Questions asked by Cheryl Gillan on Friday 7 September 2012. Answers from House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 10 Sep 2012
High Speed 2 Railway Line
Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to review his policy on High Speed 2. 
Mr Simon Burns: There are no plans to review the Department’s policy on High Speed 2. The policy remains as that set out in the Command Paper High Speed Rail: Investing in Britain’s Future—Decisions and Next Steps (Cm 8247), published in January.
Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what meetings he has planned with the Chancellor of the Exchequer to discuss funding for the High Speed 2 project. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Secretary of State for Transport regularly discusses the Government’s plans to invest in transport infrastructure with the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will visit Chesham and Amersham constituency to view the potential effects of the proposed route of High Speed 2 on the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 
Mr Simon Burns: Before introducing the HS2 Bill into Parliament I will consider carefully the impacts of the scheme on all of the areas along the line of route to understand how it potentially affects local communities and the environment. However, I am confident that impacts to the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty have been minimised wherever practicable, with 7.5 miles now in tunnel or green tunnel compared to 5.2 miles for the consultation route, and 3.75 miles in cutting, mitigating visual and noise impacts.
Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has issued instructions to Parliamentary Counsel on the drafting of a Hybrid Bill on the High Speed 2 project. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Department has a regular dialogue with Parliamentary Counsel regarding legislative issues. This includes discussions about the Hybrid Bill for HS2.
Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimates his Department has made of the costs of preparing and publishing a Hybrid Bill for the High Speed 2 project; and if he will publish those costs. 
Mr Simon Burns: For the period 2012-13 to 2014-15 the Department has allocated a budget of £527 million to High Speed 2 Ltd. This budget includes work on the Hybrid Bill for the London to Birmingham phase, as well as preparatory work on the second section of the high speed rail network. No specific estimate has been made of the budget for the preparation and publication of the Hybrid Bill for the first phase.
10 Sep 2012 : Column 32W – questions asked later.
Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what meetings have been planned or arranged with (a) the chairman of HS2 Ltd and (b) the Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd; and if he could list them. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire Dales (Mr McLoughlin), is holding introductory meetings with a range of key stakeholders, including the Chairman and Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd.
Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate his Department has made of the cost to the public purse of the judicial reviews to take place in relation to the High Speed 2 project; and how much his Department has budgeted for those reviews. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Department for Transport (DFT) has estimated that the Government’s defence in the ongoing judicial reviews of HS2 will cost approximately £300,000 in addition to DFT and HS2 Ltd salary costs. We have budgeted accordingly.
Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) lawyers, (b) consultants and (c) officials in his Department are working on the High Speed 2 judicial reviews. 
Mr Simon Burns: In response to (a), DFT’s legal defence team for the HS2 judicial reviews includes three lawyers employed by the Department: one who advises solely on HS2, including the judicial reviews; and two whose portfolios include, among other things, HS2 and the judicial reviews. In response to (b) and (c), no consultants, and three policy officials are working predominantly on the judicial reviews.
Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if his Department will undertake a study of the combined effect of High Speed 2 and any airport expansion in the South East on Chesham and Amersham and the Chiltern Hills. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Department has no current plans to undertake such a study.