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15.04.16

HS2 Bill passes to committee stage in House of Lords

The HS2 Bill passed its second reading in the House of Lords yesterday, meaning that it will now be scrutinised by a House of Lords select committee.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Parliamentary under-secretary to the Department for Transport, presented the bill, which passed the House of Commons last month.

Lord Ahmad said that HS2 is vital for meeting growing passenger demand, improving connections between British cities and generating jobs.

He said the railway line is “what is required if we are to deliver a better, more integrated Britain”.

He also defended HS2 Ltd from accusations that it has failed to scrutinise the project’s impact on the environment and communities, saying the company had implemented improvements following consultation with stakeholders.

Labour’s Lord Rosser expressed his party’s support for the Bill but requested a number of changes, including introducing an option to place HS2 in public ownership, ensuring that it is built using British-produced steel, and government action to respond to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs’ Committee report accusing HS2 of ‘defensive conduct and miscommunication’ in its dealings with the public.

Lord Berkeley, a member of RTM’s editorial board, also proposed a motion that the select committee appoint a special engineering advisor, but this was rejected.

The deadline for petitioning the House of Lords on the HS2 Bill is Monday 18 April. Camden Council have prepared a petition to the House of Lords, calling for better compensation and changes to how HS2 engage with the community.

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