HS2 MAKES IT A CRIMINAL OFFENCE TO REFUSE IT ACCESS TO HOMES.

HS2 ACTION ALLIANCE

NEWS

 

April 27, 2014.

HS2 MAKES IT A CRIMINAL OFFENCE TO REFUSE IT ACCESS TO HOMES.

 

A clause buried in the HS2 Hybrid Bill, being voted on in Parliament on Monday, says refusing HS2 Limited representatives access to their homes and property on or near the route will be a fast track to a criminal record – and even jail.

 

Clause 51 of the The High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill – debated by MPs in a Second Reading on Monday afternoon – establishes a new “right of entry” for anyone nominated by HS2 to enter any property within 500 metres (546 yards) of the line.

 

“A refusal to provide entry would be a criminal offence. This new power not only applies to the route of Phase 1 of HS2, but to any property near any other potential future high-speed line, even if no separate Bill for it has been published, let alone passed. This has massive implications for any future similar such project: if you try to protect your property and stop the Government riding a coach and horses – or train – through your home or normal democratic planning application process requirements, then you could be jailed,” said Richard Houghton of HS2 opposition group, HS2 Action Alliance.

 

“It means, in some cases, people will lose their human rights – and in some cases their MPs will simply look the other way.

 

“There are three more clauses buried in the Bill which have immense consequences: Clause 31 and Schedule 20 override legal safeguards to protect drinking water; Clause 39 scraps the normal legal procedure for closing any existing railway line or station if ministers deem its closure ‘necessary or expedient’ for HS2; Clause 47 allows minsters to compulsorily purchase any land – anywhere – if they think it HS2 creates ‘an opportunity for regeneration or development’ on it.

 

“The HS2 Hybrid Bill is clearly becoming the HS2 Unread Bill – because not only are many MPs likely to be unaware of those clauses and others, they are also unlikely to have had the opportunity to read key information and reports relating to environmental damage, carbon impact, compensation for people losing their homes, or the UK Government breaking EU rules on environmental impact assessment published or presented to them hours before they were breaking for Easter. They’ll debate and vote on their first day back.

 

“Many constituents who are 100% against HS2 will feel betrayed by MPs who will be pres ganged into voting 100% for HS2.

 

“And those MPs will be trying to pass a Bill in defiance of the wishes of the British people as a whole: 52% of voters are against HS2 according to ComRes, and 53% against it according to according to YouGov. Fewer than 30% of those polled in each case were pro-HS2.”

 

Notes: the key buried clauses:

 

Clause 51 of the The High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill establishes a new “right of entry” for anyone nominated by HS2 to enter any property within 500 metres (546 yards) of the line. A refusal to provide entry would be a criminal offence. This new power not only applies to the route of Phase 1 of HS2, but to any property near any other potential future high-speed line, even if no separate Bill for it has been published, let alone passed.

 

Clause 31 and schedule 20, which override key legal safeguards that protect public water supplies. These protections may have been removed because the consultation documents explicitly admit that there is a high risk that the so-called “mid-Chilterns chalk” drinking water table will suffer deterioration in its “chemical status” as a result of “sub-water table activities” — mostly tunnelling and bridge piling — planned during the construction of HS2.

 

Clause 39 scraps the normal legal procedure for closing any existing railway line or station if ministers deem its closure “necessary or expedient” for HS2.  Under the Railways Act 2005, any proposed closure of a passenger line or station must go through a complex process, involving long notice periods, transport assessments and consideration of hardship. The new summary procedure means that lines could be closed at the stroke of a pen.

 

Clause 47 allows minsters to compulsorily purchase any land anywhere if they think it HS2 creates “an opportunity for regeneration or development” on it. This clause states that if the Government “considers that the construction or operation of phase one of High Speed 2 gives rise to the opportunity for regeneration or development of any land” it may acquire the land compulsorily. This clause, which has no spatial or time limits, represents a new general power that is unprecedented in the history of infrastructure projects.

 

Ends

 

Further information:

Iain Macauley

im@pressrelations.co.uk

07788 978800

 

John Read

john.read@readdillon.com

07774 476391

 

http://www.hs2actionalliance.org/