The Stop HS2 campaign is calling on everyone who cares about the impact of HS2 to petition against the Hybrid Bill before Parliament, now it has got to the committee stage. While the Select Committee which will consider petitions cannot cancel HS2, they do have to power to make significant changes to the Bill.
People and organisations which are ‘directly and specially affected’ by HS2 have the right to submit petitions, but given some of the widespread powers of the Bill, this could include anyone. Powers contained in the Bill would allow HS2 Ltd to compulsorily purchase and piece of land if they see a commercial opportunity, and allow representatives of HS2 Ltd to enter any property within 500 metres of not just HS2, but of any potential future high-speed rail line. Not allowing access under clauses 51 & 52 of the Bill could become a criminal offence, which should be of significant concern to those living near the proposed route for Phase 2 of the line.
To submit a petition costs £20, and petitions must be hand delivered to Parliament by 2pm on Friday 23rd May, either by the petitioner, their agent, or their MP. To assist people getting petitions in, Stop HS2 have produced a comprehensive guide on petitioning which can be found at www.stophs2.org/toolbox, and Campaign Manager Joe Rukin will be accepting petitions, which authorise him to act as an agent and deliver the forms, by post until Thursday 22nd. All of the required forms can be found here.
To illustrate how easy it is to petition against the Bill, the campaign has launched a video, entitled “Petitioning the HS2 Hybrid Bill. If a nine year-old can do it, so can you!”, featuring nine year-old Alexander Rukin (below).
Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin said:
“For four years, HS2 Ltd have been ignoring what people have been saying about how HS2 could cause less of an impact on communities and the countryside, but now everyone has the chance to be heard by people who will actually listen. The Committees for both Crossrail and HS1 made significant changes, and both of those projects had been planned far more competently than HS2, so it is essential now that anyone who has anything to say about HS2 says it.”
“My son has been asking for ages if he could do something to help the campaign, and with him being effected by HS2 in several ways, it made sense for him to encourage others to petition against HS2. He is really excited about going in front of the committee, but that might just be because he will get a day off school!”
Stop HS2 Chair, Penny Gaines said:
“It’s really important that anyone affected by HS2 petitions Parliament. They have been saying for the last four years that people affected should petition, and now you have until 23rd May to do so.”
“If you don’t petition, you won’t get the changes you want. There are valid reasons for doing this, to get local mitigation and to demonstrate the numbers of people affected. So it is really important that as many individuals and groups as possible petition.”