More meetings and some answers

There is no question that the most motivated and active MP since the announcement of the Stage 2 plans for HS2 has been Stone MP, Bill Cash. He organised two public meetings within less than week of the announcement, and another two are happening this Saturday, 9th February at; Stone station at 11am Station Road, Stone, ST15 8ER and Whitmore Village Hall at 1.30pm Newcastle Road, Whitmore, Newcastle, ST5 5BU. Besides that, he has laid down several written questions in Parliament, 14 of which have been answered below.

If you are trying to set up a public meeting with the hope of setting up an action group in your area, please email joe@stophs2.org or if you need any other help, email needhelp@stophs2.org. If you think your MP needs more motivation, email them through this link

High Speed 2 Railway LineMrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his latest estimate is of the total cost for High Speed 2 including the newly announced route to Leeds and Manchester; and on what date that estimate was calculated. [140745]

Mr Simon Burns: When the Government announced its decision to proceed with HS2 in January 2012, the construction costs were estimated at around £16.3 billion for Phase 1, and around £16.4 billion for Phase 2 (2011 prices). Having received advice on route options from HS2 Ltd, the cost of the Government’s initial preferred route, station and depot options for Phase Two, published on 28 January 2013, is now estimated at around £16.8 billion, without the spur to Heathrow (if the spur is included the costs for Phase Two would rise to around £18.2 billion). Further information is available in the Command Paper ‘High Speed Rail, investing in Britain’s Future, Phase 2: Leeds, Manchester, and beyond’.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which consultancy companies are currently contracted to (a) HS2 Ltd and (b) his Department; what the contractual arrangements are in each case; and what fee is being paid to each such company for work connected to HS2. [140746]

Mr Simon Burns: The information requested has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans his Department has to publicise the announced consultation on compensation for phase 2 of High Speed 2; and whether any advertising will be placed in local papers along the route. [140788]

Mr Simon Burns: The HS2 Phase Two Exceptional Hardship consultation has now begun. Those individuals recorded by the Land Registry as owners of property or land that has been identified as at risk due to the initial preferred route for Phase Two of HS2, whose property or land is located above a proposed tunnelled section of the initial preferred route for Phase Two, or whose property or land would be at risk or above a tunnelled section of the published Heathrow spur route have received a letter which notifies them of the EHS compensation consultation. In addition, HS2 Ltd has informed local authorities, libraries and Citizens’ Advice Bureaux about these proposals and asked to display consultation materials sent to them and make it available to their clients. The EHS consultation will be advertised in local newspapers along the line of route.

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what surveys the contractors who gave advice to his Department on the proposals for phase 2 of High Speed 2 conducted in Stone constituency; [140936]

(2) how the contractors who gave advice to the Department on the proposals for Phase 2 proceed with their survey methods and over what time period. [140967]

Mr Simon Burns: No surveys have been undertaken to date in the Stone constituency to develop the initial preferred scheme for Phase Two of HS2. The advice submitted by HS2 Ltd for Phase Two identifies options which best meet the remit for HS2 Ltd in terms of passenger demand, cost, ease of build, journey time and sustainability. An environmental impact assessment for phase two which will take account of a wide range of environmental information, including baseline site surveys, is proposed to commence in 2015. Further details can be found in the command paper and sustainability summary documents published on 28 January and placed in the House Libraries.

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria the contractors who gave advice to his Department on the proposals for phase 2 of High Speed 2 applied in making their assessments with regard to the local environment, landscape and heritage in Stone constituency. [140937]

Mr Simon Burns: The criteria that HS2 Ltd has applied in making their assessments are described in the published reports. Please see “HS2 Phase Two Initial Preferred Scheme—Sustainability Summary” in particular.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publicati … ty-summary

Copies of these reports have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what public consultation and meetings were carried out by the contractors who gave advice to his Department on the proposals for phase 2 of High Speed 2 in making their assessments with regard to the route through Stone constituency. [140938]

Mr Simon Burns: No public consultation or meetings have been undertaken regarding the development of route options to minimise unnecessary blight and uncertainty. The consultation on the Secretary of State for Transport’s preferred route will start later this year.

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what criteria he will apply to compensation for those whose properties will be affected by High Speed 2; [140940]

(2) what steps he will take to ensure that pre-blight house prices are secured for those (a) eligible for compulsory purchase or (b) under statutory blight as a result of High Speed 2 in (i) route section HSM03 Streethay to Swynnerton, (ii) route section HSM06 Swynnerton to Madeley and (iii) route section HSM08 Madeley to Hough; [140960]

(3) what compensation he plans to make available to homeowners living along the proposed High Speed 2 route between the route sections Streethay and Hough. [140962]

Mr Simon Burns: For Phase One, the Government’s proposals for compensation are set out in the property consultation document ‘High Speed Two: Property and Compensation for London-West Midlands: Compensation proposals for property owners and occupiers whose properties may be affected by a high speed rail link’. This consultation closed on 31 January. We will now consider the responses.

The Government has announced a public consultation on the proposed Exceptional Hardship Scheme (EHS) for Phase Two of HS2. It will run until 29 April 2013. This is an interim scheme which would remain in place only until such time as the statutory blight provisions apply to properties affected by Phase Two or we introduce a wider package of discretionary measures broadly consistent with those for Phase One. At a later stage, following a decision on the final route, and if the Secretary of State for Transport decided to use compulsory purchase powers to acquire land, the normal statutory provisions for the assessment and payment of compensation would apply.

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether public funds will be made available for opposing the relevant legal and planning rules and hybrid Bill procedures of Phase 2 of High Speed 2. [140944]

Mr Simon Burns: There is no source of public funding for people to bring legal challenges to the Government’s decisions on HS2.

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport in relation to Phase 2 of High Speed 2, what estimate his Department has made of the value per hectare per year of the affected land in (a) route section HSM03 Streethay to Swynnerton, (b) route section HSM06 Swynnerton to Madeley and (c) route section HSM08 Madeley to Hough. [140945]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department does not hold such information.

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to mitigate the effect of Phase 2 of High Speed 2 on (a) the River Trent and (b) other bodies of water. [140947]

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on biodiversity offsetting along the route of High Speed 2. [140731]

Mr Simon Burns: The Government is determined to ensure that HS2 is an environmentally responsible project. Ministers and HS2 Ltd meet regularly with environmental groups to discuss the environmental opportunities that HS2 could offer, including the biodiversity offsetting. The initial preferred scheme has emerged from several hundred options as the one considered overall to best meet HS2 sustainability objectives including sustainability. The scheme development has included discussions with the Government’s advisory bodies including Natural England, the Environment Agency and English Heritage. However, we are at an early stage in the development of the scheme for Phase Two: more work will be undertaken to refine the alignment and include mitigation and a number of the impacts will reduce as the designs are progressed.

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to Phase 2 of the High Speed 2 railway line, how many properties the Government would own as a result of the proposals to proceed with (a) route section HSM03 Streethay to Swynnerton, (b) route section HSM06 Swynnerton to Madeley and (c) route section HSM08 Madeley to Hough. [140948]

Mr Simon Burns: It is not possible to be certain how many properties the Government would own in the future in these areas. The agreed route may differ from that proposed; the number of property owners who may seek assistance through discretionary schemes is not within the Department’s control; and the number of properties owned by the Government will vary over time.

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many valuations of properties accepted onto the High Speed 2 Exceptional Hardship scheme have been disputed. [140955]

Mr Simon Burns: No valuations of properties accepted onto the HS2 Exceptional Hardship Scheme are currently in dispute. Seven applicants have previously disputed the price offered to them. These disputes have all now been resolved.

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment he has made of properties requiring access to the Exceptional Hardship scheme for those living on or near to the proposed route for Phase 2 of the High Speed 2 on the route sections running from Streethay to Hough; [140956]

(2) what assessment he has made of properties requiring access to the Exceptional Hardship scheme for those living on or near to the proposed route for Phase 2 of the High Speed 2 in rural areas. [140959]

Mr Simon Burns: We do not offer precise predictions of either the gross or net costs of the various compensation schemes that we have proposed. This is because the number of property owners who may seek compensation, the circumstances of the properties which the Government might purchase, and the precise costs of properties (especially if they are bought some time in the future) are not within the Department’s control. We would not want to imply that the budget is cash-limited and that this would affect our willingness to purchase properties.

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the cost to the taxpayer of the construction of Phase 2 in (a) route section HSM03 Streethay to Swynnerton, (b) route section HSM06 Swynnerton to Madeley and (c) route section HSM08 Madeley to Hough. [140958]

Mr Simon Burns: Due to the scale, complexity and timeframe of the project, our starting assumption is that the funding and financing of HS2 infrastructure would come in large part from central government funds. While our base assumption is that Government is likely to have a central role in driving forward investment in this vital infrastructure for the country we would examine the potential for private financing to reduce the up-front capital demand on the taxpayer and offer-value for money. The construction costs estimated at this stage are for an initial preferred route which begins the process of engagement to determine the final route. The Government’s initial preferred route, station and depot options for Phase Two are estimated at around £16.8 billion, without the spur to Heathrow. This cost figure falls within the cost range that HS2 Ltd produced for Phase Two of £15.7 billion to £18.7 billion, reflecting the necessary uncertainty involved in producing costs at this early stage in the project.

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much expenditure (a) his Department and (b) HS2 Ltd expects to incur on Phase 2 of the High Speed 2 programme, including on compensation payments. [140961]

Mr Simon Burns: HS2 Ltd is the Department’s executive non-departmental public body, with a remit for the delivery of HS2. Regarding the Department’s expenditure on HS2, I refer my hon. Friend to my answer of 23 October 2012, Official Report, column 768W, and my answer of 24 October 2012, Official Report, column 893W.

1 Feb 2013 : Column 1011W

Regarding the cost of compensation payments, we do not offer precise predictions of either the gross or net costs of the various compensation schemes that we have proposed. This is because the number of property owners who may seek compensation, the circumstances of the properties which the Government might purchase, and the precise costs of properties especially if they are bought some time in the future) are not within the Department’s control. We would not want to imply that the budget is cash-limited and that this would affect our willingness to purchase properties.

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to mitigate the effect of Phase 2 of High Speed 2 on residential properties. [140964]

Mr Simon Burns: The initial preferred scheme has emerged from several hundred options as the one considered overall to best meet objectives for passenger demand, cost, ease-of-build, journey time and sustainability. Considerations of sustainability have been integral to scheme design since commencing work on Phase Two in autumn 2010. During this time, sustainability has been one of the key criteria in the development of route and station proposals that fit as far as possible with the environment and communities they pass. However, the project is at an early stage in the development of the scheme: more work will be undertaken to refine the alignment and include mitigation such as landscaping and noise barriers, and a number of the impacts will reduce as the designs are progressed.

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport who the contractors were who gave advice to the Department on the proposals for Phase 2 in (a) route section HSM03 Streethay to Swynnerton, (b) route section HSM06 Swynnerton to Madeley and (c) route section HSM08 Madeley to Hough. [140966]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department has set up HS2 Ltd to provide advice on proposals for Phase Two. Details of the consultants employed by HS2 Ltd are set out in their reports, published on the DFT website on 28 January. Copies of the reports have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses and can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publicati … and-beyond

James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to his Statement on HS2, what consideration has been made for the provision of double decker passenger trains operating on HS2. [141097]

Mr Simon Burns: HS2 infrastructure will be built to be compliant with the European Technical Standards for Interoperability, the TSIs. The TSIs mandate that the railway infrastructure is constructed to ‘GC gauge’. Building to ‘GC Gauge’ requires all the structures on the route, such as bridges, tunnels and viaducts to be built with sufficient clearance to allow the operation of TSI compliant rolling stock which would include Double Deck passenger trains such as the TGV Duplex.

 

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4 comments to “More meetings and some answers”
  1. Cost of HS2 £20 billion plus
    Benefit possibly 350,000 well off passengers a year.?

    Cost of proper pothole and road renovation £9 billion
    Benefit practically everyone

    • @R.Thorne
      I can only presume you are ‘avin a larf with your 350,000 passengers per year forecast?

      Please explain how you arrive at this figure – I’m genuinely interested in your reasoning here becuse it might provide some insight into the rationale of those hostile to HS2 and why they believe it will ever benefit such a small number of people?

      • I agree, Padav, that R.Thorne is certainly wrong on one thing. The cost of HS2 will be nothing like £ 20 BILLION. You know full well that £ 39 BILLION is a much better estimate.

        You must be ” ‘avin a larf ” if you think that is money well spent.

        • knc
          padav pete is right. you just need to count the premier league returns to see:
          ((Manchester x 2 x4 x 20000) +( London x 4 x 2x 20000)) x2 = 720,000. At least our country’s elite will be well orf.
          Sorry, I forgot Fulham.

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