Recent Written Answers on HS2

Written answers to questions from Cheryl Gillan and Andrea Leadsom.  Answers given from 20th – 26th November.

20th November 2012 – http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm121120/text/121120w0002.htm#12112048002309

Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many properties situated (a) 100 metres or less and (b) over 100 metres from the route of the proposed HS2 line have been accepted onto the Exceptional Hardship Scheme. [128703]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department does not publish information relating to the distance from the line of route of successful applications to the HS2 Exceptional Hardship Scheme. There is no set distance within which properties qualify and the distance criterion is only one of five criteria assessed as part of an application. We do not believe it would be in the public interest to release this information as it risks providing misleading information to potential applicants that would undermine the effective working of the scheme.

21st November 2012 – http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm121121/text/121121w0002.htm#12112170001437

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will ask HS2 Ltd to publish feedback received by letter, email and telephone in local community fora; and if he will review the process for holding such fora. [129025]

Mr Simon Burns: HS2 Ltd set up community forums along the London-Birmingham high speed rail line of route to provide an opportunity for local representatives to raise issues of importance to them and to review information updates on the project. The forums are meetings held on a bi-monthly cycle and are chaired by a local participant wherever practicable. HS2 Ltd keep the way the forums run under constant review.

HS2 Ltd do not intend to publish individual items of correspondence from local community forums, but all agendas and minutes of the forums are made publicly available at:

http://highspeedrail.dft.gov.uk/forums/community-forums

Feedback from community forums will inform HS2’s design work, which will in turn be presented for public consultation in the draft Environmental Statement, providing the public with a chance to comment on whether they feel their comments have been taken into account.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he has taken to ensure that the processes being followed on High Speed 2 comply with the requirements of the Aarhus Convention. [129026]

Mr Simon Burns: I recognise the requirements set out in the Aarhus Convention and how they apply to HS2. The Department and HS2 Ltd have actively considered these requirements as part of their work programme.

Mrs Gillan:To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish all the reports prepared for his Department by Arup on options for a high speed railway in the last five years. [129027]

Mr Simon Burns: Reports from contractors on route options for HS2 are routinely published on the Department’s website once they have been considered and approved by the Secretary of State. They are available at the following address:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/topics/high-speed-rail

Some older reports have been archived and are available at:

www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

22nd November 2012 – http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm121122/text/121122w0001.htm#12112248001964

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the speech given by the Prime Minister to the CBI on 19 November 2012, whether he intends to (a) reduce and (b) cancel planned consultations by his Department or HS2 Ltd in the next two years. [129485]

Mr Simon Burns: The Government remains committed to its decision to proceed with HS2, the most significant transport infrastructure project in the UK since the building of the motorways. We also understand the significant impacts that will come with its construction and want to ensure that the views of those affected are fully considered in the development of our proposals and subsequent decisions.

As such, the forthcoming consultations on HS2 are being planned in line with the Government’s new Consultation Principles and will include the interim compensation arrangements for property owners affected by Phase 2, a draft Environmental Statement for Phase 1 and the preferred route for Phase 2.

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