What is the HS2 Hybrid Bill?


Unlike other infrastructure or regeneration projects, High Speed 2 will be delivered by three specific pieces of legislation. On the 17th July 2017 the Government introduced the High Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) Bill into Parliament which specifically relates to Phase 2a of the route, having previously obtained Royal Assent for Phase1 earlier in 2017.

The Hybrid Bill involves a special parliamentary procedure that is debated in both Houses of Parliament and will give the ability to those affected by the Bill (whether an individual, business, or organisation) to ‘petition’ either or both Houses to mitigate the effect of the Bill on their respective interest.  

A Select Committee from each House of Parliament will consider petitioners concerns in a number of hearings.

The process of the Hybrid Bill and subsequent petition period is summarised below:

  THE PROCESS

WHAT IS A PETITION?

A petition is a summary of objections to particular aspects of the Hybrid Bill. It is a request to the House of Commons for the petitioner to be allowed to argue their case before the Select Committees.

WHO CAN PETITION AND HOW?

  • Anyone over the age of 18 ‘directly and specially affected’ by the Bill may petition.
  • The petition must be submitted in writing following a prescribed format available through this link: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/commonspetitioningkit.pdf
  • The petition must be taken in person by either a Petitioner or Parliamentary Agent acting on their behalf to the Private Bill Office.
  • A standard submission fee of £20 is required.
  • Subsequently, a petition will not be considered by the Committee unless the Petitioner or their Agent appears at a future allocated session.

ORDER OF PROCEEDINGS

Once the petition has been submitted and a session has been allocated to hear the case, both the Promoter and the Petitioner have a right to appear before the Committee to make their respective cases. Petitioners can be heard either in person or their appointed Parliamentary Agent or Counsel can do so on their behalf.

  • The Petitioner sets out how they are affected by the Bill
  • Usual to allow the Petitioner the first and last word
  • Petitioner can call witnesses
  • Witnesses can be cross-examined by the Promoter, then re-examined by the Petitioner
  • Once the Petitioners case is made, Counsel for the Promoter can call witnesses and witnesses can be cross examined by the Petitioner
  • The Petitioner has the right of reply

POTENTIAL CHANGES

Following the petition hearing the Select Committee has the power to suggest changes to the Bill. Should these be accepted and agreed in Parliament then the Promoter can be instructed to change particular aspects of the Bill.

NEXT STEPS

  • Check to see if the Bill affects your interests directly and whether there is a negative impact.
  • If so, then you may need to ensure your position is protected by submitting a petition following the Second Reading debate in the Commons. This is expected to take place in the autumn.

Roger Hannah & Co has a dedicated team which specialises in compulsory purchase matters, including the provision of High Speed 2.  If you wish to discuss your particular circumstances and how Roger Hannah & Co can assist, please contact a member of the HS2 team directly.

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