Yesterday evening the Hs2 Hybrid Bill Committee released its final report. There were no real surprises in this solid piece of work – although some of it still seems to have come as a shock to the anti Hs2 campaign, but that’s because of the dream world they’ve insisted in living on for the past few years.
The report has rejected all the more outlandish and impossible asks, such as a fully bored tunnel under the Chilterns, terminating the line short at Old Oak Common and restricting train speeds.
The 112 page report has also made some practical and sensible recommendations on the way the phase 2 hybrid bill petitioning process should be revised. Here’s a look at some of the detail. This can only be a brief overview. I’d recommend that those interested read the full report themselves. It can be found here.
On the Chiltern tunnel (full details on page 36-37 of the report).
I can’t help wondering if the decision was also made with an eye on precedent. If the Committee agreed that an AONB was to be sacrosanct & new transport links had to be tunnelled under it life would be made very difficult for future developments in any AONB. The Ctte went on to say this;
When it came to the idea that Hs2 shouldn’t go to Euston, the Committee had this to say;
So, Euston it is. The Committee were well aware of the potential for disruption to Camden residents lives and made several recommendations & observations in the pages following on from the above.
As for the daft idea put forward by Hs2aa that Hs2 trains should have their speed limited, the Ctte said;
Looking through the report it becomes clear that anti Hs2 campaigners Hs2aa had their arguments rejected time and time again. They’ve not come out of this process at all well.
After dealing with all the substantive matters of the petitions, the Committee moved on to look at the Hybrid Bill process itself. They made several recommendations to streamline the process and make it more relevant to the modern age whilst enhancing the ability of people who are genuinely affected to petition. At the same time they made several specific recommendations that will prevent organisations like the StopHs2 campaign from trying to bog down the process. If adopted, these will have a major impact on the progress of the Hs2 Phase 2 Hybrid Bill. Locus standi was one such issue.
The Committee made some pithy observations on the petitions themselves;
That said, the Ctte made it clear they were not criticising the majority of petitioners (see 403).
The whole report is a fine piece of work. Hs2 Ltd don’t escape criticism, nor do the Council of Mortgage Lenders or its members for the ridiculous zero valuations applied to some properties affected by Hs2! To my mind all the criticisms are considered and valid.
Anyone who’s ever watched the Committee in action can appreciate the difficulties of the task, so the members of the Committee should be commended for their scrupulous fairness and dedication to the task they were entrusted with. Sadly, StopHs2 campaigners are already doing the opposite. Here’s a taste of their reactions:
Meanwhile, the main anti Hs2 groups seem to be deliberately ignoring the report. StopHs2 are too busy tweeting about a side-show at the PACAC regarding the Hs2 Residents Commissioner whilst nothing has been heard from Hs2aa for days.
Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt….