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Campaign Update and House of Lords Deadline
On 23 March the HS2 Hybrid Bill was voted through at third reading in the House of Commons by 399 votes to 42. This means that it will now move to the House of Lords for consideration.
This message for those of our supporters who live near the route of Phase 1 of HS2 and are therefore entitled to petition in the House of Lords.
Timing in the House of Lords
The HS2 Bill had its first reading in the House of Lords on 23 March (a procedural stage where there was no vote) and the House of Lords Petitioning period has now begun. It commenced on 24 March and will end at 5pm on 18 April.
Petitioning Process – what can you do?
The House of Lords petitioning process works in the same way as the House of Commons process in that those people who are affected by the HS2 project can submit a written document – a petition – setting out what you would like to see changed in terms of better mitigation or compensation in your area. Once you have submitted a petition you can either appear in person in the House of Lords to ask the House of Lords Select Committee to implement the changes you are requesting or you can appoint someone else to appear on your behalf. This can be any individual such as a local representative, councillor, member of your local action group etc. We would recommend that the most effective way to make your case is to appear in person and explain to the committee what you would like. Technical expertise is not required and the Select Committee will be very sympathetic and helpful to individual petitioners appearing and making their cases. However if you can’t be there in person it is still better to submit a petition and have someone else represent you than submit nothing.
How do I submit my petition?
The good news is that the rules in the House of Lords are slightly different to the House of Commons in that it is now possible to submit petitions by email or by post and you are no longer required to submit it in person or via your MP. You still have to pay a fee of £20 – even if you have petitioned already in the House of Commons. For a full guide to petitioning please click here to review advice provided by the House of Lords
This also includes a template petition to which you can add the points you would like to raise. Please note that if you send a petition by email you must also follow it up with a paper version sent by post (but this can arrive after the 18 April deadline).
Can I petition on the same topics I petitioned on in the House of Commons?
Yes you can. If the mitigation or compensation which you requested in your House of Commons petition was not addressed or granted then you can petition on the same topic in the House of Lords. Whilst the House of Commons Select Committee did make some changes to the HS2 project by granting additional tunnelling/deeper cuttings etc in some areas we believe that there are still a great many areas where the plans remain deeply unsatisfactory and further changes are required to effectively mitigate this project. If you believe that the points made in your first petition were not addressed you can even use the same wording in your House of Lords petition.
The House of Commons Select Committee didn’t listen when I petitioned, is it really worth petitioning again?
We believe that it is because the House of Lords Select Committee is a totally separate body which will be new to the issues. Often members of the House of Lords are experts in their fields and they are also less confined in terms of being “whipped” to vote for a government project. We believe that there is a good chance that the House of Lords may be more independent minded and open to making changes than the House of Commons.
This will be your last chance to achieve any changes to Phase 1 of HS2. The deadline is 5pm on Monday 18 April.
The latest newsletter written by Ruislip Against HS2…
We distribute the SRRA newsletters ahead of the Quarterly meetings which take place in January, April, July and October each year. Please find at the link below the October 2014 SRRA Newsletter. Much has moved on as we discussed at the meeting on the 22nd October. Time, tide and South Ruislip wait for no man. October 2014 Newsletter
Please note the next meeting is on the 21st January 2015 not 28th as mentioned in the newsletter.
HS2 is currently being debated in parliament. Even though there is strong opposition to it and it has been flagged up as a red/amber risk as to whether it will provide value for money by the parliamentary watchdog, there is a strong feeling that it may still be pushed through.
We have to be prepared for this eventuality, so whilst we remain resolutely opposed to the project we need to try to mitigate its effects locally.
The rail link through South Ruislip is currently planned to be in a tunnel which reduces much of the blight that would have been experienced by an over ground option. What many in the area may not be aware of is that to enable the tunnel to proceed a number of major works must be carried out to the local services such as sewerage and water systems.
These works will create major disruption for long periods of time. They will be mainly centred on West End Road, Station Approach, Long Drive, the green area adjacent to Bridgwater Road and Victoria Road. The Victoria Road effect will be from the construction of a vent shaft behind the old Focus building.
A petition process was announced by HS2 which gives individuals, associations and businesses the right to petition parliament to seek ways to mitigate the local disruption.
SRRA has submitted a petition on the residents behalf and while we clearly stated that we remain opposed to the project we requested that when these works were carried out they must not be scheduled simultaneously, access to shops, businesses and residential properties must be available at all times etc. We received a great deal of help from the council’s personnel in ensuring that our petition was presented in the correct format and for that we thank them for their assistance. A copy of the mandate signed by committee members following the AGM and the petition are on the website. [Ed: Clicking on the links will download the documents in Word format to your browsing device].
Author: Sid Jackson