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Second Additional Provision to the High Speed Rail (West Midlands – Crewe) Bill

Volume 654: debated on Tuesday 12 February 2019

I would like to inform the House about the introduction of a second additional provision to the High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill, which is currently before a Select Committee.

As part of this Government’s industrial strategy we are investing in High Speed 2, a transformational infrastructure project that will improve people’s journeys, create jobs, generate economic growth and help to rebalance our country’s economy. HS2 is more than a railway and the project’s vision is to be a catalyst for economic growth. It has cross-party support and support from councils, local enterprise partnerships, metro Mayors and businesses who can see the transformational potential.

HS2 is making progress and the benefits are already being seen in towns and cities in advance of HS2 services. Around 2,000 businesses have been awarded HS2 contracts and over 7,000 jobs have been supported, a figure that will increase to around 30,000 at peak.

The additional provision proposes a number of changes to the powers in the Bill for the Select Committee’s consideration. These changes have arisen as a result of requests from petitioners, directions from the Select Committee currently considering the Bill, and further design development, principally in relation to utility works. 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 main changes in the additional provision are as follows:

The lowering of the viaduct at Kings Bromley which reduces environmental effects such as visual impact;

a revised and more simple Handsacre junction layout, where phase one connects to the west coast main line;

a new traction power connection, requiring over 7 km of high voltage electricity lines, from the HS2 line at Newlands Lane to the east of the route. This change ensures the necessary resilience and redundancy required for traction power on a high-speed railway;

temporary and permanent power supply routes to the Whitmore and Madeley tunnels, to support the operation of the tunnel boring machines during construction and later, the operation of the tunnels;

a southward extension of the southern end of the tunnel at Whitmore, to avoid the need for complex surface works where the A53 crosses the route; and

works at and around Crewe station including the extension of platform 5 to accommodate 400-metre HS2 trains. These changes support the realisation of the Crewe hub vision.

The additional provision also includes works and powers related to utilities following detailed discussion with utility companies. Other changes relate to highway safety and capacity improvements.

All of these changes require additional land to be acquired, and/or works to be carried out. In some cases land now affected is at 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 notification this week, including information on how to petition against the changes, should they decide to do so.

The following amendments are also included in this additional provision:

An insertion to allow easements over land to be for the benefit of a third party (i.e. utility companies) rather than for the benefit of the Secretary of State;

dis-application of some sections of the Building Act 1984 in relation to demolitions which are already otherwise authorised by the Bill; and

increasing the controls on the nominated undertaker in relation to low-volume lorry movements.

I am also publishing an environmental statement setting out the significant effects and mitigation 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 29 March 2019. The documents will be put in the Public Bill Office of the House, and will also be made available in locations open to the public in all local authorities and parishes affected by the changes.

In October 2018, I committed to updating the House regularly on the progress of HS2. I intend to make further statements to this House to update colleagues on HS2’s progress during the course of 2019.