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20 June 2014

Petitioning: The Next Steps

With the deadline for the submission of Petitions relating to the High Speed Rail Bill having passed, what’s next for the 1,925 Petitioners?

The timetable for the next stage has now been finalised, and those who have petitioned should be receiving correspondence from HS2’s Parliamentary Agents (Winkworth Sherwood), including a copy of the Committee’s Schedule for the July hearings.

The programme will open with a general briefing as to the nature of the Bill and the route, an explanation of the Promoter’s approach to noise mitigation and a visit to a sound laboratory.

The first hearings will take place on 9 July 2014, and will deal with those Petitioners whose locus standi (i.e. a Petitioner’s right to be heard by the Select Committee) is being challenged by the promoter. This is due to last until 17 July 2014, and will be interjected by a Committee site visit to Birmingham/Lichfield.

HS2’s Parliamentary Agents will be writing to all Petitioners whose locus standi they intend to challenge, and any such letter should be received by 20 June 2014.

The Petition hearings themselves will then begin. The hearing of the Petitions of Birmingham City Council and CENTRO (West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority & West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive) will begin on 21 and 22 July 2014, and will be concluded in September 2014 after the Summer Recess.

So far as it is possible, the Committee intends to list the hearing of Petitions on a geographical basis, beginning with Birmingham Petitioners and moving in the general direction of the route from north to south.

When the hearings move to a new area, the Committee intends to first hear from any Local Authority Petitioners followed by Community Groups, other public bodies, businesses and finally individual Petitioners.
The Committee has stated the intention to provide Petitioners with at least four weeks’ notice of the hearing of their Petition, and has indicated that it will attempt to accommodate those Petitioners with particular difficulties in attending Select Committee on the proposed dates. Exceptional circumstances will also be taken into account (such as the needs of the disabled or disadvantaged Petitioners).

Future blogs will explain in more detail the process and outline the steps Petitioners would be well advised to consider.

Petitioners are reminded that they can still appoint a Parliamentary Agent to act and speak on their behalf at the hearings of their Petition; they can also change their appointed Parliamentary Agent. Charles Russell’s HS2 team include appointed Parliamentary Roll “B” Agents, and would be happy to assist. If you are interested in the services the team at Charles Russell are able to provide, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Contact can be made either through this blog, to the lead members direct or via the dedicated email, HS2Team@charlesrussell.co.uk

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