any contractor appointed by HS2 Limited or a nominated undertaker.

(3) The power in subsection (1) to require the provision of information, documents or records includes, in relation to information, documents or records kept by means of a computer, power to require the provision of the information, documents or records in legible form.

(4) The Adjudicator may require a nominated undertaker to make a return to the Adjudicator at such intervals as may be prescribed.

(5) Provision may be made in such requirements as to the contents of the return and the period in respect of which and date by which it is to be made.”

New clause 14—Information and advice

“(1) The Adjudicator must keep the Secretary of State informed about the following matters—

(a) the environmental impact of constructing Phase 1 of HS2 and whether such impacts reflect the forecasts detailed in the Environmental Statement;

(b) the impact on communities and the natural environment arising from the construction and operation of HS2;

(c) the carrying on of regulated activities.

(2) The Adjudicator may at any time give the Secretary of State advice on anything connected with those matters.

(3) When requested to do so by the Secretary of State, the Adjudicator must give the Secretary of State such advice or information in connection with a matter mentioned in subsection (1) as may be specified in the request.”

New clause 15—Provision of copies of registers

“(1) Subject to subsection (3), the Adjudicator must secure that copies of any register kept for the purposes of this Act are available at its offices for inspection at all reasonable times by any person.

(2) Subject to subsections (3) and (4), any person who asks the Adjudicator for a copy of, or an extract from, a register kept for the purposes of this Chapter is entitled to have one.

(3) Regulations may provide that subsections (1) and (2) do not apply—

(a) in such circumstances as may be prescribed, or

(b) to such parts of a register as may be prescribed.

(4) A fee determined by the Adjudicator is payable for the copy or extract except—

(a) in prescribed circumstances, or

(b) in any case where the Adjudicator considers it appropriate to provide the copy or extract free of charge.”

New clause 16—Speed and Noise Limitation

“(1) No person shall drive or cause or permit any train to proceed at a speed greater than 300 km/h on track forming part of Phase One of High Speed 2 except to the extent that the maximum peak noise level arising from train passage, when measured according to a procedure defined by the Secretary of State on the basis of representative train passages and locations, does not exceed 60dBA at any point further than 200m from the centre line of the railway.

(2) If any person fails to comply with the requirements of subsection (1) he shall be guilty of an offence.

(3) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be punishable on summary conviction by a fine not exceeding £20,000 and on conviction on indictment to a fine.

(4) Where an offence under any provision of this Act committed by a body corporate is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to have been attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate or a person who was purporting to act in any such capacity, he as well as the body corporate shall be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.”

New clause 17—Prohibition of entry of designated vehicles in designated areas

“(1) No person shall for the purposes of the exercise of powers granted under sections 1 and 2 drive or cause or permit a vehicle of a designated class to enter a designated area, where “designated class” and “designated area” are as defined in [Schedule: Designated Areas and Classes for Vehicles].

(2) If any person fails to comply with the requirements of subsection (1) he shall be guilty of an offence.

(3) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be punishable on summary conviction by a fine not exceeding £20,000 and on conviction on indictment to a fine.

(4) Where an offence under any provision of this Act committed by a body corporate is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to have been attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate or a person who was purporting to act in any such capacity, he as well as the body corporate shall be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.”

New clause 22—Construction of an integrated Euston Station

“(1) The Secretary of State will require the nominated undertaker to take reasonable steps to develop integrated and comprehensive design and construction plans for Euston Station that include integration with other Euston Schemes.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) “reasonable steps” mean, but are not limited to, the following measures—

(a) The nominated undertaker will seek to maximise, in so far as is reasonably practicable, the volume of excavated and construction material from the construction of the enlarged Euston Station and its approaches to be brought in and removed by rail;

(b) The nominated undertaker will design an enlarged HS2 Euston Station having regard to all relevant parts of the Euston Area Plan and any other relevant Opportunity Area Frameworks or Guidance,

(c) The nominated undertaker will be required to participate in the Euston Strategic Board, which shall comprise representatives from the Department for Transport, HS2 Limited, the London Borough of Camden, the Greater London Authority, Transport for London, and in any successor or additional future governance arrangements which may be agreed between the London Borough of Camden, and the Greater London Authority and Transport for London from time to time,

(d) The nominated undertaker will be required to participate in a Euston Station Strategic Redevelopment Board which shall have the same membership as specified in subsection (2)(c), with the addition of Network Rail and any successor network and station operators, designated under Section 8 of the Railways Act 1993 and having responsibility for Euston Main Line Station or rail tracks that connect to that station,

(e) The Euston Station Strategic Redevelopment Board will advise the Secretary of State on the delivery of an integrated and comprehensive design for the enlarged Euston Station and other Euston Schemes, alongside other duties which may be set out in its Terms of Reference which may be updated from time to time;

(f) The nominated undertaker will be required to participate in a Euston Integrated Programme Board, the membership of which shall include the organisations specified in subsection (2)(b);

(g) The Euston Integrated Programme Board shall have responsibility for managing the integration of the nominated undertaker’s Euston Station design and construction work plans with proposals for other Euston Schemes;

(h) The nominated undertaker will be required to take all reasonable steps to maintain public access to Euston Station and through construction sites that are established for Phase One purposes, including for cyclists and pedestrians;

(i) Where it is not reasonably practicable to maintain public access under subsection (2)(h), the nominated undertaker shall identify alternative measures to maintain public access and implement them where it is reasonable;

(j) The nominated undertaker will be required to participate in a Euston Station Design Panel and use reasonable endeavours to agree the chairperson and other members jointly with Camden London Borough Council, Transport for London and the Greater London Authority, and Network Rail or any successor network operator as defined in subsection (2)(d);

(k) The Secretary of State will require the nominated undertaker to have regard to all recommendations made by the Euston Station Design Panel regarding the nominated undertaker’s ongoing design work for Euston Station,

(l) If requested to do so by the Euston Station Design Panel, the Secretary of State will require the nominated undertaker to notify Camden London Borough Council and the Greater London Authority of the full reasons for failing to incorporate into its design work any changes recommended by the Euston Station Design Panel,

(m) The nominated undertaker will make provision for ongoing community engagement during the construction works for the enlarged Euston Station,

(n) Details of the funding expected to be required to rebuild Euston Main Line Station shall be set out when the Secretary of State’s duties are fulfilled under paragraph 1(D)(1) of Schedule 4A to the Railways Act 1993 in respect of the review periods preceding the rebuild of Euston Main Line Station and the review periods during which the rebuild of Euston Main Line Station is expected to take place,

(3) For the purposes of subsection (1), “Euston Schemes” shall be taken to mean—

(a) The enlarged Euston Station as referred to in Schedule 1 to this Act,

(b) The rebuild of the Euston Main Line Station,

(c) Over site development and related development opportunities above the Euston Station and tracks in line with the Euston Area Plan; and

(d) Additional proposals for new subterranean railways that may be introduced by the Greater London Authority or Transport for London during the Phase One construction period.

(4) Nothing in this section shall override other limitations imposed by this Act.”

New clause 23—Noise and visual mitigation at Mixbury, Oxfordshire

“(1) The Secretary of State shall require the nominated undertaker to construct, at Mixbury in Oxfordshire, along the west side of the railway’s Hollow Barn embankment, a noise barrier of height between 1.4 metres and 2 metres and of equivalent specification to the noise barrier to be constructed at Westbury.

(2) The area between the Hollow Barn embankment and bridleway no. 303/4 shall be planted with tree screening such that within five years of construction there shall be a tree height adjacent to the embankment of at least 5 metres.”

New clause 24—Benefit/cost review of potential Wardington bypass

“(1) The Secretary of State shall commission a review of the potential benefits of constructing a road bypass on the A361 at Wardington in Oxfordshire.

(2) The review shall have regard to possible alleviation of HS2 construction traffic and other traffic, and to other alternatives for such alleviation.

(3) The review shall include estimates of the costs of construction of a bypass and other relevant costs.

(4) The Secretary of State must lay a report on the outcome of the review before both Houses of Parliament.

(a) within three months of this Act receiving Royal Assent; and

(b) before commencement of any HS2 construction works necessitating more than 24 heavy goods vehicle movements through Wardington, per day.”

New clause 25—Protection of bridleways in Oxfordshire

“(1) The nominated undertaker shall take all reasonably practicable steps:

(a) to keep open bridleways in the vicinity of the railway and associated construction works in Oxfordshire; and

(b) to ensure that such bridleways are safely useable for their intended purposes.

(2) Where closure of a bridleway cannot be avoided, the nominated undertaker shall take all reasonably practicable steps:

(a) to keep the duration of the closure to a minimum; and

(b) to provide safe alternative routes on alignments which so far as reasonably practicable avoid proximity to construction works.

(3) Bridleways shall be screened from construction works with appropriately designed screening of a suitable height.

(4) The nominated undertaker shall consult with users of bridleways on suitable ways to implement the duties set forth in subsections (1) to (3).”

New clause 28—Kingsbury railhead special management zone

“(1) There shall be a special management zone for the area of the Kingsbury railhead, which shall include the areas falling under the aegis of the Kingsbury, Lea Marston, Curdworth, Wishaw and Middleton parish councils and north Warwickshire as a whole.

(2) The nominated undertaker will employ a community engagement team for the special management zone, which shall have responsibility for managing community relations, including the referral, escalation, monitoring and resolution of complaints and the provision of timely information about the status of complaints.

(3) The community engagement team will arrange regular meetings of the nominated undertaker, lead contractors, local authorities and local community representatives to discuss construction issues and forthcoming programmes of work.

(4) The community engagement team shall provide advice on support mechanisms and shall implement the HS2 stakeholder engagement framework.

(5) The community engagement team will be staffed by appropriately experienced personnel and will include—

(a) a single point of contact for local authorities; and

(b) named individual points of contact for property owners affected by construction.

(6) Implementation and enforcement of the Code of Construction Practice within the Special Management Zone will be the responsibility of a senior manager within the community engagement team.

(7) The community engagement team will coordinate responses to the construction of Phase One alongside planning of Phase Two.”

New clause 29—Kingsbury railhead restoration

“The Secretary of State must require the nominated undertaker, on completion of Phase One construction, to restore the land and environment at and in the vicinity of the Kingsbury railhead to its state as at the date of Royal Assent to this Act, notwithstanding that mitigation measures to be implemented during construction will include earthworks and bunding.”

New clause 31—Mitigation in environs of Old Oak Common

“(1) Conservation areas in the vicinity of Old Oak Common shall be the subject of special consultation whose objective shall be to mitigate the long-term effects of construction in the area.

(2) The nominated undertaker will use reasonable endeavours to situate heavy goods vehicle entrances to the Old Oak Common construction site as far from residential dwellings in Stephenson Street, Wells House Road and Midland Terrace as is reasonably practicable.”

New clause 34—Mitigation of construction impacts at Canterbury Works vent shaft

“(1) Commencement of construction work at the Canterbury Works vent shaft construction site shall be subject to there being already in place before construction a traffic management scheme.

(2) The traffic management scheme shall include a requirement that construction on the Canterbury Works site does not entail more than 100 individual heavy duty vehicle trips per day (50 arriving and 50 departing).

(3) It shall be a further requirement of the traffic management plan that trips to be made by heavy duty vehicles will avoid the beginning and end of the school day.

(4) The nominated undertaker will require that all heavy duty vehicles entering or employed within the London low emission zones be powered by Euro VI (or lower emission) engines.

(5) The nominated undertaker will undertake regular environmental assessments of dust levels on the premises of St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, particularly in recreational areas such as the playground.

(6) The nominated undertaker will consider on a monthly basis where further measures at source may be required in order to reduce the effects of pollution, and publish its findings.

(7) The Secretary of State will provide the local authorities in the area of the Canterbury Works with the funds they deem necessary for additional road safety measures to ensure children’s safety during construction.

(8) During construction, the nominated undertaker and its contractors must maintain a construction operations website and a telephone helpline staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to handle enquiries from the general public and local business regarding construction activities.

(9) A log shall be kept of all complaints relating to HS2 construction sites, whether those complaints are made to HS2, local authorities or the police, and all complaints, with HS2’s response and action taken in response, should be published prominently on HS2’s website.

(10) Where there is a pattern of repeated infringement of construction site conditions, HS2 will pay compensation to all those affected.

(11) Information regarding vent shaft construction effects and progress must be made clear through advertisements, on social media, email alerts, local radio and newspapers.

(12) Information services must be provided in languages appropriate to the needs of the area, using the results of a demographic survey.”

This new clause seeks to make mitigate the effects of construction at the Canterbury Works site, in particular in relation to air quality and child health and safety.

New clause 35—Mitigation of construction impacts at Alexandra Place

“(1) The nominated undertaker will ensure that any HS2-related construction at the Alexandra Place vent shaft construction site complies with existing air pollution legislation.

(2) The nominated undertaker will explore the possibility of using Loudoun Road for the loading and unloading of heavy duty vehicles and of moving materials by rail on tracks running alongside the proposed vent shaft site and shall implement both possibilities to the full extent possible, with a preference for movement by rail.”

New schedule 1—Adjudicator: Status and Funding—

“1 The Adjudicator shall be a body corporate.

2 (1) Subject to sub-paragraph (3), the Adjudicator shall not be regarded as the servant or agent of the Crown or any enjoying any status immunity or privilege of the Crown.

(2) The members of the Adjudicator and of their staff shall not be regarded as civil servants and the Adjudicator’s property shall not be regarded as property of, or held on behalf of, the Crown.

(3) In relation to any matter as respects which the Adjudicator act by virtue of a direction under Section 1.3 the Adjudicator shall enjoy the same privileges, immunities and exemptions as those enjoyed in relation to that matter by the Secretary of State for Transport.

(4) Subject to the provisions of any enactment, the Adjudicator shall not be exempt from any tax, duty, rate, levy or other charge whatever (whether general or local).

(5) The Adjudicator shall receive such funds from the Secretary of State as he considers that it needs to perform its functions expeditiously and efficiently.

Membership

3 (1) The Adjudicator shall consist of not less than 8 and not more than 17 members.

(2) The members shall be appointed by the Secretary of State, who shall appoint one of them to be chairman and may appoint another of them to be deputy chairman.

(3) In appointing any member, the Secretary of State shall have regard to the desirability of the members as a whole having knowledge or experience of all the following, namely railway construction and operation, the preservation of cultural heritage, town and country planning, ecology, arboriculture, landscape, and air quality.

(4) In appointing members, the Secretary of State shall have regard to the desirability of at least one of them having knowledge of local government (as well as knowledge or experience of one or more of the subjects mentioned in sub-paragraph (3)).

(5) Subject to the following provisions of this paragraph, a chairman, deputy chairman or other member shall hold and vacate office in accordance with the terms of his appointment, but no member shall be appointed for a period of more than 5 years.

(6) A chairman, deputy chairman or member may resign his office by notice in writing addressed to the Secretary of State.

(7) If the Secretary of State is satisfied that a member—

(a) has been absent from meetings of the Adjudicator for a period longer than 3 consecutive months without the consent of the Adjudicator, or

(b) has become bankrupt or has made an arrangement with his creditors, or

(c) is incapacitated by physical or mental illness, or

(d) is otherwise unable or unfit to discharge the functions of a member,

the Secretary of State may remove him from his office

(8) If a chairman or deputy chairman ceases to be a member he shall also cease to be chairman or deputy chairman; and if a chairman or deputy chairman ceases to be chairman or deputy chairman he shall also cease to be a member.

(9) A person who ceases to be a member, otherwise than by virtue of sub-paragraph (7), or ceases to be chairman or deputy chairman, shall be eligible for re-appointment.

Staff

4 (1) There shall be a chief officer of the Adjudicator who shall be appointed by the Adjudicator with the approval of the Secretary of State.

(2) The chief officer shall be responsible to the Adjudicator for the general exercise of the Adjudicator’s functions and may, subject to the directions of the Adjudicator, exercise all the powers of the Adjudicator either himself or through nominated staff members.

(3) The Adjudicator may appoint such other employees as the Adjudicator thinks fit.

(4) The Adjudicator shall pay to their employees such remuneration and allowances as the Adjudicator may determine.

(5) The employees shall be appointed on such other terms and conditions as the Adjudicator may determine.

(6) The Adjudicator may pay such pensions, allowances or gratuities as they may determine to or in respect of any of their employees, make such payments as they may determine towards the provision of pensions, allowances or gratuities to or in respect of any of their employees or provide and maintain such schemes as they may determine (whether contributory or not) for the payment of pensions, allowances or gratuities to or in respect of any of their employees.

(7) The references in sub-paragraph (6) to pensions, allowances or gratuities to or in respect of any employees include references to pensions, allowances or gratuities by way of compensation to or in respect of employees who suffer loss of office or employment.

(8) A determination under sub-paragraph (4), (5) or (6) is ineffective unless made with the approval of the Secretary of State given with the Treasury’s consent.

(9) The Adjudicator shall make, not later than such date as the Secretary of State may determine, an offer of employment by the Adjudicator to each person employed in the civil service of the State whose name is notified to the Adjudicator by the Secretary of State for the purposes of this paragraph.

(10) The terms of the offer shall be such that they are, taken as a whole, not less favourable to the person to whom the offer is made than the terms on which he is employed on the date on which the offer is made.

(11) In determining whether the terms of the offer are more or less favourable to that person than those enjoyed by him on the date of the offer no account shall be taken of the fact that employment with the Adjudicator is not employment in the service of the Crown.

(12) An offer made in pursuance of this paragraph shall not be revocable during the period of 3 months beginning with the date on which it is made.

(13) Where a person becomes an employee of the Adjudicator in consequence of this paragraph, then, for the purposes of his period of employment in the civil service of the State shall count as a period of employment by the Adjudicator and the change of employment shall not break the continuity of the period of employment.

(14) Any dispute arising under this paragraph as to whether or not the terms of any employment offered by the Adjudicator are, taken as a whole, less favourable than those applying to a person’s employment in the civil service of the State shall be referred to and determined by an employment tribunal.

(15) An employment tribunal shall not consider a complaint whereby a dispute mentioned in sub-paragraph (6) is referred to it unless the complaint is presented to the tribunal before the end of the period of 3 months beginning with the date of the offer of employment or within such further period as the tribunal considers reasonable in a case where it is satisfied that it was not reasonably practicable for the complaint to be presented before the end of the period of 3 months.

(16) An appeal shall lie to the Employment Appeal Tribunal on a question of law arising from any decision of, or arising in proceedings before, an employment tribunal under this paragraph; and no appeal shall lie except to the Employment Appeal Tribunal from any decision of an employment tribunal under this paragraph.

Proceedings

5 Subject to the following provisions of this Schedule, the Adjudicator may regulate their own procedure (including quorum).

6 (1) A member of the Adjudicator who is in any way directly or indirectly interested in a contract made or proposed to be made by the Adjudicator or by HS2 Limited or by any Nominated Undertaker appointed by the Secretary of State, or in any other matter which falls to be considered by the Adjudicator, shall disclose the nature of his interest at a meeting of the Adjudicator.

(2) The disclosure shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

(3) A member shall not—

(a) where a contract in which the member is interested is under consideration, take part in the deliberations on or decision about the contract; and

(b) where any other matter in which the member is interested is under consideration, take part in the deliberations on or decision about the matter if the Adjudicator decide that the member’s interest might prejudicially affect his consideration of the matter.

(4) For the purposes of this paragraph, a notice given by a member at a meeting of the Adjudicator to the effect that he is a member of a specified body corporate or firm and is to be regarded as interested in any contract which is made with the body corporate or firm after the date of the notice, and in any other matter concerning the body corporate or firm which falls to be considered after that date, shall be a sufficient disclosure of his interest.

(5) A member need not attend in person at a meeting of the Adjudicator in order to make a disclosure which he is required to make under this paragraph if he takes reasonable steps to secure that the disclosure is made by a notice which is taken into consideration and read at such a meeting.

(6) The validity of any proceedings of the Adjudicator shall not be affected by any vacancy among the members, or by any defect in the appointment of any person as a member or chairman or deputy chairman, or by a failure to comply with paragraph 6.

Committees

7 (1) The Adjudicator shall constitute at least one committee to advise them on ecology and at least one to advise them on compliance by HS2 Ltd with its obligations under the Environmental Statement and at least one to advise them on the efficacy of such compensation schemes which are implemented by HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport and may constitute other committees to advise them on those or other aspects of their functions.

(2) The Adjudicator may include as members of committees persons who are not members of the Adjudicator.

(3) The Adjudicator may regulate the proceedings (including quorum) of committees.

(4) The Adjudicator may pay to the members of any committee such reasonable allowances in respect of expenses or loss of remuneration as the Secretary of State may determine with the Treasury’s approval.

Instruments

8 (1) The fixing of the seal of the Adjudicator shall be authenticated by the signature of the chairman of or some other person authorised either generally or specially by the Adjudicator to act for that purpose.

(2) A document purporting to be duly executed under the seal of the Adjudicator, or to be signed on the Adjudicator’s behalf, shall be received in evidence and, unless the contrary is proved, be deemed to be so executed or signed.

Members Remuneration

9 (1) The Adjudicator shall pay to members of the Adjudicator such remuneration and such allowances in respect of expenses as the Secretary of State may determine with the Treasury’s approval.

(2) In the case of any such member or past member of the Adjudicator as the Secretary of State may with the Treasury’s approval determine, the Adjudicator shall pay such pension, allowance or gratuity to or in respect of him, or make such payment towards the provision of such a pension, allowance or gratuity, as the Secretary of State may so determine.

(3) Where a person ceases to be a member of the Adjudicator, and it appears to the Secretary of State that there are special circumstances which make it right for that person to receive compensation, the Secretary of State may, with the Treasury’s approval, direct the Adjudicator to make to that person a payment of such amount as the Secretary of State may determine with the Treasury’s approval.

Accounts

10 (1) The Adjudicator shall keep proper accounts and proper records in relation to them.

(2) The Adjudicator shall prepare a statement of accounts in respect of each financial year.

(3) The statement shall give a true and fair view of the state of the Adjudicator’s affairs at the end of the financial year and of the Adjudicator’s income and expenditure in the financial year.

(4) The statement shall—

(a) be prepared within such period as the Secretary of State may direct; and

(b) comply with any directions given by the Secretary of State with the Treasury’s consent as to the information to be contained in the statement, the manner in which the information is to be presented or the methods and principles according to which the statement is to be prepared.

(5) The accounts in respect of each financial year ending on or before 31st March 2018 (including any statement of accounts in respect of each such financial year prepared under this paragraph) shall be audited by persons appointed in respect of each financial year by the Secretary of State.

(6) No person shall be appointed auditor under this paragraph unless he is—

(a) eligible for appointment as a statutory auditor under Part 42 of the Companies Act 2006; or

(b) a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy; but a firm may be so appointed if each of its members is qualified to be so appointed.

(7) Where the Adjudicator has prepared a statement of accounts in respect of a financial year ending on or after 31st March 2016, it must, as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of the financial year to which the statement relates, send a copy of the statement to the Comptroller and Auditor General.

(8) The Comptroller and Auditor General shall examine, certify and report on any statement of accounts sent to him under sub-paragraph (7).

(9) In this paragraph “financial year” means the period commencing with the day of the Adjudicator’s establishment and ending with the second 31 March following that day, and each successive period of 12 months.

Information

11 (1) The Adjudicator shall make to the Secretary of State, as soon as may be practicable after the end of each financial year, a report on the exercise of their functions since the last report was made or (in the case of the first) since the Adjudicator’s establishment.

(2) Each report shall include a copy of the statement of accounts prepared and audited under paragraph 11 in respect of the financial year and, where the statement has been audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General, a copy of his report on it.

(3) Each report of the Adjudicator shall include a statement of action taken by the Adjudicator concerning—

(a) The compliance by HS2 Ltd with the commitments made in the Phase 1 Environmental Statement,

(b) The adequacy of the mitigation measures undertaken by HS2 Limited and any Nominated Undertaker concerning construction of the line,

(c) Recommendations concerning any additional mitigation measures required to ensure adequate environmental mitigation,

(d) The assessment of reasonable practicability undertaken by the nominated undertaker,

(e) The Secretary of State shall lay a copy of each report of the Adjudicator before each House of Parliament,

(f) As soon as may be after receiving any report made by the auditors on any accounts audited under paragraph 12 or, as the case may be, made by the Comptroller and Auditor General on any statement of accounts prepared under that paragraph, the Adjudicator shall send a copy of the report to the Secretary of State,

(g) The Adjudicator shall furnish the Secretary of State with such information relating to their property and the discharge and proposed discharge of their functions as he may require, and for that purpose they shall permit any person authorised by him to inspect and make copies of any accounts or other documents of the Adjudicator and shall give such explanation of them as that person or the Secretary of State may require and

(h) In this paragraph “financial year” has the same meaning as in paragraph 10.

House of Commons disqualification

12 (1) In Part III of Schedule 1 to the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975 (disqualifying offices), there shall be inserted at the appropriate place in alphabetical order—

(2) “Any member, in receipt of remuneration, of the Adjudicator.””

New schedule 2—Designated areas and classes for vehicles (Specific)—

“Designated area

The A452 road, Balsall Common, between its junction with Windmill Lane and the bridge over the Rugby and Birmingham railway.

Designated class

A vehicle exceeding 8 tonnes.

Designated area

Waste Lane, Balsall Common, between its junction with the A452 and the eastern junction with Old Waste Lane.

Designated class

A vehicle exceeding 8 tonnes.

Designated area

The Kenilworth Greenway.

Designated class

Any vehicle except a vehicle crossing from one side of the designated area to a point immediately opposite.”

New schedule 3—Designated areas and classes for vehicles (Generic)—

“Any designated areas

The designated area or areas in which a designated class or designated classes of vehicles are to be expressly prohibited shall be defined by the Secretary of State after consultation with local interested parties. They shall be contained in regulations to be made by statutory instrument, which shall not be made unless a draft thereof has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.

Any designated class

A vehicle exceeding 8 tonnes, unless otherwise defined in relation to a particular designated area in regulations to be issued by the Secretary of State as above.”

Amendment 1, in clause 1, page 1, line 4, after “1,” insert

“subject to subsections 1A, 1D, 1G, 1I, 1O and 1T”

This amendment seeks to prevent any surface railway route through The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and ensure that any railway within the AONB be built in a fully-bored tunnel.

Amendment 2, page 1, line 6, at end insert—

“(1A) The nominated undertaker shall not exercise powers granted under section 1 to construct a surface railway route within the boundaries of The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (Chilterns AONB).

(1B) Any railway constructed as part of Phase One of High Speed 2 and within the boundaries of the Chilterns AONB shall be built as an extension to the bored tunnel in this area, which is planned through the works specified in Schedule 1 of this Act.

(1C) In this section, the Chilterns AONB shall mean the area of outstanding natural beauty designated within the Chilterns under section 82(1) of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.”

This amendment seeks to prevent any surface railway route through The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and ensure that any railway within the AONB be built in a fully-bored tunnel.

Amendment 3, page 1, line 6, at end insert—

“(1D) The nominated undertaker shall not exercise powers granted under section 1 to build a surface railway route within the boundaries of The Chilterns Area of Natural Beauty (Chilterns AONB).

(1E) To fulfil railway construction requirements for Phase One of High Speed 2 within this area, the nominated undertaker shall pursue an extension of the bored tunnel which is planned through works specified in Schedule 1, via a Transport and Works Act order as provided for in section 52 of this Act, or via such other procedure as shall ensure an opportunity for appropriate public participation and objection.

(1F) In this section, the Chilterns AONB shall mean the area of outstanding natural beauty designated within the Chilterns under section 82(1) of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.”

This amendment seeks to prevent any surface railway route through The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and require the nominated undertaker to pursue an extension of the existing bored tunnel outside of this legislation.

Amendment 14, page 1, line 6, at end insert—

“(1G) Any railway constructed as part of Phase One of High Speed 2 and within the boundaries of the Chilterns AONB shall, between South Heath and Leather Lane, east of the A413 Aylesbury Road in Buckinghamshire, be built within bored tunnel.

(1H) The works referred to in subsection (1G) shall be pursued by means of a Transport and Works Act order or such other procedure as shall ensure an opportunity for appropriate public participation and objection.

(1I) In this section, the Chilterns AONB shall mean the area of outstanding natural beauty designated within the Chilterns under section 82(1) of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.”

This amendment would seek to provide partial further protection of the Chilterns AONB by extending the bored tunnel northward from South Heath for a further mile.

Amendment 5, page 1, line 6, at end insert—

“(1I) The nominated undertaker shall not exercise powers to commence any works specified in this Clause, or any other construction works connected to Phase One of High Speed Rail 2, until a cost benefit analysis of the environmental impacts of such works has been completed.

(1J) The cost benefit analysis must include, but shall not be restricted to, an assessment of the environmental impacts of Phase One of High Speed Rail 2 and connected construction works in The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

(1K) The cost benefit analysis shall be undertaken by a review panel, the membership of which must include, but shall not be restricted to, representatives from—

(a) Buckinghamshire County Council,

(b) Chiltern District Council,

(c) Aylesbury Vale District Council,

(d) Wycombe District Council,

(e) The Chilterns Conservation Board,

(f) Natural England,

(g) Environment Agency,

(h) Key community groups,

(i) HS2 Ltd, and

(j) The Department for Transport.

The panel shall be funded and facilitated by the nominated undertaker.

(1L) Within twelve weeks after the date on which this Act comes into force the Panel must report its conclusions and recommendations to the Secretary of State.

(1M) If the Secretary of State rejects any recommendation made by the panel he must—

(a) make publicly available the reasons for doing so, and

(b) demonstrate how any environmental cost that would have been addressed by the rejected recommendation will otherwise be mitigated.

(1N) Any deviation from works specified in this Schedule required as a result of the panel’s recommendations shall be pursued via a Transport and Works Act order, as provided for in section 52 of this Act, or via such other procedure as shall ensure an opportunity for appropriate public participation and objection.”

This amendment seeks to make progress of any construction works connected to Phase One of High Speed Rail 2 conditional on the completion of an environmental cost benefit analysis.

Amendment 6, page 1, line 6, at end insert—

“(1O) The nominated undertaker shall not exercise powers to commence any works specified in this Schedule, or any other construction works connected to Phase One of High Speed Rail 2, until a full reassessment of tunnelling methodology as applied to an extended bored tunnel under The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, has been completed.

(1P) The reassessment shall be conducted by a panel of experts and other relevant parties, to be appointed, funded and facilitated by the nominated undertaker.

(1Q) Within twelve weeks of this Act coming into force, the panel must report its conclusions and any recommendations to HS2 and the Secretary of State.

(1R) If the Secretary of State rejects any recommendation made by the panel he must—

(a) make publicly available the reasons for doing so, and

(b) provide a cost benefit analysis of any alternative proposal to that recommended by the panel.

(1S) Any deviation from works specified in this Schedule required as a result of the panel’s recommendations shall be pursued through a Transport and Works Act order, as provided for in section 52 of this Act or such other procedure as shall ensure an opportunity for appropriate public participation and objection.”

This amendment would make progress of any works connected to Phase One of High Speed Rail 2 conditional on the completion of a reassessment of tunnelling methodology for an extended bored tunnel under part of The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Amendment 7, page 1, line 6, at end insert—

“(1T) The nominated undertaker shall not exercise powers to commence any works specified in this Schedule, or any other construction works connected to Phase One of High Speed Rail 2, until a full assessment of traffic management requirements has been completed.

(1U) The assessment shall be conducted by a panel of experts and other relevant parties, to be appointed, funded and facilitated by HS2 Ltd.

(1V) Within sixteen weeks of this Act coming into force the panel must report its conclusions to the Secretary of State. The report must include but shall not be limited to—

(a) a full assessment of traffic management requirements consequential to any works specified in this Schedule, and

(b) detailed proposals outlining how such requirements shall be addressed.”

This amendment would make progress of any works connected to Phase One of High Speed Rail 2 conditional on the completion of an assessment of traffic management requirements and implementation of solutions to address such requirements.

Amendment 8, page 1, line 6, at end insert—

“(1A) In exercising the powers in this Bill, the nominated undertaker shall have regard to the desirability of minimising the number of gantries to be installed to provide power to the railway, in particular in areas of outstanding natural beauty designated by statute and in other areas of particularly high environmental value and sensitivity, and shall consult with local communities in designing plans for gantry installation.”

Amendment 11, page 1, line 6, at end insert—

“(1A) The nominated undertaker shall not exercise powers granted under section 1 to construct a surface railway route between Burton Green, Warwickshire, and Mercote Hall Lane east of Hampton-in-Arden, Solihull.

(1B) Any railway constructed as part of Phase One of High Speed 2 between Burton Green, Warwickshire, and Mercote Hall Lane east of Hampton-in-Arden, Solihull, shall be built as an extension to the tunnel at Burton Green, which is planned through the works specified in Schedule 1 of this Act.”

Amendment 17, page 1, line 6, at end insert—

“(1A) The nominated undertaker shall not exercise powers to commence any works specified in schedule 1 relating to Canterbury Works in Brent, London until a cost benefit analysis of the environmental impacts of such works has been completed.

(1B) The cost benefit analysis shall be undertaken by a review panel, the membership of which must include, but shall not be restricted to, representatives from—

(a) HS2 Ltd;

(b) Department for Transport;

(c) Brent Council;

(d) Environment Agency; and

(e) Key community groups

(1C) The panel shall be funded and facilitated by the nominated undertaker.

(1D) Within twenty weeks after the date on which this Act comes into force, the panel must report its conclusions and recommendations to the Secretary of State.

(1E) If the Secretary of State rejects any recommendation made by the panel he must make publicly available the reasons for doing so and must demonstrate how any environmental cost that would have been addressed by the rejected recommendation will otherwise be mitigated.”

This amendment seeks to make construction at the Canterbury Works site subject to an environmental cost benefit analysis.

Amendment 12, in clause 20, page 9, line 6, at end insert—

“(1A) The deemed planning permissions in subsection (1) shall be made subject to the approval of the external appearance of the works by the relevant parish or town council,

(1B) The approval of the external appearance referred to in subsection (1A) shall not be withheld unreasonably, and shall be determined by the relevant parish or town council within four weeks of the submission by the nominated undertaker of full details of the external appearance of the proposed works to the proper officer of the council.”

Amendment 16, in clause 29, page 12, line 29, at end insert—

“(2) Any reconfiguration of utilities taking place pursuant to this Bill at Wormwood Scrubs Common will be undertaken with regard to the value of Wormwood Scrubs Common as an amenity, and shall not involve the creation of any permanent pedestrian or vehicular access.”

Amendment 9, in clause 31, page 13, line 30, at end insert—

“(5A) The Secretary of State shall, within one year of Royal Assent, consult on and prepare plans for the undergrounding of all overhead power lines over a height of 15m in areas of particularly high environmental value or sensitivity, and shall within one year thereafter introduce legislation or alternative regulatory measures (to the extent such measures are required) to permit such undergrounding to take place by the end of 2020.”

This amendment is intended to compensate for the physical effects of the railway in certain areas by removing existing obtrusive and unappealing infrastructure.

Amendment 10, page 13, line 30, at end insert—

“(5A) The Secretary of State shall, within one year of Royal Assent, consult on and prepare plans for the undergrounding of all overhead power lines in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty over a height of 15m, and shall within one year thereafter introduce legislation or alternative regulatory measures (to the extent such measures are required) to permit such undergrounding to take place by the end of 2020.

(5B) In this section, “Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” shall mean the area of outstanding natural beauty in the Chilterns designated under section 82(1) of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.”

This amendment is intended to compensate for the physical effects of the railway in the Chilterns AONB by removing existing obtrusive and unappealing infrastructure.

Amendment 13, in schedule 1, page 79, leave out lines 47 to 50.

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New clause 6 relates to the Chiltern review group. The Chiltern area of outstanding natural beauty, which has been a designated landscape for more than 50 years, is the only AONB affected by phase 1 of HS2. As it stands, 8.8 km of the AONB is still exposed to the line and remains untunnelled and above ground. It will be a permanent scar on the landscape, and the effects will be irreversible. A Chilterns AONB review group would provide local authorities and key stakeholders with the opportunity to identify greater measures of mitigation and work collaboratively with the promoter to ensure that this precious area was protected to the highest possible level during the construction and operation of the railway.

When the project was first announced, I was assured that local people would have a chance to input their views and expertise into the plans for HS2, but, so far, those opportunities have been limited. This group of amendments would make sure that local people and councils had genuine influence over the future of their area, which will, I believe, be irretrievably damaged by HS2.

New clause 7 concerns trees. When I petitioned the HS2 hybrid Bill Select Committee, one of my requests was to ensure that HS2 fulfilled the Government’s promise to plant and maintain 2 million trees. The trees that were planted following HS1 were not properly maintained, and, as a result, many of them died. I asked for an undertaking from HS2 to that effect, but that has not been forthcoming.

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I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for giving way. Is not new clause 7 actually defective? There does not appear to be any duty to replant trees that have died.

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My right hon. Friend makes a valid point. He will notice that there are a large number of amendments on the Order Paper in my name. I have not had the advantage of parliamentary draftsmen; I have had only lawyers, friends and my own wits, with the Clerks of the House to fall back on. However, I think that as a probing amendment, new clause 7 will make its point.

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Does my right hon. Friend agree that the problem of trees and ancient woodland demonstrates not only a lack of commitment but a deep lack of understanding by HS2 of these environmental issues?

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My hon. Friend makes a good point. I remember considering the matter in a debate in Westminster Hall, which I believe he led. Like me, he is a passionate and long-term supporter of the Woodland Trust, which does valuable work to preserve our precious ancient woodland and to create more native woods.

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I was at the debate about ancient woodland to which my right hon. Friend referred. Does she agree that more ought to be done to try to protect those precious ancient woodland habitats? I understand the economic reasons, but what about the ancient woodland?

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My hon. Friend has already made a name for herself in the House for defending our environment, and I hope that she long continues to do so. I agree with her entirely. The Woodland Trust wants ancient woodland to be removed from the “no net loss” calculation, and it is disappointed that HS2 has not done everything that it should or could do to avoid the loss of ancient woodland.

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I am sure that the right hon. Lady will acknowledge that when HS2’s original estimate of the amount of ancient woodland was reviewed by the Woodland Trust, that estimate was increased by 78%. It is appalling that the initial environmental survey conducted by HS2 did not record accurately the amount of ancient woodland involved.

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The hon. Gentleman’s point about inaccurate assessments is, I am afraid, repeated throughout dealings with HS2. This is a particularly bad example. The Woodland Trust petitioned HS2 for a minimum planting ratio of 30:1 to compensate for the fact that irreplaceable habitats will be lost, and the planting of 2 million trees along the wider route is just the starting point. I would have hoped that that could be put in the Bill, which would have made the provision legally binding and ensured that at least some structured replanting and maintenance took place.

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May I underline our commitment to no net environmental loss and our commitment to plant 2 million trees, which will be managed to the best arboricultural standards? One of the problems that we had with the assessment of ancient woodland was getting access to land to carry out such assessments, because some landowners would not grant us access. That will not be a problem with further phases, because we have taken those powers as part of the Bill.

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I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that clarification. I wish I could take it at face value.

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As I am sure the right hon. Lady agrees, the Minister’s assurance that there will be no net loss is not worth the air time it is given. Ancient woodland is, of course, as Natural England precisely characterises it, “irreplaceable”. The idea that there can be no net loss of something that is irreplaceable is simply a contradiction in terms.

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The hon. Gentleman makes a very valid point. Quite frankly, the fact that anybody actually says they would replace ancient woodland just shows the ignorance of some of the people dealing with this matter.

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rose

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The Minister is determined to get in again. As we have not heard a lot from him, I will give way.

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May I just make the point that translocation of ancient woodland soils is recognised by Natural England as an important mechanism for aiding the creation of ecologically valuable woodlands? If properly planned and undertaken, that can be an important element of compensatory measures, where the loss of ancient woodland is unavoidable.

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I again thank the Minister for that clarification.

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I am very concerned about the protection of ancient pastureland. In one particularly egregious case in my constituency, HS2 Ltd suggested that it replace ancient woodland on ancient pastureland, which is even rarer and more valuable.

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rose—

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I think my right hon. and learned Friend has had a similar experience.

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My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. Those managing pastureland to produce wild flowers were told that, after years of husbandry, somebody was going to stick a wood on it. HS2’s reaction was simply to find a bit of land on which to stick some trees.

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I make no comment. That speaks for itself.

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Will the right hon. Lady give way?

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I think I have given way enough to the hon. Gentleman. I want to make some progress because so many Members want to speak on this group of amendments, and we have so little time.

I have tabled new clauses, drafted by a very senior lawyer, on a proposal that is of particular importance to everybody—the adjudicator. The proposal is of great importance and would improve the project immeasurably. New clause 8 provides for an independent regulatory body regularly to review and monitor progress during construction, and to hold HS2 to account in delivering what has been promised in environmental and other mitigations. The construction commissioner or complaints commissioner proposed by the Department for Transport simply will not have the remit or the expertise to monitor such a large project. In addition, it can only cover claims of up to £7,500. I believe we need truly independent scrutiny by an independent body. Some of the panel members should have relevant expertise, and most importantly, it should have enforcement powers.

The history of this project is full of errors and omissions, including the downplaying of the environmental impacts, together with the “It will be fine” and “The people along HS1 did not complain” attitude of the promoter. We cannot trust what HS2 is currently offering. At the moment, it is in effect responsible for policing itself.

The Government assure us that the environmental minimum requirements and the code of construction practice offer the necessary protections, but close examination of the documents does not provide such reassurance. The devil is always in the detail. In practice, it means that although HS2 is required to adopt measures to reduce the adverse environmental effects reported in the environmental statement, it only has to do so

“provided that such measures are reasonably practicable and do not add unreasonable cost or delay to the construction or operation of the project”.

In effect, that gives the nominated undertaker, which is in charge of monitoring itself, a “get out of jail free” card.

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Is my right hon. Friend as concerned as I am that if HS2 is its own policeman, corners will be cut when the budget comes under further pressure, as it undoubtedly will, and local people and the environment will suffer as a result?

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I think that will happen. Once this project is on its way, it will be easy to say that this would delay it or that would cost more. Presumably, it will be very easy for HS2 to say that almost any environmental mitigation could cause delays to the project and add to the cost, and therefore that it is not reasonably practical to implement it.

I have looked at the complaints process. It cannot be sensible or practical to have a complaints process that ends up with the Speaker of the House as the adjudicator of last resort for dispute resolution in relation to the construction of HS2 and, most importantly, the implementation of environmental mitigation. I do not want to be fobbed off by the Minister with reassurances that the Department for Transport has covered it all with the construction commissioner, because we can be very sure that it has not. We owe the people burdened with this project, and the communities that are being destroyed, that extra level of scrutiny and protection, and somebody whom they can turn to immediately.

My remaining new clauses concern the tunnels and the look of this project in my constituency. I will summarise those points briefly because many people want to speak. It is not fair to say that my constituency has not been protected at all by additional tunnelling. As the Minister said in his opening remarks—I am told I am to be very grateful—there will now be a tunnel for two thirds of my constituency. My constituents are grateful for that, but 8.8 km of the route through the area of outstanding natural beauty is outside the tunnel. When we are doing such brilliant tunnelling with Crossrail 2, and when we know that tunnelling expertise in this country leads the world, why are we not using that to tunnel under a nationally protected piece of the environment? I have tabled these new clauses to remind the Minister that we will not give up on this issue at any stage, and I hope that the House of Lords will also give it due consideration.

I have tabled an amendment on traffic, which is important because the traffic assessments from HS2 have been atrocious. I have also tabled amendments on pylons, and the possibility that we will be able to take the opportunity offered by HS2’s construction phase to ensure that if pylons are above ground, they are designed to fit in with the countryside, but that if possible they could be placed underground.

I see that you are getting anxious, Madam Deputy Speaker, as am I, because the Government have not given us enough time to do justice to these new clauses. I am sorry that I have not been able to deploy all my arguments, but in the interest of allowing others to speak, and knowing that time has been taken out of this debate by the Opposition’s forcing a vote on something that is not relevant to now or to my constituents, I will let others speak.

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New clause 22 deals with Euston, which is in the middle of my constituency. It is not easy to convey to the House the devastating impact that HS2 will have on my constituency, but let me try. HS2 will come into Primrose Hill and crash through to Euston, destroying everything in its path.

Let me give the House the sheer numbers affecting my constituency: 2,986 people live within 60 metres of the construction site, a further 3,186 live within 120 metres, and 11,414 within 300 metres. That is 17,568 people in my constituency within 300 metres of the construction site. Some 220 family houses will be demolished, and up 1,000 people will lose their homes. Unless there is a plan for an integrated station at Euston, there is the risk that another 150 family homes will be lost, affecting another 600 people—1,600 people are at risk of losing their home.

Many of the family homes that are not destroyed will be affected by noise, and, according to HS2’s own figures, 1,025 family homes—that is 4,000 people—will be affected by noise that requires mitigating measures. Measures are already in place to consider up to another 850 homes and another 3,400 people. Some 7,000 people in my constituency could need noise mitigation measures because of what will happen with HS2 at Euston.

That is not the end of it. If Euston is redeveloped, 3.5 million tonnes of spoil will need to be removed from the site, which is the equivalent of 26 miles of tunnelling for Crossrail. All that must come out of Euston, and there is no guarantee or assurance that that will be done by rail. The net effect for my constituents is the risk of 800 two-way lorry movements a day to remove that spoil, and 90% of those lorries will be HGVs.

That brings me on to air quality, which is notoriously bad in London. It is particularly bad in the Euston area, and the HS2 environmental statement indicates that HS2 will have a substantial impact on nitrogen dioxide levels in a third of locations in the Euston area. If that was not enough on its own—it will have a devastating impact on the constituency—let me throw in two further factors.

The first factor is time. The original HS2 Bill was premised on the completion of a new HS2 station at Euston by 2026. For my constituents, that seemed like a long time. In September 2015, the Government lodged “Additional Provisions 3”, their current plans for Euston. A new station is now to be developed in three phases. Stage A, to the west of the existing station, involves the construction between 2017 and 2026 of six platforms needed for phase 1. Stage B2, the construction in the second phase of further platforms within the existing station but not all of it, is intended to be completed by 2033. The redevelopment of the existing station, stage B2, is unfunded and unplanned, and may begin before or after 2033—half a station in twice the time.

Another factor—there are more I could add to this litany of devastation in Holborn and St Pancras—is that even in 2033, having endured a construction site for the best part of 20 years, my constituents will not see a complete and integrated station in their constituency. On 1 December 2015, Tim Mould QC, HS2’s counsel, outlined to the Select Committee that a new integrated station at Euston is

“not deliverable within appropriate funding constraints”

and that this is the assessment of

“the government, the Chancellor, the Prime Minister”.

There is no timetable for Government funding to complete the final phase. As a result of the lack of planning and integration, Crossrail 2, which hopes to have an integrated station, is now planning on the basis that it may have to build part of its station in Somers Town, removing 150 buildings and displacing another 600 people—half a station in twice the time, with twice the damage.

A child born next year in my constituency will grow up and leave home knowing nothing but construction work. A pensioner beginning retirement at 70 next year will live out their entire retirement knowing nothing but construction work around them. It is no wonder that at every meeting and everywhere I go in my constituency, anxiety is etched on the faces of everybody who talks to me about HS2. It is an appalling situation, one that is wholly unacceptable on any basis.

I was elected to represent the people of Holborn and St Pancras. It is my privilege to do so; it is also my duty. I speak to each and every one of my constituents when I say that I will stand with them and fight with them to resist the wholly unacceptable damage that HS2 will bring to our communities.

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I will be extremely brief on the issue of the adjudicator. I listened very carefully to what the hon. and learned Member for Holborn and St Pancras (Keir Starmer) said and I have great sympathy with all the points he makes. This is why I am bound to say that I find it so odd that the Government will not accept the creative idea of having an office of the HS2 adjudicator. The scale of the project makes it desirable to have an independent arbitration authority to resolve the inevitable disputes that will arise over the way in which the scheme is carried out. If I may say so to the Minister, I would have thought it very much in the Government’s interests to accept this idea; otherwise, the burden will inevitably fall on Members of Parliament whose constituencies are affected, and the House’s time will be taken up with constant arguments about how HS2 is not observing its obligations or carrying out the work in accordance with the intention it originally presented.

This is going to cause massive problems for the Minister and his Department and will probably clog up some of the House’s business time. It is all the more reason to have an independent adjudicator who is approachable exactly like an ombudsman and who can take on some of that burden and do it professionally and in a manner that reassures people and commands respect. I therefore strongly urge the Minister to accept new clause 8. It would be regrettable if the Government did not, because, as I say, an extra burden would fall on their shoulders as a result of the many problems that will inevitably arise during construction of the project.

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I wish to speak to new clause 22 on the construction of an integrated station at Euston.

There have been many discussions and consultations between HS2 and Camden Borough Council about Euston, and the new clause draws on the assurances that HS2 gave to Camden. The thrust behind this long and technical new clause reflects the fact that the redevelopment of Euston presents an enormous opportunity to build something of real worth to accommodate not only the station to the west for HS2 phase 1 and all its works but the redevelopment of the mainline station, and to take into account the requirements of phase 1 and, in due course, phase 2, including in anticipation of Crossrail 2 in the fullness of time.

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The hon. Gentleman is right to talk about the integration between Crossrail and Euston and what might be possible at Euston, but does he agree that it is completely mad that HS2, which will be coming from the north, does not go to St Pancras or even connect with HS1 to enable people to travel to the continent?

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That point has been raised several times. The intention, as expressed in the documents, is to have a pedestrian connection between them.

An overarching approach to an integrated station would not only take account of all the anticipated works but achieve the objectives of securing the best possible outcomes for the residents of Camden and minimising the enormous disruption they will undoubtedly suffer. Many properties will be demolished and other properties will be in extremely close proximity to the works; public open spaces will be lost; there will be fleets of heavy goods vehicles and commercial vehicles; and noise pollution will undoubtedly disrupt the peaceable enjoyment of many properties, including in places such as Cobourg Street, which is a tranquil community with a quiet courtyard at its heart, notwithstanding its close proximity to busy traffic and the railway station. Businesses in streets like Drummond Street will also be disturbed.

We are asking the good people of Camden to put up with a great deal and to make huge sacrifices for the benefit of the nation, and Labour has tried to do all it can, in new clause 22 and in Committee, to mitigate the impact on the quality of life for residents. We acknowledge the sincerity of the Minister and his colleagues in working to that objective, but we take the view that this is so important that the assurances given ought to be in the Bill and have the full force of law.

We seek to minimise the amount of excavated material and construction materials transported into and around the site by road and to have as much as possible moved by rail. Camden Council has developed a Euston area plan, and we propose that any designs for the enlarged Euston station take full cognisance of that plan and other such framework documents and relevant guidance. The assurances talk of various boards, including the Euston strategic board, the Euston station strategic redevelopment board and the Euston integrated programme board, which bring together a number of prescribed partners. We seek to ensure that the nominated undertaker—the relevant body carrying out the HS2 works—is obliged to participate in those boards, as the assurances given by HS2 so describe.

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Does the hon. Gentleman agree that if Euston station were holistically designed and developed, it would provide a huge opportunity for regeneration in the Euston area and produce a lot of good quality local affordable housing to replace some of the affordable housing that will be devastated by HS2?

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I agree entirely with the hon. Gentleman’s intervention. That is the thrust of our new clause, which I trust he will support. It stipulates that the redevelopment board will advise the Secretary of State on the delivery of an “integrated and comprehensive design” for the enlarged Euston station, and it is for the integrated programme board to make sure that the designs and construction plans for Euston fit with proposals for other Euston schemes.

Access is a real issue, so while the construction is under way, which it will be for many years, we want to ensure that pedestrians and cyclists have continuous access through the site, east to west and north to south, insofar as it is “reasonably practicable” to do so. A design panel will work to ensure that the relevant partners can agree an appropriate design. Whoever is appointed for these purposes by HS2 will be obliged to work with that panel to ensure full buy-in to the design. Indeed, there will be an obligation on the nominated undertaker to take proper notice of the recommendations made by the design panel, and if for some reason the nominated undertaker does not follow those recommendations, our new clause states that it will be required to explain why that is so. The new clause makes sure that the community is properly engaged throughout the construction works at Euston so that its concerns will be recognised and its voice heard.

The provision is even more important, given today’s publication of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s report on a complaint about HS2. It effectively concludes that there are fundamental problems with the way HS2 Ltd communicates with the residents affected by their plans and the way it handles complaints.

The report dealt with specific complaints, but it is worrying that the Chairman of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee has said:

“There is still a culture of defensive communication and misinformation within this public body and that is not acceptable. Unless those responsible for delivering HS2 understand that first and foremost they serve the public, they will continue to be criticised for having complete disregard for the people, some of them vulnerable, who are impacted by this large-scale infrastructure project.”

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rose

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If my hon. Friend would not mind, I am conscious of my time drifting away.

The Chairman continued:

“We expect HS2 Ltd to prioritise its response to Ian Bynoe’s forthcoming recommendations on communication and engagement and on complaint handling. This is a matter of primary importance for HS2 Ltd, and must be treated as such.”

I trust that the Minister will take on board the criticisms of the Committee and make sure that any necessary cultural and other changes are made so that there is no such repetition. I urge him further to consider, even at this late stage, accepting our representations in the context of this new clause.

The new clause also provides that when the Secretary of State sets out the Government’s periodic railway investment plans, in what we have come to term “control periods”, he or she should set out the costs of and funding for the anticipated works in the planning period before the works start and during the control period in which the works will fall.

Yes, previous infrastructure projects have had similar assurances woven into them and they have been observed, but this is such a huge infrastructural undertaking, the likes of which has never been done before in such a manner, on such a scale or over such a lengthy period of time. We believe that the people of Camden need to have more than just the assurances that have been given. On this occasion, we believe that we have to take the extra step of working those assurances directly into the Bill.

The Minister will not need me to remind him that throughout the Public Bill Committee Labour tabled a number of amendments and new clauses that pressed the Government to justify the inclusion of wide-ranging blanket powers granted to the Secretary of State for the purposes of the construction and operation of HS2. Each time the Minister responded by resisting our attempt to curtail the scope of the Secretary of State’s powers on the basis that the Government was taking a “belt and braces” approach so as to be absolutely sure. I am now therefore asking for the loan of his belt and braces— not to protect my dignity, but to protect the people of Camden.

I do not intend to impugn the sincerity of HS2 Ltd or of the Minister, and he knows that. In the light of the comments from the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee and the special set of circumstances that apply, we firmly believe that these provisions need to be enshrined in statute. I shall test the will of the House on new clause 22 by putting it to the vote.

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I have tabled some fresh amendments that are designed to help colleagues whose constituencies are along the line of route. In particular I shall highlight the important issue of the adjudicator, and I shall support my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mrs Gillan) on new clause 7. I want to impress on the Government that when I was Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and published the “Natural Environment” White Paper, it was made clear that the objective was for a net positive outcome from offsetting. That is more ambitious than no net loss, and it can be achieved by, for example, combining offsets and regenerating degraded land such as the Tame river valley on the east of Birmingham, where the spur to Birmingham station will be built.

My No. 1 ask for my constituency remains a tunnel to avoid the 40-foot flyover that will sever the parish of Berkswell, separating the primary school from the secondary school. I must impress on the Minister the opportunity that that would create to approach the new station underground, thereby preserving the flexibility above ground in an area where the land will be of extremely high value.

I support new clauses 16 and 17, new schedules 2 and 3, and amendments 11, 12 and 13. New clause 16, which deals with speed and noise limitation, would ensure better protection from noise levels for those living alongside the whole course of the line. Train speed, contingent on noise, is an important concept not previously examined, and the new clause would ensure that HS2 must consider it carefully. New clause 17 would prohibit the entry of designated vehicles into designated areas. New schedule 2 is specific to my constituency, but new schedule 3 would cover any designated area. The new schedules would enable the Secretary of State to consider prohibiting HS2 contract vehicles weighing more than 8 tonnes from using certain roads during the construction phase, thus helping to ease the impact on local people.

Amendment 12 seeks to give relevant parish and town councils a greater say over the conditions within the localised planning applications to ensure that they can influence the design of what they will have to live with. Amendment 13, which is also specific to my constituency, seeks to protect residents of Hampton-in-Arden from a proposal that, theoretically, turns a once quiet country lane into a rat run on the approach to the new station. I have previously submitted a petition with 746 signatures to the House.

I want to draw attention to a wider concern about the process behind the decisions that have been made. I have great respect for the members of the Select Committee, who “listened for England” over a 22-month period. However, there was a problem. If a deal could be cut in the corridor outside the Select Committee while one party was giving evidence, the other was excluded. The result of that was a lack of transparency, which, in this day and age, is unfair to some of the petitioners.

Unfortunately for me, new clause 36 was not selected, but it underlines the importance of integrating the HS2 project with existing road and rail networks.

HS2 is a cross that some of us are having to bear. The load is heavy for our parliamentary offices. Our staff have had to put up with an extremely difficult period while serving as the interface with our constituents. However, I am still optimistic that this hybrid Bill will be amended in the other place: I do not view the Bill we are examining today as the final item.

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New clauses 34 and 35, which I tabled, relate to construction at Canterbury Works and Alexandra Place in my constituency. I shall say something about the environmental impacts, but before that I want to make a point about the poor communication on the part of HS2, which has also been mentioned by Conservative Members.

Last October, along with volunteers, I delivered letters to constituents living near Canterbury Works. It was the first time that many of them had even heard of the plans, which is simply not good enough. Many of the people who live near Canterbury Works and the Alexandra and Ainsworth estate speak English as a second language, and HS2’s poor communication meant that they had no idea of what was coming along the tracks towards them as a result of this devastating scheme. My new clauses would change that situation, and give some information and assurances to the people whose lives will be blighted by the scheme.

At Canterbury Works, which is in the Brent area of my constituency, a vent shaft will be built in a very deprived area next to a school playground. Parents of pupils at the school have told me repeatedly how detrimental the construction will be to their children’s education, health and welfare. Arancha, a constituent and the parent of a pupil at the school, raised specific concerns about air pollution. She said:

“Children will be directly affected by the impact of noise levels from construction, causing disruption to their learning experience, in particular for the percentage of pupils with Special Educational Needs”.

Her concerns do not stand in isolation; they exist in a socioeconomic context that demands that south Kilburn be given a better deal than the upheaval being imposed by HS2. The areas surrounding the proposed vent shaft in Brent are in the top 1% in the country for income deprivation affecting children.

Let me turn to the other borough in my constituency, Camden. At Alexandra Place, another vent shaft will be built adjacent to crowded businesses and residential properties, and 100 vehicles a day will be emitting dangerous fumes within the confines of narrow roads that are surrounded on all sides by apartment buildings. Residents of a care home and the children living in the apartments on Alexandra Place will face increased risks to their health for many years. An article in The Sunday Times in October said that pollution in London was stunting the growth of children’s lungs, so when the Select Committee report states that “together” the two sites that I have named are “the most sensitive” locations for vent shafts in an urban area, its words should be taken seriously.

I know that there is not much time, so I shall finish by saying that I do not object to transport schemes or infrastructure projects without giving them the utmost consideration. However, I am proud to call my constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn home, because it is where I grew up, and the welfare of my constituents comes first. This scheme will blight their lives. It will affect the most vulnerable, and the years of construction will cause confusion and upheaval to people already living in deprived communities. This is my reason for speaking out against a scheme that will affect the most vulnerable in Hampstead and Kilburn.

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I should like to add my support to the amendments relating to the office of the adjudicator, which have been debated so well this afternoon. It is critical for my constituents to have someone who can intervene between them and HS2, and the cross-party, high-level legal support for those amendments should be noted by the Secretary of State and the House.

The amendments tabled in my name are specific and I shall deal with them briefly. New clause 23 relates to Mixbury. The estimated frequency of the trains means that the noise will be almost continuous in that unspoiled village, which has as many stables as houses. HS2 has failed to engage with the community in Mixbury—this is a good example of failure to engage—on the question of adequate noise mitigation. The community is so concerned that the villagers are considering fundraising to install noise barriers themselves. I would like the House to take note of that.

New clause 24 relates to Wardington, which, like so many areas in my constituency, has an existing traffic problem. HS2 construction traffic will turn that problem into a vision of hell. The Select Committee agreed that the village would struggle to cope. We have made sensible suggestions, including the movement of spoil by conveyor over the A43 and up the haul road. The new clause asks the Secretary of State to commission a review of the problem.

New clause 25 relates to bridleways. My constituency has been repeatedly dissected over the centuries, including by the Oxford-Birmingham canal and, 29 years ago, by the building of the M40. Both brought great benefits to our area, but our bridleways have suffered. I am determined that they should not suffer again, particularly in pursuit of a scheme that brings no benefit to my constituents.

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Given the lack of time, I shall speak only to amendment 16, tabled in my name, which seeks to give statutory protection to Wormwood Scrubs common. I should really say “more statutory protection” because, as metropolitan open land and strategic defence land, it is already protected by an Act of Parliament. More importantly, it hosts an extraordinary range of sports and pastimes. Thousands of disabled children ride at the pony centre every year. An organisation called the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs is seeking to protect its 200 acres of semi-wilderness, which form a substantial proportion of my constituency—an area in which open spaces are at a premium.

However, in the time since HS2 was proposed, we have been asked to put a viaduct across it, and we have been told that it could be turned into formal gardens and that it could be amenity space for the luxury flats being built around the HS2 route. We are now being told that it will be a transit way for hundreds of thousands of people to walk across, which would essentially destroy this London landmark forever.

Although I clearly will not today get the protection that I am seeking, I thank the Select Committee for recognising my representations and acknowledging that they were my only representations. I say to the Government and to HS2 Ltd that it will be a crime if this open space is despoiled over the course of the development.

I wanted to make some more general comments as I think my constituency will see more development than any other. I will not say that I am as adversely affected as other hon. and right hon. Members, and some of the development is of course welcome, but if I am able to catch your eye on Third Reading, Madam Deputy Speaker, I can perhaps make some of those points then. I entirely support what my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Holborn and St Pancras (Keir Starmer) and my hon. Friends the Members for Hampstead and Kilburn (Tulip Siddiq) and for Ealing Central and Acton (Dr Huq) said about the effect on their residents and businesses. As they used to be my constituents, I mention the residents of Wells House Road, Midland Terrace and Stephenson Street, whose homes will be blighted for many years to come and will be entirely surrounded by HS2 works.

I could have tabled something similar to new clause 22 asking for the Old Oak Common development to be regulated, but that should not be necessary because the London Sustainable Development Commission is there to deal with such matters. At the moment, however, it is not working. I hope that it will work under a new Mayor, because we currently have unregulated development on the site and a huge opportunity cost, which is not allowing for proper exploitation of and investment in that land.

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The new clauses and amendments principally concern environmental issues, which the Government take very seriously. The Bill and the environmental minimum requirements establish robust environmental controls that have proved to be an effective mechanism on other projects, such as Crossrail and the channel tunnel rail link. In addition, many of the new clauses and amendments relate to issues on which we have already provided assurances through the Select Committee process. Some comments were made during the debate, not least from the Opposition Front-Bench team, about those assurances not being worth the paper on which they were written, but they are commitments made to Parliament by the Secretary of State and are enforced by Parliament. The process worked well for Crossrail and the channel tunnel rail link, so we do not need a belt when have more than adequate braces—or “gallusses” as we call them in my part of the world. The Select Committee process led to nearly 400 alterations to the scheme and provided some 1,600 assurances and undertakings to those affected by HS2.

I specifically want to touch on new clause 22, relating to the development of an integrated station at Euston, and I was pleased that the hon. and learned Member for Holborn and St Pancras (Keir Starmer) managed to catch your eye, Madam Deputy Speaker. We share an ambition for the integrated redevelopment of Euston station and assurances have been provided to the London Borough of Camden. Indeed, I recently met the leader of the council to discuss such matters. Work is already under way regarding the commitments given in the assurances to Camden, Transport for London and the Greater London Authority on the overall integration of works at Euston and the co-ordination with Crossrail 2. I can also confirm that funding is available to progress initial feasibility work for the preparation of an outline masterplan for Euston station, which includes the classic, Network Rail element of the station.

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Will the Minister inform the House how many conventional platforms will have to be sacrificed at Euston to accommodate HS2?

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We have made it quite clear that phasing the development of the high-speed platforms at Euston will give us the opportunity to carry out some of that work, and we have changed the phasing to make it possible to operate other services into Euston. Indeed, we estimate that around a third of HS2 passengers will alight at Old Oak Common and use the Elizabeth line to access central London or Heathrow. While I recognise the desire to highlight the importance of such issues through new clause 22, legislation is unnecessary for Euston when progress has been and is being made.

Transparency was mentioned by several hon. Members, including my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Victoria Prentis), and we have appointed a residents commissioner to hold HS2 Ltd to account for how it communicates with residents and have committed to appoint a construction commissioner to deal with complaints that cannot be addressed by HS2 Ltd and its contractors. I hope that also reassures my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Beaconsfield (Mr Grieve).

On the Chilterns area of outstanding natural beauty review group, we have already committed to establish a Chilterns AONB group.

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Will the Minister give way?

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I must make progress because we have only a minute left. On residential demolitions, we have committed to, and are progressing with Camden Council on, the replacement of all lost social housing in Euston as a result of HS2. On the prohibition of vehicles, an issue raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman) and my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury, the Bill already requires local authorities to approve local routes, so the amendment on that is unnecessary.

Many of the proposed new clauses and amendments would duplicate existing obligations already made to Parliament, and I do not believe it necessary to include them in the Bill. I therefore urge hon. Members to reject the proposed new clauses, new schedules and amendments.

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In the light of the unsatisfactory reply from the Minister and the fact that he has relied again on saying that his appointees are adequate for the scrutiny of this project, I will have no other choice than to push new clause 8, which deals with the office of the HS2 adjudicator, to a vote. As for new clause 6, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the clause.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.

Two hours having elapsed since the commencement of proceedings on consideration, the proceedings were interrupted. (Programme Order, 22nd March)

The Deputy Speaker put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business at that time (Standing Order No. 83E).

New Clause 8

Office of the HS2 Adjudicator

‘(1) There is to be a body corporate known as the Office of the HS2 Adjudicator hereinafter referred to as “the Adjudicator”.

(2) Schedule [Adjudicator: status and funding] (which makes further provision about the Adjudicator) shall have effect.

(3) The Adjudicator has the functions conferred on it by or under any enactment.

(4) Those functions include—

(a) enforced functions

(b) inspection functions,

(c) information functions.

(5) The main objective of the Adjudicator in performing its functions is to protect the natural environment and communities impacted by the construction and operation of Phase 1 of High Speed 2.

(6) The Adjudicator is to perform its functions for the general purpose of securing—

(a) the minimisation of adverse impacts on communities and the natural environment situated in locations affected by the construction or operation of Phase 1 of HS2,

(b) the provision of additional mitigation measures in the event the environmental impacts of the operation of HS2 are worse than as set out in the environmental statement prepared in accordance with section 66(4).” —(Mrs Gillan.)

Brought up.

Question put, That the clause be added to the Bill.

Division 229

23 March 2016

The House divided:

Ayes: 43
Noes: 245

Question accordingly negatived.

View Details

New Clause 22

Construction of an integrated Euston Station

‘(1) The Secretary of State will require the nominated undertaker to take reasonable steps to develop integrated and comprehensive design and construction plans for Euston Station that include integration with other Euston Schemes.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) “reasonable steps” mean, but are not limited to, the following measures—

(a) The nominated undertaker will seek to maximise, in so far as is reasonably practicable, the volume of excavated and construction material from the construction of the enlarged Euston Station and its approaches to be brought in and removed by rail;

(b) The nominated undertaker will design an enlarged HS2 Euston Station having regard to all relevant parts of the Euston Area Plan and any other relevant Opportunity Area Frameworks or Guidance,

(c) The nominated undertaker will be required to participate in the Euston Strategic Board, which shall comprise representatives from the Department for Transport, HS2 Limited, the London Borough of Camden, the Greater London Authority, Transport for London, and in any successor or additional future governance arrangements which may be agreed between the London Borough of Camden, and the Greater London Authority and Transport for London from time to time,

(d) The nominated undertaker will be required to participate in a Euston Station Strategic Redevelopment Board which shall have the same membership as specified in subsection (2)(c), with the addition of Network Rail and any successor network and station operators, designated under Section 8 of the Railways Act 1993 and having responsibility for Euston Main Line Station or rail tracks that connect to that station,

(e) The Euston Station Strategic Redevelopment Board will advise the Secretary of State on the delivery of an integrated and comprehensive design for the enlarged Euston Station and other Euston Schemes, alongside other duties which may be set out in its Terms of Reference which may be updated from time to time;

(f) The nominated undertaker will be required to participate in a Euston Integrated Programme Board, the membership of which shall include the organisations specified in subsection (2)(b);

(g) The Euston Integrated Programme Board shall have responsibility for managing the integration of the nominated undertaker’s Euston Station design and construction work plans with proposals for other Euston Schemes;

(h) The nominated undertaker will be required to take all reasonable steps to maintain public access to Euston Station and through construction sites that are established for Phase One purposes, including for cyclists and pedestrians;

(i) Where it is not reasonably practicable to maintain public access under subsection (2)(h), the nominated undertaker shall identify alternative measures to maintain public access and implement them where it is reasonable;

(j) The nominated undertaker will be required to participate in a Euston Station Design Panel and use reasonable endeavours to agree the chairperson and other members jointly with Camden London Borough Council, Transport for London and the Greater London Authority, and Network Rail or any successor network operator as defined in subsection (2)(d);

(k) The Secretary of State will require the nominated undertaker to have regard to all recommendations made by the Euston Station Design Panel regarding the nominated undertaker’s ongoing design work for Euston Station,

(l) If requested to do so by the Euston Station Design Panel, the Secretary of State will require the nominated undertaker to notify Camden London Borough Council and the Greater London Authority of the full reasons for failing to incorporate into its design work any changes recommended by the Euston Station Design Panel,

(m) The nominated undertaker will make provision for ongoing community engagement during the construction works for the enlarged Euston Station,

(n) Details of the funding expected to be required to rebuild Euston Main Line Station shall be set out when the Secretary of State’s duties are fulfilled under paragraph 1(D)(1) of Schedule 4A to the Railways Act 1993 in respect of the review periods preceding the rebuild of Euston Main Line Station and the review periods during which the rebuild of Euston Main Line Station is expected to take place,

(3) For the purposes of subsection (1), “Euston Schemes” shall be taken to mean—

(a) The enlarged Euston Station as referred to in Schedule 1 to this Act,

(b) The rebuild of the Euston Main Line Station,

(c) Over site development and related development opportunities above the Euston Station and tracks in line with the Euston Area Plan; and

(d) Additional proposals for new subterranean railways that may be introduced by the Greater London Authority or Transport for London during the Phase One construction period.

(4) Nothing in this section shall override other limitations imposed by this Act.”—(Andy McDonald.)

Brought up.

Question put, That the clause be added to the Bill.

Division 230

23 March 2016

The House divided:

Ayes: 190
Noes: 254

Question accordingly negatived.

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Third Reading

Queen’s consent signified.

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I inform the House that the amendments on the Order Paper have not been selected.

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I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

Our railways and roads power our economy. It is almost two centuries since this House gave its backing to the pioneering railway from London to Birmingham—a line that changed our country, and on which many of our great cities still rely today. Of course, we could leave it as it is for another two centuries—congested and unreliable—and suffer the consequences in lost growth, lost jobs and lost opportunities, particularly in the midlands and the north. However, the House has already shown that it can do much better than that, by backing a new high-speed route, alongside other transport investments in road and rail access across the country.

In 2013, Parliament passed the High Speed Rail (Preparation) Act 2013, paving the way for HS2. That was backed by welcome support and co-operation from all parts of the House, for which I thank all parties. We have made outstanding progress since then. British contractors are bidding to build the line. British apprentices are waiting to work on it. British cities are waiting to benefit from it. That is why today’s vote is so important.

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Will the Secretary of State give way?

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If the hon. Gentleman will forgive me, a lot of people have been here all afternoon. We have a fairly short period for Third Reading, and I want to give other people the opportunity to speak.

On what will be a Great British railway, phase 1 will be the bedrock of the new network. Phase 2a will take it to Crewe. Phase 2b will take it onwards to Manchester and Leeds.

Our trains are more than twice as busy as they were 20 years ago, and growth will continue. HS2 will help us to cope. It will work, it will be quick, it will be reliable, it will be safe and it will be clean. When it is finished, we will wonder why we took so long in getting around to building it.

Many hon. Members will want to speak, so I will keep my remaining remarks short. I will touch on the detail of the Bill. I will also set out the work that has been done on the environment; then I want to describe what will come next, including what we are doing to build skills and manage costs.

First, the Bill authorises the first stage of HS2, from London to Birmingham. The Bill has undergone more than two years of intense parliamentary scrutiny since 2013. Even before the phase 1 Bill was introduced, the principles of HS2 were extensively debated on the Floor of the House. In April 2014, we had the Second Reading of the phase 1 Bill.

There was then a special Select Committee. I thank all members of the Committee, particularly my hon. Friend the Member for Poole (Mr Syms), who chaired it so ably. I also pay special tribute to my hon. Friends the Members for North West Norfolk (Sir Henry Bellingham) and for Worthing West (Sir Peter Bottomley), who, along with my hon. Friend the Member for Poole, sat on it for the whole Committee stage.

The Committee heard over 1,500 petitions during 160 sittings. It sat for over 700 hours, and over 15,000 pieces of evidence were provided to it. It published its second special report on 22 February this year. The Government published their response, accepting the Committee’s recommendations.

Many of the changes made to the scheme in the Select Committee related to the environmental impacts. Building any road or rail link has impacts, but we will build this link carefully, and we will build it right. For example, HS2 Ltd has today started to procure up to 7 million trees to plant alongside the line to help it blend in with the landscape. The changes made in Select Committee will mean less land-take, more noise barriers and longer tunnels.

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I totally understand the economic reasons for this project, but may I just put in a bid for nature and for ancient woodland to be given the reverence it deserves? Much of it is already going to be undermined and threatened, so will the Secretary of State please ensure that this irreplaceable habitat is given all the reverence it deserves?

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I can assure my hon. Friend that, as I think I have shown, given the time taken in Select Committee, the way in which procedures can be put in place and the way in which the Woodland Trust appeared before the Select Committee to make its case, that that will be taken into account. As I have said, the planting of new trees is an important part of the work that has been done.

We have done a huge amount to assess the environmental impacts. More than 50,000 pages of environmental assessments have been provided to the House. We have produced a statement of reasons setting out why we believe it is correct to proceed with HS2. That information is important to ensure that the House makes its decisions to support this vital project in the light of the environmental effects.

I expect construction of HS2 phase 1, between London and Birmingham, to begin next year. To enable that, HS2 Ltd has this morning announced that nine firms have now been shortlisted for the civil engineering contracts for the line. Those contracts alone will create more than 14,000 jobs, and we want those jobs to be British jobs. That is why the HS2 skills college, with sites in Birmingham and Doncaster, will open its doors next year, to train our young people to take up those opportunities.

It is not all about jobs; it is also about materials. HS2 will need approximately 2 million tonnes of steel over the next 10 years, and we are already holding discussions with UK suppliers to make sure that they are in the best possible position to win those contracts.

Later this year, I will set out my decisions on HS2 phase 2. As that happens, we must have a firm grip on costs. The November 2015 spending review confirmed a budget for the whole of HS2 of £55.7 billion at 2015 prices. HS2 is a major commitment of public money, but it is an investment that Britain must make, and it can afford to do so: the cost of HS2 equates to about 0.14% of UK GDP in the spending review period.

I respect the fact that there are those in this House who take a different view of the project, but it is about the future of our nation. It is a bold new piece of infrastructure that will be open to passengers in just 10 years’ time. This is about giving strength not just to the north, but to the midlands. Today I can get a high-speed train to Paris and other parts of Europe, but not to Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds or Scotland. This is about boosting the links to the midlands manufacturing heartland and the connections to Leeds, York, the north-east and Edinburgh, and to the north-west, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow. It is about making HS2 a part of our national rail network, including Euston, where we are not only building a world-class high-speed rail station, but funding work by Network Rail to prepare for the masterplan for Euston station, which is an important step forward in our vision of an integrated hub that will enhance the area. At Old Oak Common, I have agreed to the transfer of land to the development corporation, paving the way for more than of 25,000 new homes and 65,000 jobs.

High Speed 2 is a measure of our ambition as a country and of our willingness to look beyond the immediate future and to take a hard-headed view of what we need to succeed as a nation. This is a railway that will unlock that future. I urge colleagues to support the Bill’s Third Reading, as they have done to date, and the carry-over motions so that it can continue its passage in the next Session.

I commend the Bill to the House.

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Order. I remind hon. Members that we have only half an hour to debate Third Reading and an awful lot of Members wish to speak, so there will be a speech limit of three minutes on all Back-Bench contributions in the hope that we can get as many people in as possible. If you use less time, everybody will be grateful.

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Today’s proceedings mark the end of a long process and I am sure the House will want to express its gratitude to all those who served on the Bill Select Committee, the Clerks and all those who petitioned or who assisted the petitioners in making their case. The project has undoubtedly been improved by the parliamentary scrutiny it has received. I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough (Andy McDonald), who represented the Opposition with great skill in the Public Bill Committee and on Report.

HS2 is a Labour project. When the high-speed rail Command Paper was published in March 2010, the urgent need for greater capacity on our rail network was at its heart. Since that paper was published, passenger numbers have grown by a third. Punctuality has declined as the constraints on our existing infrastructure grow. The case for HS2 was based on the assumption that passenger demand would grow by 2.2% a year; in reality, the average is more than 5%. The case for HS2 has not weakened in the past six years—it has grown stronger and more urgent.

Our north-south lines are testing the limits of their capacity. The midland main line has been officially designated as “congested infrastructure” and freight services are being turned away. The east coast operator has said that

“this route faces track capacity limit.”

Nowhere is our capacity shortfall more keenly felt than on the west coast main line between London and Birmingham, which is the most congested part of the busiest and most complex mixed-use line in Europe, carrying a quarter of all passengers and freight. At least £9 billion was spent on a hugely disruptive modernisation package for the line, and it did not deliver the benefits we were promised. Just a few years on, we have used up almost all the extra capacity, and even if we lengthened every train and converted every first-class carriage to standard, that would not be enough and it would not enable us to run a single extra train. On some sections of the west coast main line, the notorious curves and gradients are pre-Victorian, and they cannot be altered. We have reached the practical limits of the existing infrastructure, and new signalling would have limited benefits on such a busy route, where inter-city commuter and freight services all compete for scarce paths. The scale of the capacity challenge requires us to take action. Commuter services have already been cut back in the west midlands and on the approaches to Manchester because of a lack of capacity on our main lines.

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Does my hon. Friend recognise that in its current form, the Bill does not satisfy the concerns of north Staffordshire? There is no connectivity with or stop for Stoke-on-Trent, which is a far greater conurbation with a bigger economy that that of Crewe.

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I am sure that my hon. Friend appreciates that the Bill deals with the creation of the line between London and Birmingham. I am sure that we will return to questions of connectivity when we reach phase 2.

As I was saying, freight operators are turned away, forcing lorries on to our already congested motorways. That has real consequences for our ability to meet our greenhouse gas emissions targets. I have visited places in the areas that my hon. Friend talked about south of Stoke where local stations have closed, not 50 years ago under Dr Beeching but in the last decade after paths for local services were reassigned.

Some might ask why we are investing in new infrastructure when sections of the existing network need to be upgraded, as, of course, they must be. The Great Western electrification scheme, the costs of which have risen by more than 400% in just five years, is a sobering reminder that route upgrades are no panacea. We could spend an equivalent sum on a conventional modernisation programme, but it would lead to 2,000 weekends of closure and misery for passengers, and it would trigger enormous compensation payments to train operators. At the end of such a project, a conventional upgrade would deliver less than half the additional capacity of a new line. By contrast, new build infrastructure is more resilient and it will allow us to integrate high-speed rail with existing lines, revolutionising journeys between cities directly on the route and beyond it.

That potential is reflected in the support for this project not just from the leaders of Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds, but from those of Liverpool, Bristol, Newcastle, Cardiff and Glasgow. After billions has been invested in Thameslink, Reading, HS1 and Crossrail, this project is about building 21st-century infrastructure in the midlands and the north, not just London and the south-east. It will support jobs and skills through our world-class rail supply chain at Hitachi in Newton Aycliffe, Bombardier in Derby, the training colleges in Doncaster and Birmingham, and the hundreds of small and medium-sized enterprises across the country that support the construction and maintenance of tracks and trains.

We urgently need better connections and more capacity, and HS2 is the right project to provide them. There are, however, questions that need to be answered about the Government’s stewardship of the scheme. HS2 was always conceived of as a wider network, and Ministers were due to confirm the phase 2 route at the end of 2014, but that deadline has slipped by two years. That is compounding planning blight for residents, prolonging uncertainty about station locations and warding off private sector investment. It is incumbent on Ministers to confirm their plans for high-speed rail in the midlands and the north.

We have heard today about the Government’s inadequate treatment of Euston. The 1960s station is no longer fit for purpose. With 10 million more passengers a year using Euston than in 2010—a staggering increase of 43%—it is clear that a rebuild would be needed even without HS2. We urgently need a plan for a comprehensive redevelopment of Euston station, but four times HS2 Ltd has presented different plans for the site, all of which would lead to years of disruption for residents and businesses.

I have been glad to work with the Labour leadership of Camden Council to help to win a series of assurances from the Government on the removal of construction materials by rail rather than road, the development of a plan for an integrated station design and support for affordable housing provision. However, the reality still falls a long way short of the Chancellor’s rhetoric, and it is deeply disappointing that Ministers voted against our amendment on the matter. The Opposition will, no doubt, come back to that in the other place.

To conclude, as well as putting on the record my appreciation of the role played by my hon. Friends the Members for Middlesbrough and for Stalybridge and Hyde (Jonathan Reynolds), who served as shadow rail Ministers during the passage of the Bill, I want to record my appreciation of my predecessors as shadow Secretary of State, my hon. Friends the Members for Garston and Halewood (Maria Eagle), for Wakefield (Mary Creagh) and for Barnsley East (Michael Dugher), who all showed great constancy, even when there were reports of leaves on the line.

HS2 is essential for meeting our capacity challenge and rebalancing the economic geography of the UK. I will vote for the Bill today, and I encourage hon. Members on both sides of the House to do the same.

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I have three minutes to sum up six years of hell for my constituents in Chesham and Amersham.

I pay tribute to the dignity and persistence of my constituents, who have remained committed to positive change in the face of great adversity. Those individuals are too numerous to mention, but they include my dedicated constituency staff, our local councils at all levels, our environmental and community organisations, the Clerks of the House—they have been tremendous—and colleagues who have served on both the Committees on the Bill.

I thank colleagues who have stood four-square with me, despite all the pressures that have been brought to bear on them when I have opposed the project. We have succeeded in making some positive changes that will make a real difference to people’s lives. The two extensions to the Chilterns tunnels are very important; the improvements to the “need to sell” scheme are also significant; and even the Chilterns AONB review panel, if it comes about, is important—to name but three aspects of the project.

However, HS2 is being built on the backs of my constituents, who are losing their homes, their businesses, their peaceful retirement, their heath and their communities. The Prime Minister promised me the most environmentally friendly Government ever and that compensation for people affected by HS2 would be fair and generous. This project will still cause damage along over 8 km of the line through a nationally designated, environmentally protected area, and many of my constituents are still fighting for fair treatment and compensation. They would not use the words “fair” and “generous” about the compensation.

For the all the inequitable and atrocious handling of the project, for the poor value for money for the taxpayer, for the inadequate integration of the project and for the damage it will cause my constituency and constituents, I will vote against the Bill again this afternoon. I urge hon. Members to join me in doing so. It may not achieve very much, because Labour and Conservative Members are being whipped to support the project, but at least I will be able to put my head on my pillow knowing that I have done the best by my constituents. I have tried to protect them from the ravages of a project that will consume vast amounts of taxpayers’ money and suck it out of the rest of the system. My constituents and many others up and down the line will pay disproportionately for the burden of political intransigence.

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Once again, I confirm that we welcome the HS2 proposals before Parliament. We certainly welcome the wider context of the roll-out of the high-speed network, as well as the Government’s commitment, alongside that of the Scottish Government, to the aspiration for a three-hour journey time between Glasgow or Edinburgh and London. That will mean a quicker point-to-point journey time compared with using Gatwick or Heathrow airports. It will bring obvious environmental benefits and, clearly, much greater choice for air travellers.

I welcome the release earlier this week of the broad options report, which was commissioned by both Governments. It is important to develop these options as soon as possible to achieve shorter journey times to Scotland. In Scotland, the Scottish Government have confirmed their commitment to rail investment with the construction of the Borders rail line, which is the longest rail line to be constructed in the UK since Victorian times. As we have already heard, the vast bulk of the existing rail network was built in Victorian times. It stood the test of time fantastically, but now is the time to reinvest in and to future-proof the rail network. That will be done through these options.

I welcome the proposals, and I look forward to the roll-out of the high-speed network and to the improvements on lines to the north to improve journey times to Scotland.

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I will be brief. This has been a long process, and in many respects it has been Parliament at its best, listening to people from ordinary communities, many of whom will be badly affected by the impact of the railway. However, as a senior Clerk said to me, the last time we looked at the Standing Orders was 1946, and without taking away the right of somebody to come before the Committee it is right that we consider that process. There will be further phases of this project, and perhaps airports will come in along the line. I therefore hope that the Leader of the House and the House authorities have a good look at how we could make things a little more efficient. On occasion, we listened to people who were burning up a lot of time but who we felt were not affected, and that had an impact on some people whose farms are being cut in half and who will be very badly affected. There is an argument for reform, and I hope that the House authorities consider it, so that any future Committee that has the good task of listening to people who will be affected by such a project will do so more efficiently.

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I support the Bill, which will bring vital capacity for an expanding railway. It is reassuring to see that so many of the points raised by the Transport Committee in 2011 are now incorporated into the Bill, including maximising jobs, whether in construction or regional economic development. High Speed 2 is part of a connected railway, with plans for ensuring that lines freed by the construction of High Speed 2 can be used for passengers and freight. We must ensure that those who are not on a high-speed line or situated near a high-speed station do not lose out.

It is vital that the necessary investment in High Speed 2 does not come at the expense of investment in the classic line, but evidence to date suggests that that will not be the case. Improvements in other parts of the country, including east-west links, must be linked with high-speed rail as part of the connected rail network. When in phase 2 the trans-Pennine developments take place—now known as High Speed 3—it is vital that High Speed 2 is linked into that so that, in the words of Lord Adonis, the chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission:

“Route decisions on the northern sections of HS2 should support enhanced high speed connections within the north including between Leeds-Sheffield, Liverpool-Manchester, and Sheffield-Newcastle.”

I am sorry that we are not considering High Speed 2 as one Bill, and that instead we have it in two phases, and I hope that the end date of 2034 can be brought forward. However, I am pleased that we are deciding on the go-ahead for phase 1 of High Speed 2. This is for the future. It is about vision and confidence in the railway sector and public transport, and I hope that hon. Members will approve the Bill.

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I am not one of those who say that HS2 is a white elephant, or that there is no congestion on the west coast main line—indeed, today 5,000 people arrive standing on trains as they come into Euston. I accept the need for an additional north-south corridor, and if that can be high-speed, then all the better because there is not that much additional cost.

Before I come to my main point, I wish to thank my hon. Friend the Member for Poole (Mr Syms) and all his colleagues for their work on the Committee, as well as the Transport Secretary who, given the structure of HS2, has been incredibly helpful to my constituents in Lichfield.

I do not believe, however, that I can support HS2, because it is not an integrated railway. I could not understand why it was so appalling, until I heard the hon. Member for Nottingham South (Lilian Greenwood) say that HS2 is a Labour project. Only a Labour project could be so unintegrated with the rest of the transport system. Lord Adonis chose a system whereby people arrive at Euston from Birmingham and then have to trek across London with their bags to get to St Pancras. The promises that were made—that people would get on to a train in Birmingham and wake up in Paris—have come to naught. When people get to Birmingham, can they get on to network rail because the train arrives at Birmingham New Street? No. That would have been too obvious. This Labour project, so brilliantly designed yet so sadly duplicated by the Conservative Administration, instead goes into Curzon Street, and people have to schlep across Birmingham to get there, too.

It is about as integrated as my old Hornby 00 railway. I put that on the carpet and it went round and round, but it did not connect with the road or other railway systems, because it was a toy. I would not go so far as to say HS2 is a toy, but it is damaging and it could have been designed better. That is why I have to say to my hon. Friends the Whips that—I am not going to make it a habit—I will have to vote against Third Reading.

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I am not against HS2. I am for trees—but not just any trees: trees that enhance our environment and improve our biodiversity. I want to pick up on two very brief points, in relation to the remarks of the Minister of State, the hon. Member for Scarborough and Whitby (Mr Goodwill), on net biodiversity loss and translocation.

It is absolutely clear that the commitment in the Government’s White Paper was not simply to no net biodiversity loss but to leaving the natural environment of England in a better state. This project will set a precedent on how to deal with the natural environment for all future major infrastructure projects. The question is whether it will fulfil the promise of improving the natural environment, leaving it in a better state for our children. National planning policy framework 118 is absolutely clear:

“planning permission should be refused for development resulting in the loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats, including ancient woodland”.

Ancient woodland is irreplaceable.

The Secretary of State used the figure of 7 million trees when he spoke from the Dispatch Box earlier. Seven million trees, if planted at the rate suggested by the Woodland Trust of 2,500 trees per hectare, would give rise to 2,400 additional hectares. I want a commitment from the Secretary of State that they will be additional hectares: additional to the Government’s promise that 5,000 hectares of new woodland will be planted in England each year, a promise that at the moment is not being met. Some 2,400 hectares had been planted up to 2014-15, which is more than 4,000 hectares light on the existing promise. I want a commitment that the additional 2,400 hectares—the 7 million trees he spoke of—will be on top of the existing promise that is not being met.

Finally, on translocation, Natural England clearly states that an

“ancient woodland ecosystem cannot be moved”.

The Woodland Trust’s extensive research into translocation states:

“The only thing that is certain when translocation of ancient woodland soils is undertaken is that a valuable habitat will be destroyed.”

There is no guarantee that a similarly valuable habitat will be created. The idea, therefore, that translocation can be used and justified as the Minister attempted to do earlier—he is an honourable and decent man using the information that his civil servants no doubt gave him—is wrong.

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As someone who was involved in much earlier parts of the planning process, I am delighted that tonight the Bill will progress from this House to another place. That is long overdue. It is sad that, for far too many major infrastructure projects that this country badly needs, the process of getting from the beginning to the end is so drawn out.

I pay tribute not only to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and the Minister for all they have done—and to the civil servants who have backed them up—but to the Labour party, which was not prepared to play narrow party political games on what is in the national interest. It has stuck by the national interest to ensure that the project will go ahead.

I accept there will be disruption and problems along the line. That is very upsetting, but I offer one beacon of hope to those people. When I first came into this House in 1987, the same arguments were being bandied about across the Floor of the House on High Speed 1. The local authorities were against it and the local communities were against it. They fought it, with hon. Members in this House, tooth and nail to try to stop it. It happened, and now local communities along the route in Kent are thrilled with the resulting benefits—the economic benefits, the regeneration, and the improvements in connectivity and capacity. I am convinced that when HS2 is finally completed, in 2033, people who do not think there will be any benefits now will come to learn that there are major benefits not only to their communities but in improved capacity.

The point about capacity is critical. The west coast main line will run out of capacity in the middle of the next decade, and it is not acceptable for any Government, of whatever party, to ignore that fact and allow our transportation system to come to a grinding halt. I hope, therefore, that the Bill will have a speedy passage through another place and on to the statute book so that phase 2, to Leeds and Manchester, can be expedited. We will thereby finally get a fit-for-purpose, modern transportation system along the spine of this country.

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I rise to support the Bill and to commend both Front Benches for the cross-party support on this issue. It would have been easy for the Labour party to play this for short-term political advantage in the last Parliament or this one; that we have not done so is to our credit, especially that of my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham South (Lilian Greenwood).

I am a former shadow Rail Minister and was a member of the Bill Committee, so I feel confident in saying that I am familiar with this issue. I say this: this country needs HS2. The key issue is capacity—it has always been about capacity. So often the conversation has been bogged down in arguments about journey times, but that misses the point. Of course, if it takes me less time to get from the House of Commons to Stalybridge station’s world-famous buffet bar, that is welcome, but it is more important that I can do so on a train with enough seats for everyone. With the west coast main line expected to be full by the middle of the next decade, it is vital that we act now. In fact, this is the one time I can think of when this country has acted on a major infrastructure problem before it has become acute. If only our predecessors had done the same with aviation capacity!

The railways are filling up and are crying out for this investment. The statistics speak for themselves. Each day, 3,000 passengers arrive at Euston or Birmingham standing up on trains, having been unable to get a seat. The benefit of HS2 will be to address that looming capacity crunch. More powerful than the statistics, however, are the experiences of passengers—especially those who have the unpleasant experience of being on a packed train leaving or coming into London. I can still vividly remember my wife phoning me after a particularly hellish journey from London to Manchester. Eight months pregnant, she was forced to spend the two-hour journey on the floor outside the toilet entertaining a two-year-old. That should not happen on a 21st-century railway network.

The common arguments against HS2 do not stack up. Spending the money on upgrading the existing line will cost more and give us less. Building a new line that is not high speed will cost nearly as much but give us a fraction of the capacity. Saying we should spend the money on local services rather than north-south improvements fails to understand that the way to improve local services is to free up that existing infrastructure by building a new line. As for the argument that this will be a railway only for the wealthy, we simply have to apply the laws of supply and demand. The guaranteed way to price people off the railway would be to do nothing, because if demand is rising and supply does not increase, prices will go up.

I have great ambitions for what HS2 can deliver for the north, and particularly Greater Manchester—jobs, growth, connectivity, better wages, better career paths and, of course, the opportunity for hard-pressed Londoners more easily to spend time in the UK’s real first city: Manchester. I commend the Bill to the House.

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I was not expecting to be called, Madam Deputy Speaker, but I am delighted.

Having sat on the Select Committee, I wish to say two things, hopefully in less than a minute. First, the hybrid Bill Committee system needs overhauling: 160 days— not for me, as I joined only after the election—and 1,600 petitions is unsustainable. Somebody needs to look at the system. Finally, we should all celebrate the fact that we have a record number of people travelling on trains, but we need more capacity. I say to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, even though he did not acknowledge that I had been on the Committee, that we need to plan this thing properly. We must ensure that there is proper connectivity into HS2 from all the other lines and that the west coast main line and other lines can make the most of the opportunity for freight.

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I support the principle of high-speed rail and this project, not least because it allows the regeneration of the Old Oak area in my constituency—by some distance the largest development area in the country, bringing more than 24,000 homes and 50,000 new jobs to an area of severe deprivation. I support the project with reservations, and I have been happy to work with those on both sides who will be voting against the Bill tonight, because the local implications for residents, businesses and the environment have not been properly considered through this process. I say that with all due respect to the Committee, which has done an excellent job and worked incredibly hard.

In the minute left available to me, let me mention three things. First, if the issue is about capacity and not so much about speed, why are there not more stations, which would make it more beneficial to areas between London and Birmingham? Secondly, why are there not better links with HS1? I accept why the Camden link had to go, but it is ridiculous not to have those better links.

Thirdly, why can we not have a proper integrated centre at Old Oak, which would bring the Great Western line, the overground, the underground and Crossrail together? It is a huge wasted opportunity not to use that land properly. It is a real waste of public money and opportunity in that area. I urge the Government to look at that again and to work with the new Mayor, who I hope will be my right hon. Friend the Member for Tooting (Sadiq Khan), to ensure that we have proper regeneration on that site.

Three hours having elapsed since the commencement of proceedings on consideration, the debate was interrupted (Programme Order, 22 March).

The Deputy Speaker put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair (Standing Order No. 83E), That the Bill be now read the Third time.

Division 231

23 March 2016

The House divided:

Ayes: 399
Noes: 42

Question accordingly agreed to.

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Bill read the Third time and passed, with amendments.

High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill: Carry-Over (No. 3)

Ordered,

That the following provisions shall apply in respect of the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill:

(1) Further proceedings on the Bill shall be suspended until the next Session of Parliament.

(2) If a Bill is presented in the next Session in the same terms as those in which the Bill stood when proceedings on it were suspended in this Session—

(a) the Bill shall be deemed to have been read the first, second and third time;

(b) the Standing Orders and practice of the House applicable to the Bill, so far as complied with or dispensed with in Session 2013-14, Session 2014-15 or this Session, shall be deemed to have been complied with or (as the case may be) dispensed with in the next Session.

(3) The reference in paragraph (1) to further proceedings does not include proceedings under Standing Order 224A(8) (deposit of supplementary environmental information).

That this Order be a Standing Order of the House.—(Mr Goodwill.)

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On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. Today the British Medical Association has announced that it plans to escalate the industrial action of junior doctors planned for 26 and 27 April. Can you advise me whether you have received any notification from the Department of Health about whether the Secretary of State for Health intends to make a statement to the House tomorrow, updating us on what action he will take to avert that industrial action and bring an end to the ongoing dispute?

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I have had no notification that the Secretary of State is coming forward. However, the hon. Lady has got the matter on the record, and I am sure that people will be listening to the debate that is taking place at this very moment. Let us wait and see.

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On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. Believe it or not, this is a point of order about procedure. We have just had a debate and a vote and have approved over £55 billion of expenditure. The Third Reading debate on this country’s biggest ever infrastructure project lasted just half an hour and large numbers of hon. Members were not able to be called. I would have liked to talk about the lack of investment in Lincolnshire’s railways, for example, and other points could have been made. The limits have become absurd, so will you have a word with Mr Speaker? The Procedure Committee, of which I am a member, is looking at this, but we could have a procedure by which you or one of your colleagues could have extended the debate for just another half an hour.

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As you know, it is a matter for the Government how they timetable the business. As you rightly say, you have a view that you wish to express. Unfortunately, we are not in charge of the business. I am sure that everybody who reads Hansard will realise that you have raised this on the Floor of the House, even though it is not a point of order for the Chair.

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Further to that point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. I have raised the issue of the procedures on the hybrid Bill process with the Procedure Committee, but because it is a private process it may be difficult for the Committee to look at those. I very much hope that the Government are going to re-examine the hybrid Bill process, and that view has been echoed in the words of many of my friends, particularly those who have served on the HS2 Bill Committee.

The process is not satisfactory from the perspective of either the House or the people most affected by the project. I very much hope that this will not take too long and you could advise me whether the House eventually could change those procedures, so that large infrastructure projects are not dealt with in such an opaque and difficult manner.

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The House can invite the Procedure Committee to look into this matter, as you well know. And you know better than I do how the procedure of this House works, after so many years in this place.

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On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. I wonder whether we could have a tidying-up of the procedures of the House. In the light of English votes for English laws, Health questions and Education questions, as they are termed, are actually English Health questions and English Education questions. It would be better for voters up and down the length of the current UK if they understood that.

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Once again, the answer is the same: it is for this House to invite the Procedure Committee to look into the matter. If you believe there is a wrong, I am sure the Committee will make sure it gets put right.

I have now to announce the result of today’s two deferred Divisions. In respect of the Question relating to electricity, the Ayes were 287 and the Noes were 232, so the Ayes have it. In respect of the Question relating to public sector pensions, the Ayes were 287 and the Noes were 211, so the Ayes have it.

[The Division list is published at the end of today’s debates.]

With the leave of the House, I will put motions 4 and 5 together, as they cover the same area.