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House of Commons Hansard
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High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill (First sitting)
25 June 2019

The Committee consisted of the following Members:

Chairs: † Ms Karen Buck, Philip Davies

Burghart, Alex (Brentwood and Ongar) (Con)

† Coyle, Neil (Bermondsey and Old Southwark) (Lab)

† Daby, Janet (Lewisham East) (Lab)

† Dhesi, Mr Tanmanjeet Singh (Slough) (Lab)

† Donelan, Michelle (Chippenham) (Con)

Duffield, Rosie (Canterbury) (Lab)

† Foxcroft, Vicky (Lewisham, Deptford) (Lab)

† Gaffney, Hugh (Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill) (Lab)

† Ghani, Ms Nusrat (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport)

† Green, Chris (Bolton West) (Con)

† Harrison, Trudy (Copeland) (Con)

† Johnson, Dr Caroline (Sleaford and North Hykeham) (Con)

† Maclean, Rachel (Redditch) (Con)

† Robinson, Mary (Cheadle) (Con)

† Rodda, Matt (Reading East) (Lab)

† Ross, Douglas (Moray) (Con)

† Sweeney, Mr Paul (Glasgow North East) (Lab/Co-op)

Adam Mellows-Facer, Rob Page, Committee Clerks

† attended the Committee

Public Bill Committee

Tuesday 25 June 2019

(Morning)

[Ms Karen Buck in the Chair]

High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill

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Welcome to the Committee’s first sitting. Would everyone please ensure that their phones are on silent? We will first consider the sittings and order of consideration motions, which stand in the name of the Minister, which I hope we can take without too much debate. I call the Minister to move the sittings motion.

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I beg to move,

That, if proceedings on the High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill are not completed at this day’s sitting, the Committee do meet on:

(a) Tuesdays when the House is sitting at 9.25 am and 2.00 pm; and

(b) Thursdays when the House is sitting at 11.30 am and 2.00 pm.

Thank you, Ms Buck, for introducing proceedings. I look forward to working with all members of the Committee on the important process of line-by-line scrutiny of the Bill, and to hearing from Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition as part of that. I thank the High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill Select Committee, chaired by my hon. Friend the Member for Rochford and Southend East (James Duddridge), which has heard from directly and especially affected petitioners over the past 15 months and has accordingly made changes to the scheme and the Bill. I am delighted that we can now move on to the next stage of consideration, which will enable us to take the benefits that the railway will bring further north.

The clauses and stages of the Bill follow previous hybrid Bills very closely, so they have already been approved by Parliament on several occasions. The functions of the Bill are: to authorise the compulsory purchase of the land needed, to give deemed outline planning consent to the phase 2a section of the railway, to give the nominated undertaker the powers to build and maintain the railway, and to modify existing legislation to enable this all to progress smoothly. Issues relating to the compulsory purchase of land and how that affects individuals, organisations and businesses have largely been dealt with by the Select Committee. What remains for this Committee are largely technical matters.

Question put and agreed to.

Ordered,

That the Bill be considered in the following order, namely, Clause 1, Schedule 1, Clause 2, Schedules 2 and 3, Clause 3, Schedules 4 and 5, Clause 4, Schedules 6 and 7, Clause 5, Schedules 8 to 10, Clauses 6 and 7, Schedule 11, Clause 8, Schedule 12, Clause 9, Schedule 13, Clause 10, Schedule 14, Clauses 11 to 13, Schedules 15 and 16, Clauses 14 to 17, Schedule 17, Clauses 18 to 21, Schedules 18 and 19, Clause 22, Schedule 20, Clauses 23 to 27, Schedule 21, Clause 28, Schedules 22 and 23, Clause 29, Schedule 24, Clause 30, Schedule 25, Clause 31, Schedule 26, Clause 32, Schedule 27, Clauses 33 to 37, Schedule 28, Clause 38, Schedule 29, Clauses 39 and 40, Schedule 30, Clauses 41 and 42, Schedule 31, Clause 43, Schedule 32, Clauses 44 to 62, new Clauses, new Schedules, remaining proceedings on the Bill.—(Ms Ghani.)

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We now begin line-by-line consideration of the Bill. The selection list for today’s sitting, which is available in the room, shows how clauses, schedules and amendments have been grouped for debate. Grouped matters generally deal with the same or similar issues. The selection and grouping is simple: schedules introduced by a particular clause have been grouped for debate with that clause. Decisions on each will be taken at the end of each debate in accordance with the order of consideration resolution just agreed by the Committee. The only amendments are new clauses, which will be taken in turn after the existing clauses and schedules have been dealt with. I will use my discretion to decide whether to allow separate stand part debates on individual clauses and their schedules in the light of preceding debates.

Clause 1

Power to construct and maintain works for Phase 2a of High Speed 2

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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With this it will be convenient to discuss that schedule 1 be the First schedule to the Bill.

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The clause authorises the nominated undertaker to construct and maintain the works specified in schedule 1 for the construction of phase 2a of High Speed 2 and other incidental works. It is a standard clause found in all works Bills. Phase 2a sits between two larger phases of the HS2 project, so the clause makes provision to accommodate emerging design works for phase 1 at Handsacre junction and phase 2b at Crewe.

Schedule 1 sets out the construction requirements for the scheduled works and provides permitted limits of deviation from the siting of works as shown on the relevant plans. It also provides a description of the scheduled works. The permitted deviation limits have precedence in other railway Acts, most recently the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Act 2017. The limits of the deviation reflect the fact that the design of phase 2a is, by necessity, at an outline stage—detailed design will come later—so some flexibility is essential. Any variation within the limits of deviation is controlled by the environmental minimum requirements.

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Labour supports High Speed 2, as it will address the severe capacity constraints on our rail network and improve connections between cities in the midlands and the north. Any responsible Government must contend with the fact that commuter and freight services are being squeezed off the network due to lack of capacity. HS2 is vital for unblocking the railway and creating additional capacity.

The UK is off track to meet its emission reduction targets under the Climate Change Act 2008. Transport is the most emitting sector of the economy and the worst performing sector with regard to emissions—indeed, emissions have risen since 2010. HS2 will provide an alternative to domestic flying and will tackle that important issue. It will also allow for more reliable rail services.

It is vital that we get HS2 right. It is a tremendous opportunity to improve connectivity and we support it as part of a package of delivering transformative investment in our rail system.

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I welcome the hon. Gentleman’s comments. We are debating a particular section of the line, and I welcome his support.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 1 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 1 agreed to.

Clause 2

Further provision about works

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

That schedule 2 be the Second schedule to the Bill.

That schedule 3 be the Third schedule to the Bill.

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The clause authorises a nominated undertaker to carry out any necessary ancillary works for the construction and maintenance of phase 2a, as long as such works remain within the limits shown on the plans. That could be railway works as set out in subsection (1) or, as stated in subsection (3),

“landscaping and other works to mitigate any adverse effects of the construction”.

Again, it is a standard clause for works Bills.

Subsection (4) introduces schedule 2, which contains

“further and supplementary provision about works.”

It allows for certain protective works, such as the preservation of buildings, tree management and so on, to be carried out for works authorised by the Bill. Schedule 2 also describes how the nominated undertaker can access properties along the route to investigate land, carry out protective works and provide safeguards for the property owners. Subsection (5) allows a nominated undertaker to divert the electricity lines identified in schedule 3, and to carry out the ancillary works required for the diversions.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 2 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedules 2 and 3 agreed to.

Clause 3

Highways

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

That schedule 4 be the Fourth schedule to the Bill.

That schedule 5 be the Fifth schedule to the Bill.

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Clause 3 introduces schedules 4 and 5, which allow the nominated undertaker to carry out works to and otherwise affect highways. That includes creating new or improving existing highways and highway accesses, and stopping up roads. It also requires the nominated undertaker to obtain the consent of Highways England before carrying out works to roads for which that body is responsible, for example motorways and trunk roads.

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Developers can be overly dependent on road transport, which is ironic in a major rail project. I hope that the Minister will agree that as much freight as possible should be delivered by rail so as to minimise road use and the inevitable disruption to local communities. What steps have the Government taken to address that important issue?

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The hon. Gentleman makes a valid point. We want the project to be as clean and green as possible, and freight capacity is a major issue that we are investigating to ensure that as much freight can be moved by rail as possible. I hope that provides him with the confidence he needs.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 3 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedules 4 and 5 agreed to.

Clause 4

Power to acquire land compulsorily

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

That schedule 6 be the Sixth schedule to the Bill.

That schedule 7 be the Seventh schedule to the Bill.

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Clause 4 provides the Secretary of State with the power to compulsorily acquire land within the limits shown in the Bill, where such land is required for phase 2a. Subsection (2) introduces schedule 6, which describes some of the land to be acquired and the particular purposes for which it may be acquired. It is not land required for the scheduled works; it is land required for ancillary works, including environmental mitigation, utility diversions and borrow pits. The clause further provides that the normal legislative regime relating to compulsory acquisition is to apply, subject to the modification set out in schedule 7. The purpose of the modifications is to streamline the land acquisition process, as Parliament will already have given approval to the Bill.

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Compulsory purchases and compensation have been an issue of contention during this process. For phase 1 it was initially decided that residents of urban areas would receive less compensation that those in rural areas—a decision that was eventually overturned. It is important that such issues are dealt with fairly, but it appears that tenants who are adversely affected by the scheduled works are not being treated fairly as there is no scheme to compensate them. Those who rent are already disadvantaged compared with those who own their own properties, and I believe that much more can and should be done. I will return to that issue when we discuss the new clauses.

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The hon. Gentleman raises an important point. The purchase of land is essential to the completion of the proposed scheme. People directly and especially affected by the Bill have had the opportunity to petition the House and will have another opportunity to do so in the other place.

The project endeavours to use land as effectively and efficiently as possible. There are a number of places where compensation claims can be heard and settled by agreement, whereas disputes can be dealt with by the upper tribunal or by other factors that HS2 has put in place to deal with local communities and local people. Even though the project provides some disruption along the line, we want to ensure that we are doing the right thing by the communities we are working with.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 4 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedules 6 and 7 agreed to.

Clause 5

Acquisition of rights and imposition of restrictive covenants

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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With this it will be convenient to consider the following:

That schedule 8 be the Eighth schedule to the Bill.

That schedule 9 be the Ninth schedule to the Bill.

That schedule 10 be the Tenth schedule to the Bill.

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Clause 5 provides the Secretary of State with the power to acquire rights in land, such as access over it, or to impose restrictive covenants over land for the purpose of phase 2a, rather than acquiring the land itself.

Subsection (2) introduces schedule 8, which specifies land where powers of acquisition are limited to the acquisition of rights or the imposition of restrictive covenants for the purposes specified in column 3 of the table in that schedule. In particular, the restrictive covenants can be imposed for the preservation of ground re-profiling. This will ensure that no future changes are made that detrimentally affect the ability to deliver, maintain or operate phase 2a. Subsection (3) makes it clear that the Secretary of State can acquire rights or impose restrictive covenants for the benefit of another person, such as a statutory undertaker.

The clause also gives the Secretary of State the power to provide that a specified person may exercise the powers under the Bill to acquire rights to impose restrictive covenants. For example, it may be prudent to give a statutory undertaker the rights to impose restrictions so that they can maintain their own equipment on that land.

Subsection (6) introduces schedules 9 and 10, which contain provisions about the application of compulsory purchase legislation in relation to the acquisition of rights over land or the imposition of restrictive covenants. Subsection (7) amends section 5 of the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Act 2017—the phase 1 Act—to make it clear that the Secretary of State can apply rights or impose restrictive covenants under that section for the benefit of another person, such as a statutory undertaker.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 5 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedules 8 to 10 agreed to.

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On a point of order, Ms Buck. Is it in order to have a second shadow Minister kneeling on the floor during the Committee’s proceedings? I would be grateful for your guidance.

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I understand the point, and normally that would not be acceptable, but my understanding is that the hon. Lady in question would have been a member of the Committee had she not lost her voice. With the leave of the Committee, perhaps a bit of flexibility would be acceptable in this case.

Clause 6

Acquisition of airspace

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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Clause 6 allows the Secretary of State to use the power under section 4(1) to compulsorily acquire airspace only, rather than the land beneath it, for the purpose of aerial works. The clause provides that where the Secretary of State needs to acquire only airspace, a landowner cannot require the Secretary of State to compulsorily purchase the land beneath it.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 6 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 7

Acquisition of subsoil or under-surface

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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With this it will be convenient to consider that schedule 11 be the Eleventh schedule to the Bill.

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Clause 7 allows the Secretary of State to compulsorily purchase only the subsoil or under-surface of land within the Bill limits for work such as tunnelling. Where the Secretary of State only acquires the subsoil or under-surface, he cannot be compelled to purchase the surface land, except where sub-surface acquisition includes part of a building, such as a cellar, and would therefore have a material detrimental impact on the remainder of the property.

Subsection (4) introduces schedule 11, which in specified cases restricts the compulsory powers of acquisition to subsoil or under-surface of land and the imposition of restrictive covenants. The table in the schedule details land where only subsoil more than nine metres below the surface can be compulsorily acquired. This is mostly for deep tunnels.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 7 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 11 agreed to.

Clause 8

Highway subsoil

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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With this it will be convenient to consider that schedule 12 be the Twelfth schedule to the Bill.

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Clause 8 allows the nominated undertaker to use any subsoil beneath the highway within the Bill limits which is required for the purpose of construction and maintenance of works authorised by the Bill, without the need formally to acquire the subsoil or any interest in it. This does not apply to cellars, vaults, archways or other structures that form part of a building fronting on to a highway.

Subsections (3) and (4) introduce schedule 12, which lists the highway allowed within the Bill limits where the powers to take subsoil or compulsorily acquire interest in the land cannot be exercised except in the case of street works, as per subsection (6). Subsection (5) provides that, in the case of highways in the land specified in the table in paragraph 1 of schedule 11, only subsoil that is more than nine metres beneath the level of the surface may be taken.

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Obviously, layers of subsoil are important. There is a link to the depletion of high-quality soils. We need to preserve good soil for farming. Some farmers in this important agricultural area might have spent time improving the quality of soil on their land. We would like this issue to be addressed so that any movement of soil is managed with great care and caution.

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The hon. Gentleman raises an important point. I already attend meetings with the National Farmers Union and the Country Land and Business Association. We will of course continue to work with them, and he will know that we try to reduce any environmental impact when building this railway line.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 8 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 12 agreed to.

Clause 9

Termination of power to acquire land

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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With this it will be convenient to consider that schedule 13 be the Thirteenth schedule to the Bill.

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Clause 9 sets out an expiry period for compulsory purchase powers of five years from the date of Royal Assent. The clause allows the Secretary of State by order to extend this period by not more than five years. Any order extending the time limit for the exercise of these powers is subject to special parliamentary procedure.

Subsection (4) introduces schedule 13, which enables landowners, in the event of an extension to the time limit, to require the Secretary of State to acquire their property interests. If he decides not to, the compulsory purchase powers over the property interest will cease. Similar provisions were included in the Crossrail Act 2008 and the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Act 2017.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 9 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 13 agreed to.

Clause 10

Extinction of rights over land

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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With this it will be convenient to consider that schedule 14 be the Fourteenth schedule to the Bill.

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Clause 10 introduces schedule 14, which contains provisions about extinguishing private rights and any general rights of access over land, where such land is required for phase 2a. Those who suffer loss due to extinguishment of a private right would be entitled to compensation under the normal compensation provisions. Provisions for extinguishing rights were included in the Crossrail Act 2008, the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Act 1996 and the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Act 2017. Similar provisions apply to compulsory acquisition by local authorities.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 10 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 14 agreed to.

Clause 11

Extinction of rights of statutory undertakers

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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The clause applies the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, which provide a process by which any apparatus of the statutory undertaker on such land may be removed and related rights over the land extinguished. Clause 11 is subject to the protected provisions for specified statutory undertakers in schedule 32, which makes provision for the diversion or protection of their apparatus.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 11 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 12

Exclusion of new rights of way

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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The clause prevents rights of way from being acquired by prescription over land that forms an access to any railway infrastructure and which is held for phase 2a.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 12 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 13

Temporary possession and use of land

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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With this, it will be convenient to consider the following:

That schedule 15 be the Fifteenth schedule to the Bill.

That schedule 16 be the Sixteenth schedule to the Bill.

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Clause 13 introduces schedules 15 and 16, which give the Secretary of State powers to take temporary possession of land within the Bill limits for the purpose of phase 2a. The land listed in the table in schedule 16 can be taken only temporarily and not acquired, except for subsoil and rights or restrictive covenants over the land.

Schedule 15 sets out the procedure, including the notice required, the payment of compensation to effective landowners, the suspension of private rights and rights of access over the land during the period of temporary possession and arrangements for the restoration and return of the land.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 13 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedules 15 and 16 agreed to.

Clause 14

Use of roads

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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Clause 14 allows the nominated undertaker to use any road specified in the table in schedule 8, which is land for which only rights may be compulsorily acquired or over which restrictive covenants may be imposed, so as to obtain a right of passage for the purpose of phase 2a. This power ends five years after phase 2a is brought into general use.

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The clause will require ongoing construction work and will cause significant disruption to road networks in certain areas. It is important that disturbance is kept to a minimum. The use of roads is likely to result in unplanned road congestion, which can lead to delays for motorists, disrupt public transport and interfere with walking and cycling routes. It also has the potential to disrupt many people’s travel patterns, with the increase in roadside emissions as well. It is not possible to effectively predict the impact of the disruption to road networks, travel patterns and air quality in advance, which is why Labour thinks it is important that there should be ongoing public engagement to ensure that impacts are mitigated.

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The hon. Gentleman raises another important point—the issue of ongoing engagement with Highways England, local authorities, those who drive, cycle and walk, and also Members of Parliament. That is the case at the moment. HS2 Ltd has provisions in place to ensure that it works with local communities and local council management on local travel plans. It will have to continue to do so through the construction phase.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 14 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 15

Enforcement of restrictions on land use

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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The clause allows the Secretary of State when entering into agreements relating to phase 2a to impose prohibitions or restrictions on the owners of land to bind successors in title as if they were the original party. This is despite the fact that the Secretary of State may not at the time of the agreement own land to be benefited by the prohibition or restriction.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 15 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 16

Compensation for injurious affection

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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The clause provides that the nominated undertaker will be responsible for paying compensation under section 10(1) of the Compulsory Purchase Act 1965, instead of the Secretary of State.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 16 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 17

Deemed planning permission

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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With this it will be convenient to discuss that schedule 17 be the Seventeenth schedule to the Bill.

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The clause provides deemed planning permission under part III of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 for carrying out the works authorised by the Bill. Deemed planning permission is granted only for ancillary works in the Bill where the impact of such work is assessed in the environment statement, or where the development is exempt within the meaning of the environmental impact assessment regulations. Any work outside those parameters would require separate planning permission. Subsection (3) introduces schedule 17, which sets out the conditions of deemed planning permission. That includes the requirement for approval from the relevant local authorities on specific aspects of design and construction to ensure that local impacts are appropriately mitigated in the area—for example, the movement of lorries to and from construction sites.

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This is an extremely important issue as it deals with important environmental matters. The schedule addresses salutary points and deals with the conditions of deemed planning permission, as the Minister mentioned. We are concerned about the environmental matters covered, including the impact of dust, soil and road traffic. We are also concerned about how material is taken away from the site, vehicle movements and the impact on historic sites, which we will deal with later. I will return to these matters later today.

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The hon. Gentleman once again raises valid points about how we remove material and mitigate any impact on the neighbouring communities, which is what HS2 is doing with its local engagement, as well as by working with local authorities. Planning permission provided by clause 17 is necessary to the construction of the proposed scheme and it provides more clarity to those directly and specially affected by the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 17 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 17 agreed to.

Clause 18

Time limit on deemed planning permission

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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The clause sets out, as a condition of deemed planning permission, a time limit of 10 years after Royal Assent within which the authorised works must have commenced. The clause also allows the Secretary of State to extend by regulations the period by which any work must be commenced. Such regulations are to be made by statutory instrument, subject to the negative resolution procedure.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 18 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 19

Power to disapply deemed planning permission

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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The clause allows the Secretary of State by regulations to disapply the planning permission granted by the Bill for maintenance or alteration of phase 2a works carried out after a specific date. The clause is intended to relate to works post construction where it would be disproportionate for the HS2 infrastructure operator to have such broad planning permission.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 19 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 20

Development consent

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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The clause makes it clear that development consent under the Planning Act 2008 is not required for the authorised works. That Act provides for the construction of nationally significant infrastructure projects such as HS2 to be authorised by a development consent order. As the Bill will provide the powers and consents required to build and maintain phase 2a, a development consent order is unnecessary.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 20 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 21

Listed buildings and ancient monuments

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

That schedule 18 be the Eighteenth schedule to the Bill.

That schedule 19 be the Nineteenth schedule to the Bill.

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The clause introduces schedules 18 and 19, which disapply or modify controls for listed buildings and ancient monuments to allow the construction of phase 2a and to enable the installation of noise insulation in listed buildings.

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Obviously, listed buildings and ancient monuments are held in high regard nationally. Can the Minister assure us that, in addition to the views of Historic England, English Heritage and the like, the views of local historical groups and community groups will be taken into account before any decisions are made?

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The hon. Gentleman raises an important point. Of course local communities want to protect their local heritage sites, and of course we will work with local authorities and Historic England. HS2 Ltd has an extensive community engagement team that works on the ground, and there are also opportunities to petition at the appropriate points in the Bill’s passage.

The listed buildings affected are listed in tables 1 and 2 in schedule 18, and the disapplications or modifications apply only to those buildings. Schedule 19 allows a person authorised by the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England to enter land where there is a scheduled monument to observe or advise on the carrying out of works to ensure the protection of monuments. Similar provisions were included in the Crossrail Act 2008 and the phase 1 Act of 2017.

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It is always a cause of dismay when our built heritage is affected by new development. The provisions in the clause are very wide ranging. The Minister could consider better safeguards to further ensure that our country’s built heritage is protected during the construction of this vital national infrastructure project. In particular, perhaps a presumption against demolition could be considered where practical. Indeed, the dismantling and relocation of items of built heritage, where practical, might be presumed a better solution. If that were not possible for the entire building, certainly key features of interest could be dismantled, preserved, salvaged or relocated where appropriate.

On the inspection and observation of works, schedule 18 merely indicates that there will be an opportunity for English Heritage to inspect the works, but there is no obligation on it to do so. That could be tightened by the inclusion of an obligation to ensure that all heritage assets affected are inspected and recorded, including by laser scanning to provide a highly accurate 3D model of any assets that are destroyed as a result of the project. That would be a far better way to safeguard the built heritage of our country as a result of the project.

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I concur with my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow North East. I know he has a deep personal commitment to this issue, as he represents a constituency in which a wonderful historic building suffered serious damage.

We take this issue seriously, and I urge the Government to take great care and look at some specific pieces of heritage that might be affected by the developments, such as the historic mileposts, the 1867 rail building at the important historic rail town of Crewe, and the grade II listed farm houses in the line of the route. It would be ironic if wonderful railway architecture from previous generations was damaged or completely destroyed by the building of HS2. It would be so much better if whatever possible could be preserved for the benefit of future generations. We hope the Government will look further into that and consider possible mitigation.

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Once again, important points have been raised that were also made about HS2 and, no doubt, made to the Select Committee. One hon. Member has a particular issue within their constituency, which no doubt we will hear about again today.

Similar provisions were included in the Crossrail Act 2008 and the HS2 phase 1 Act of 2017. All works must be done in accordance with the environmental minimum requirements, and the normal requirements and appropriate consents are always obtained when dealing with listed buildings.

The Secretary of State will have to work with local authorities and Historic England. The Select Committee considered the scheme’s effect on specific historical sites, and the scheme is designed to seek to avoid impacts on culture or heritage. We recognise the importance of such assets to communities locally and nationally. Even though we are trying to build an up-to-date, modern railway line, since I became HS2 Minister, I have been concerned to ensure that we honour historical sites close by and try to mitigate any impacts on them. I am sure that HS2 Ltd will continue to do that.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 21 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedules 18 and 19 agreed to.

Clause 22

Burial grounds

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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With this it will be convenient to consider that schedule 20 be the Twentieth schedule to the Bill.

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The clause provides for the disapplication of laws concerning burial grounds and human remains. It also introduces schedule 20, which outlines the process that the nominated undertaker must follow in relation to the removal and reburial or cremation of human remains, and the removal and replacement of monuments to the deceased.

The clause disapplies ecclesiastical law for the purpose of constructing phase 2a. It also disapplies the law relating to burial grounds if the remains and any monument to the deceased have been dealt with in accordance with schedule 20. Similar provisions were included in the 2008 and 2017 Acts.

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This is obviously a very sensitive aspect of the Bill. We urge the Government to take great care in this matter and, in particular, to allow for more time and effort to be taken to contact the families of deceased people. In this modern age, with well-established genealogy and records of church burials and other burials, we hope more effort could be made to contact the families whose loved ones’ remains are being moved, because this is a sensitive issue for families.

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The hon. Gentleman makes an important point. If he has had time to visit Euston, he will have seen the huge amount of work being undertaken to deal with remains, which are all being removed by hand. It is a long process, as it should be. We have not yet identified any known burial grounds that could be affected, but in the course of construction, we could discover previously unknown sites. If that occurs, the clause and its related schedule provide for the appropriate processes to manage the removal and reburial or cremation of human remains, and the removal and replacement of monuments to the deceased.

Where remains are less than 100 years old, schedule 20 requires a notice to be published in the local newspaper and displayed at the burial ground. Relatives have the right to remove and re-inter or cremate the remains at the expense of the nominated undertaker, who must pay reasonable costs. I hope that provides some assurance to the hon. Gentleman that we are taking the issue seriously.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 22 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 20 agreed to.

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I propose revising my grouping, and that we debate clauses 23 to 42, and the associated schedules 21 to 31, together.

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Ms Buck, may I take some direction? Are you proposing that I speak just to clause 23?

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You may speak to any clause between clauses 23 and 42, and we will take the decisions at the end, rather than having a speech on each clause and making a decision on it, as we have been doing. This will allow you to make a speech on all of them together.

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I understand. I will do my best, but do call me out if I get it wrong.

Clause 23

Consecrated land

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Clauses 24 to 27 stand part.

That schedule 21 be the Twenty-first schedule to the Bill.

Clause 28 stand part.

That schedule 22 be the Twenty-second schedule to the Bill.

That schedule 23 be the Twenty-third schedule to the Bill.

Clause 29 stand part.

That schedule 24 be the Twenty-fourth schedule to the Bill.

Clause 30 stand part.

That schedule 25 be the Twenty-fifth schedule to the Bill.

Clause 31 stand part.

That schedule 26 be the Twenty-sixth schedule to the Bill.

Clause 32 stand part.

That schedule 27 be the Twenty-seventh schedule to the Bill.

Clauses 33 to 37 stand part.

That schedule 28 be the Twenty-eighth schedule to the Bill.

Clause 38 stand part.

That schedule 29 be the Twenty-ninth schedule to the Bill.

Clauses 39 and 40 stand part.

That schedule 30 be the Thirtieth schedule to the Bill.

Clauses 41 and 42 stand part.

That schedule 31 be the Thirty-first schedule to the Bill.

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Clause 23 provides that works authorised by the Bill may be carried out on consecrated land without being affected by restrictions and obligations imposed by ecclesiastical or other laws. Burial grounds are dealt with separately under clause 22 and schedule 20, which set out how human remains are to be dealt with. The environmental minimum requirements control how the works are to be carried out. Similar provisions were included in the Crossrail Act 2008 and the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Act 2017.

Clause 24 disapplies existing enactments that regulate the use of commons, town or village greens, open spaces or allotments. Similar provisions were included in the 2017 Act.

Clause 25 provides protection for trees subject to tree preservation orders or in conservation areas in relation to works to trees that are required for the purposes of constructing and maintaining phase 2a. Similar provisions were included in the 2008 and 2017 Acts.

Clause 26 allows for the installation and diversion of overhead lines as part of the authorised works, and grants the necessary consent for such works. The clause removes the need for the Secretary of State’s consent under the Electricity Act 1989 where the installation of the line is a work authorised by the Bill and has deemed planning permission under the Bill. Similar provisions were included in the 2017 Act.

Clause 27 introduces schedule 21, which provides for the disapplication of certain legislation relating to water abstraction, impounding and other matters relating to water and drainage. Similar provisions were included in the 2008 and 2017 Acts.

Clause 28 introduces schedules 22 and 23, which make provision for the disapplication of certain legislation relating to buildings and party walls. Schedule 22 provides for the disapplication or modification of various provisions of the Building Act 1984 and building regulations, including provisions on drain repairs and disconnections, the raising of chimneys, the construction of cellars and roofs below subsoil water level, and the control by local authorities of demolition works.

Schedule 23 modifies the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. Among the modifications is an amended process for the resolution of disputes. Clause 29 introduces schedule 24, which disapplies various controls relating to works in or near streets and highways. Similar provisions were included in the 2017 Act. Clause 30 introduces schedule 25, which relates to the granting of permits for the use of heavy commercial vehicles on roads where there are heavy lorry restrictions. Similar provisions were included in the Crossrail Act 2008 and the phase 1 Act.

Clause 31 introduces schedule 26, which modifies legislation on construction noise and gives a defence to the nominated undertaker against statutory nuisance claims in respect to works carried out for phase 2a. As part of the modified appeals and arbitration process introduced by the schedule relating to construction noise, the Secretaries of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and for Transport may, in regulations, make provisions relating to the procedure for matters that are referred to arbitration. Regulations must be made by statutory instrument. Similar provisions were included in the Crossrail Act 2008 and the phase 1 Act.

Clause 32 introduces schedule 27, which disapplies various controls imposed by local Acts relating to Staffordshire and Cheshire. In the 2008 and phase 1 Acts, there were provisions of the same nature in relation to local Acts that had effect in the areas affected by the works authorised by those Acts.

Clause 33 provides that the community infrastructure levy, a charge that local authorities may impose on developers undertaking building projects in their area, is not payable in relation to development authorised by the Bill.

Clause 34 relates to the duties of the Office of Rail and Road as set out in section 4(1) of the Railways Act 1993, and ensures that the requirement for the ORR to facilitate the construction of phase 2a is explicitly set out as one of its objectives. The ORR must consult the Secretary of State about how it should carry out that objective. That will ensure that HS2 is considered by the ORR in exactly the same way as any other rail project, and will ensure that the ORR balances the needs of HS2 with the needs of the wider network. Similar provisions were included in the 2008 and phase 1 Acts.

Clause 35 removes the need for an operating licence under section 6(1) of the Railways Act 1993 for the HS2 infrastructure or train operator when the line is being tested prior to opening. It also provides that this exemption is an appropriate licence exemption for the purposes of the 1993 Act. Similar provisions were included in the phase 1 Act.

Clause 36 provides that the Secretary of State may, before phase 2a is ready for commercial use, disapply the closure provisions of the Railways Act 2005 in the case of closures that are necessary or expedient because of the construction or operation of phase 2a. Similar provisions were included in the phase 1 Act.

Clause 37 introduces schedule 28, which sets out the application of general legislation relating to railways to phase 2a. This includes certain disapplications and incorporations. For example, paragraph 1 of the schedule disapplies the Highway (Railway Crossings) Act 1839, which requires the railroad provider to maintain gates at each end of a crossing and employ a person to open and close said gates. That, of course, is not required, as it is not proposed that level crossings for carriageways be provided in phase 2a. Conversely, the schedule also makes it an offence for a person to obstruct the lawful construction of the authorised works. All those changes aim to ensure that the HS2 railway can be constructed, maintained and operated effectively and safely. Similar provisions were included in the phase 1 Act.

Clause 38 enables the nominated undertaker to require the controller of the railway asset to enter into agreements to support the expeditious delivery of phase 2a. Similarly, the controller of a railway asset may require the nominated undertaker to enter into such an agreement. In default of an agreement between the parties, the terms of such an agreement will be determined by arbitration under schedule 29, which is introduced by subsection (4). Similar provisions were included in the phase 1 Act.

Clause 39 provides that if the Secretary of State acquires any land from a railway operator on which there are works that are already authorised, the Secretary of State may, by order, transfer the responsibility for those works to the Secretary of State or the nominated undertaker. Conversely, if a railway operator acquires land from the Secretary of State on which there are any works authorised by this Bill, the Secretary of State may, with the railway operator’s consent, transfer any responsibility relating to those works to the railway operator.

Clause 40 introduces schedule 30, which makes provision related to traffic regulation, to ensure that traffic regulation orders made or proposed by a traffic authority are consistent with the requirement of the Bill works, and that any TROs required for the Bill works are made in a timely way. Schedule 30 also gives a person authorised by the nominated undertaker the power to remove vehicles that are parked in contravention of a TRO, or on a road that is stopped up under the Bill, and that would obstruct the construction of the Bill works, or would be at risk of being damaged by the works.

Clause 41 allows the Secretary of State, by way of regulations, to appoint a nominated undertaker or undertakers to build phase 2a of HS2. The nominated undertaker would be able to draw on the Bill’s powers, on behalf of the Secretary of State, to deliver the railway. Delegating authority to a delivery body is common practice on major rail infrastructure schemes.

Clause 42 introduces schedule 31, which provides for the extension of planning permission for certain works carried out by statutory undertakers. The schedule disapplies certain limitations of permitted development rights for statutory undertakers, thereby allowing them to use planning permission granted under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 for works that form part of, or works in connection with, phase 2a. Paragraph 2 of the schedule sets out the condition of extended planning permission. It stipulates that the works should be carried out in accordance with any undertaking given by the Secretary of State to the Select Committee of either House during the Bill process, which includes the commitments given through the controls of the environmental minimum requirements.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 23 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 24 to 27 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 21 agreed to.

Clause 28 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedules 22 and 23 agreed to.

Clause 29 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 24 agreed to.

Clause 30 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 25 agreed to.

Clause 31 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 26 agreed to.

Clause 32 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 27 agreed to.

Clauses 33 to 37 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 28 agreed to.

Clause 38 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 29 agreed to.

Clauses 39 and 40 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 30 agreed to.

Clauses 41 and 42 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 31 agreed to.

Clause 43

Protective provisions

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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With this it will be convenient to consider that schedule 32 be the Thirty-second schedule to the Bill.

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Clause 43 introduces schedule 32, which protects the interests of statutory undertakers and other bodies who may be affected by other provisions of the Bill. The provisions are similar to those in the Crossrail Act 2008, the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Act 1996 and the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Act 2017. The protective provisions of the schedule cover highways and traffic; electricity, gas, water and sewerage undertakers; electronic communications code networks; land drainage, flood defence, water resources and fisheries; and the Canal & River Trust.

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We believe that far more work needs to be carried out by the Government over a range of infrastructure projects to minimise the impact of development of sites, and not least to re-explore the issue of rail enhancement programmes and how rail should be used, wherever possible, to shift goods. That is explored in one of our new clauses.

We know that congestion causes pollution, and we know about its effect on communities and the environment. The Government are willing to carry out some monitoring work, but we would like them to do much more. Are they planning to monitor pollution in detail, and to publish new journey times? Projects such as HS2 have an impact not only on those working on the site, but on the wider population in the area. There should, as has been said, be further work. The Government need to respond to the dilemma, not address it superficially.

Paragraph 13 of schedule 32 deals with issues that I want to highlight concerning pedestrians, cyclists and other modes of transport, and how they cross the line. The schedule is not comprehensive enough, and we have drafted a new clause on the subject. We believe that pedestrians and cyclists should be at the top of the Government’s considerations in infrastructure projects, as the Government have targets for increasing walking and cycling. It would be somewhat ironic if an infrastructure project designed to improve transport withheld other aspects of it. The disruption to this group of highway users should be minimal. Bridges and tunnels can provide crucial access to those who need it, and can bring only greater connectivity to those who will be cut off by the HS2 line. The Government need to take a much closer look at this issue, and to address concerns that we will cover in a new clause.

Paragraph 14 of the schedule deals with the salient issue of highways repairs. We are becoming a pothole nation, as we have mentioned on other occasions in the House. Whether on major highways or smaller lanes, it is vital that proper repairs are made as damage occurs. Obviously, there will be damage in a major infrastructure project during which heavy goods vehicles will thunder down local roads. We want the Government to address that issue, which is of great importance to communities.

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The hon. Gentleman raises important points, but most of them are detailed extensively in the environmental statement. My Department and HS2 Ltd have engaged, and will continue to engage, with all those who are worried about their local communities, the environment, congestion and traffic movement. They will all have the opportunity to petition this House and the other place. The clause is necessary to minimise disruption and allow the delivery of the proposed scheme, protects the bodies involved, and enables them to continue to carry out their duties.

Freight has been raised a number of times; I look forward to responding to the new clause on that issue. In anticipation, let me I point out that we are doing what we can to ensure that freight will support the movement of construction materials, whether aggregates or rail cement, during the construction of the railway.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 43 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 32 agreed to.

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We now come to clause 44. I propose revising the grouping, and that we debate clause 44 with clauses 45 to 47. Anybody on the Committee may speak to any of those clauses. Is that acceptable to the Minister?

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Indeed it is.

Clause 44

Existing agreements

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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With this it will be convenient to discuss clauses 45 to 47.

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Clause 44 provides that the undertakings given to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Archbishops’ Council in relation to the powers of the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Act 2017 should apply in the same way to the phase 2a Bill.

Clause 45 enables the Secretary of State to promote a compulsory purchase order if he considers that the construction or operation of phase 2a of HS2 could cause the displacement of an undertaking. The land to be acquired could be used to relocate the undertaking or to provide land in substitution of land displaced. The clause further enables the Secretary of State to promote a compulsory purchase order to acquire land to relocate all or part of an undertaking where, as a result of the exercise of powers under the Bill, the former site is no longer reasonably capable of being used for the undertaking.

Subsections (3) to (6) and (8) provide that the normal process relating to compulsory purchase orders applies. Subsection (7) makes it clear that the Secretary of State can acquire rights or impose restrictive covenants for the benefit of another person, such as the person whose undertaking is being relocated. Subsection (10) amends the equivalent provision of section 49 of the 2017 Act, to make it clear that the Secretary of State can acquire rights or impose restrictive covenants under that section for the benefit of another person, such as the person whose undertaking is being relocated.

Clause 46 allows the nominated undertaker to carry out reinstatement works within the Bill’s limits on a property, including a business or facility, that has been discontinued or substantially impaired in whole or in part, following the exercise of any power under the Bill. This clause aims to assist those affected by the construction of HS2, by providing an efficient mechanism for moving properties such as businesses, and reducing the requirement for extinguishment.

Clause 47 allows the Secretary of State to direct that the deemed planning permission under clause 17(1) does not apply in relation to particular reinstatement works. That relates to works outside of the scope of the Bill, to which it would be inappropriate to apply deemed planning permission.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 44 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 45 to 47 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 48

Enforcement of environmental covenants

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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Clause 48 enables the Secretary of State to ensure that, following the construction of the scheme, he may impose conditions on land released where such land contains environmental mitigation for HS2. This is to ensure the maintenance of mitigation measures; upgrades to the mitigation, if required; and prohibition on uses of the land where such uses would detrimentally affect the measures in place. The clause binds successors in title into any covenant agreed with previous landowners. The Secretary of State or an authorised person may enforce the agreement.

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This is an important clause, particularly the mitigating provision in subsection (2), which proposes planting trees and shrubs to replace habitat where work has been carried out. I cannot stress enough how important it is to get this right. We need to ensure that biodiversity needs are addressed with the right solutions. The proposal to replace trees with native species is positive, but we need to ensure that those species fit with the local environment, that there is proper biodiversity and that habitats are protected in line with local ecology.

As well as planting trees and shrubs, we need to ensure that they are in the right places so that, for example, they mitigate flooding and enhance the natural environment. New plantations should be open to the public where possible and we should seek to create environments that encourage biodiversity, so features such as natural watercourses should be used to their advantage.

The end of the route passes through the salt marshes south of Crewe. That is an unusual habitat and a special site in the country, so that should be taken into account in the preservation of the natural environment.

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The hon. Gentleman raises an important point to consider when undertaking such a large construction project. We are working with all stakeholders he would hope we would work with, including the Woodland Trust, to ensure that we not only replace trees but plant them in the most appropriate places, and to mitigate as much as possible the impact on the environment. The substantial environmental statement covered most of those issues.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 48 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 49

Power to apply Act to further high speed rail works

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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I propose that we debate clauses 49 to 60 together.

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Clause 49 allows the use of an order under the Transport and Works Act 1992—a TWA order—to gain the necessary provisions for extensions or additional works relating to phase 2a of HS2 beyond the works outlined in the Bill. This relates to relatively minor transport works, such as an additional track to connect rail sidings. This power would not be used to promote future phases of HS2, which would be subject to the hybrid Bill process.

A TWA order cannot apply the provisions of the Bill that enable the Secretary of State to extend the time limit for the exercise of compulsory purchase powers—as referenced in clause 9(2) and schedule 13—or the provisions relating to listed buildings or ancient monuments, as referenced in schedules 18 and 19.

Clause 50 permits the authorised works to be carried out by the nominated undertaker on Crown land, or Crown land to be entered, with the consent of the relevant Crown authority.

Clause 51 provides that the powers conferred on the nominated undertaker with respect to works may be exercised in relation to roads under the responsibility of the Secretary of State, subject to his agreement. Subsection (2) states that the Secretary of State can impose conditions in such an agreement.

Clause 52 disapplies provisions of the Crown Estate Act 1961 that contain limitations on the powers of disposal of Crown Estate Commissioners. Those limitations are removed for Crown Estate land within the Bill limits that appears to the Crown Estate Commissioners to be required for phase 2a purposes.

Clause 53 makes provision for the terms “deposited plans” and “deposited sections” for the purposes of the Bill. Clause 54 contains provisions for correcting the plans that have been deposited in Parliament with this Bill, should that be required, and there are similar provisions in the Crossrail Act 2008, the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Act 1996, and the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Act 2017.

Clause 55 provides that where a building that does not form part of the phase 2a works authorised by the Bill is built to replace a building demolished, or substantially demolished, under the Bill, the planning application for that replacement building must be accompanied by an environmental assessment where the construction of the replacement building is likely to have significant effects on the environment. The clause also amends environmental impact assessment regulations, to ensure that they work properly in relation to development authorised by the Bill.

Clause 56 sets out how disputes, which are to be determined under the Bill by arbitration, are dealt with. Similar provisions were included in the Crossrail Act 2008 and the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Act 2017. Clause 57 relates to serving notices or other documents on any person where that is required or authorised under the Bill. The clause allows a document to be served by email or other electronic means where the recipient has agreed to the electronic means of service. Clause 58 allows landowners to resume their former use of land which has been used temporarily for the purposes of HS2, without having to make a further application for planning permission. Clause 59 defines the phrase “Phase 2a purposes” as used in the Bill, and clause 60 defines various terms used throughout the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 49 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 50 to 60 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 61

Financial Provision

Question put, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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This is the standard clause that appears in Bills and provides for the expenditure of public money. It simply provides that any expenditure incurred by the Secretary of State under the Bill shall be paid out of money provided by Parliament.

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The Minister has addressed some of these issues, but it is vital to get this right. HS2 will allow for more reliable rail services. The current Secretary of State has plunged punctuality on the railways to a new depth—a 13-year low—and we must get on top of that issue. This is a tremendous opportunity to improve connectivity, and it is vital to get urban-to-urban connectivity within the country. We are committed to delivering a transformative package of investment across the rail network in the north of England, backed by a commitment of at least £10 billion to transform connections between major northern cities. The Government have touted similar plans, sometimes described as Northern Powerhouse Rail or HS3, but there is no commitment to the funding—it is interesting that the Minister used that point to address the financial side of the programme.

Any incoming Labour Government would rescope the project to seriously reduce costs and provide far better integration. Furthermore, there is concern over the accountability and the ability of our colleagues in this House to scrutinise HS2, ensure that costs are kept under control, and address the issue of public trust. We believe there is the potential to reduce the cost of HS2 by using a number of other technical measures—I will not address those in detail now—and the operation of HS2 is also contentious. Billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is being invested in HS2, and it is right that revenues go back to the Exchequer and not into the hands of private train operating companies. HS2 should be run in the public sector as a public service. I will return to some of those points later in relation to the new clauses.

The Government have been somewhat inept in handling another specific aspect. HS2 has been rightly criticised for sometimes failing to provide value for public money. For example, the Public Accounts Committee described an unauthorised redundancy bill of £1.76 million as

“a shocking waste of taxpayers’ money”,

blaming it on

“weak internal processes at HS2”,

and there have been other concerns about the project.

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Does my hon. Friend agree that the issue of spiralling costs concerns many of us up and down the country? If we do not get this right, it will have a huge impact on how services are delivered in our local communities in terms of housing, education, hospitals and so forth. Does he agree that the Government need to get a grip on the costs of HS2?

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I thank my hon. Friend for his intervention; it is nice to have a colleague from Berkshire Labour intervening on me. The Government need to be responsible with these very large sums of public money, and it is deeply disappointing that they have fallen well short at times.

The words of the Public Accounts Committee are worth considering:

“a shocking waste of taxpayers’ money”

is a severe condemnation of the Government. There have been many other allegations about HS2’s potentially not being well planned or managed. Ensuring that HS2 secures value for money is essential if we are to retain public support for the project. There should be no blank cheque.

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My hon. Friend makes an important point about the general principles of HS2 and the need to ensure that the project delivers maximum economic benefit to the nation, including industrial skills and job opportunities. When we look at how the Treasury assesses such projects, we see that very little consideration is given to how much value is created in the wider economy, particularly through industrial development. In my own constituency, the Caledonian railway works in Springburn faces closure. Would it not have been possible to utilise the supply chain opportunities of HS2 to ensure that highly skilled jobs in the railway industry are supported and maximised through the project’s supply chain?

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I thank my hon. Friend for his intervention and particularly for pointing out the importance of the supply chain. I will add that the value of apprenticeships, degree qualifications and other opportunities for young people linked to the programme should be first and foremost in the Government’s mind when they come to look at the supply chain.

Returning briefly to clause 61, essentially it says that there is potential for uncapped Government expenditure, leaving open the possibility of no upper limit on the costs of HS2. Will the Minister update the Committee on the latest cost estimate, and does she believe that the project will be delivered at cost?

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I remind the hon. Gentleman that we are here to scrutinise the Bill line by line, but I welcome the opportunity to remind everybody of the importance of HS2. Of course, it is a crucial project, linking eight of our 10 greatest cities. Supportive comments have been made recently by everybody involved, including the Mayors of Manchester and Liverpool and the leader of Leeds City Council, who have been watching very closely. They are northern, locally elected leaders who are waiting for HS2 to roll through their communities, because they fully understand not only that, at its peak, it will provide work for 30,000 people—most of those jobs being outside London—but its value for money and how it will smash the north-south divide, encourage our communities to come even closer together and force investment in rail infrastructure in the north of England for more than 100 years. This is a key infrastructure, social and economic project for our country.

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The Minister notes that there is an opportunity to close the north-south divide, but the project’s scope does not include extending the infrastructure to Scotland, to include Glasgow, Britain’s third-largest city. That is critical to the success of this project, and I hope that in the next phase of the HS2 programme the Minister will consider extending the railway all the way to Glasgow, because although Glasgow will benefit from reduced journey times to and from London, the journey times to and from Manchester will actually increase, which is detrimental to the Glaswegian economy.

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I look forward to joining the hon. Gentleman in the Committee and the Chamber, and I welcome his support for the next phase, but let us deal with this Bill in these few short sittings.

We know that this project creates jobs and supports apprenticeships. There are already 2,000 businesses in the chain, and two colleges are supporting it. I do not want to move too far away from the clause, but a valid argument was made about the rest of the Government’s investment in the north. We know that Northern Powerhouse Rail is based on HS2 infrastructure, which is why this Bill, these clauses and this line are so important. We are investing more than £2.5 billion in a rolling programme to upgrade the railway between Manchester, Leeds and York, and the great north rail project is investing more than £1 billion by 2022. I have never seen HS2 as an either/or project; we need to do both. This is a great investment in the north of our country. There is no upper limit. There is just one budget, which is the budget that HS2 must hold itself to. It must also hold itself to the schedules.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 61 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 62

Commencement and short title

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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The clause is the standard clause that appears in Bills. The provisions of the Bill will come into force upon Royal Assent.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 62 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Ordered, That further consideration be now adjourned. —(Michelle Donelan.)

Adjourned till this day at Two o’clock.