Monday, 25 November 2013

HS2 ~ Hybrid Bill published

There is already an Act of Parliament relating to the proposed High Speed 2 rail project -High Speed Rail (Preparation) Act 2013.   It is an Act to make provision authorising expenditure in preparation for a high speed railway transport network.

A Bill, in two parts, has now been presented to Parliament - see Department of Transport.   The Bill may be read via the website of Parliament - High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill 

Bill (as introduced) - The Bill has 65 sections and 31 very detailed Schedules.

The Department of Transport said:

'HS2 will take a major step forward today (25 November 2013) with publication of the Bill for phase one of the country’s new railway between London and Birmingham.  The hybrid Bill, effectively the planning application for the scheme, will give the government the powers to construct and operate the railway. It will also give those affected by the proposed line the opportunity to petition Parliament, both for and against the proposals, and have their case heard by a committee of MPs.'

An interesting feature is that the Bill is a HYBRID Bill.  Bills are usually either Public Bills (e.g. the High Speed Rail (Preparation) Bill itself ) or Private Bills (see Private Bills 2009-10) but a Hybrid Bill  has features of both.  Private Bills  only change the law as it applies to specific individuals or organisations, rather than the general public.

Opposing a Bill may not necessarily be as easy for individuals as perhaps the Department of Transport announcement suggests.  Opposition may require technical analysis as well as the need to address some difficult legal issues.  For example, there will be legal issues relating to compulsory purchase of land, compensation for such purchases and planning law.  Furthermore, much of the Act is concerned with overriding matters such as consecrated land and disapplying controls under various local Acts of Parliament relating to Oxfordshire, Staffordshire and West Midlands.  The right of a petitioner to be heard in opposition to a private or hybrid bill (locus standi) depends on whether his personal property or interests stand to be adversely affected by the passage into law of the measure concerned.  It is possible for counsel to represent parties making representations about a bill - How to petition against a private Bill.

A Library Note relating to Hybrid Bills was published by Parliament on 19th November 2013 - Hybrid Bills - note .

Links of interest:

Parliament - Living Heritage - Roads and Railways

Parliament - Living Heritage - Roads and Railways - Private Acts

Local and Personal Acts of Parliament - Wikipedia

Phase 1 - Environmental impact

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