I would like to inform the House about the introduction of an additional provision to the High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill, which is currently before the Select Committee.
The additional provision proposes a number of changes to the powers in the Bill for the Select Committee’s consideration. Those directly and specially affected by these changes may petition against them, and once any petitioners have been heard, the Committee will decide whether the amendments to the Bill should be made. The petition period, set by the Chairman of Ways and Means, finishes on 27 April.
One of the changes in the additional provision relates to a minor change in the alignment of the Phase 2a route near Stone. Other changes relate to ongoing design discussions with utility companies, to highway works on junctions to address traffic and safety issues, and requirements for additional land for environmental mitigation works. In some cases, these changes affect land some distance from the line of route.
Full details are shown in the plans and sections deposited alongside the additional provision. Affected landowners will receive formal notification this week, including information on how to petition against the changes if they should decide to do so.
Standing Orders require that an estimate of expense be prepared, to a prescribed format. This sets out the gross costs of the land and works in the additional provision. However, the costs of works and land avoided through these amendments is expected to produce an overall reduction in the costs of the scheme.
I am also publishing an environmental statement setting out any likely significant effects from the changes in the additional provision, alongside a supplementary environmental statement reporting new environmental information relating to the scheme. In accordance with Standing Orders, there is a public consultation on these documents which will run until 14 May. The documents will be put in the Libraries of both Houses, and will also be made available in locations open to the public in all local authorities and parishes affected by changes.