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04 April 2014

The Higgins Report – What Next for HS2?

In previous posts we have addressed some of the key considerations for landowners affected by the HS2 proposals, as well as the extensions of time given by HS2 Ltd (which were admittedly enforced by the Standing Orders Committees in the Houses of Commons and Lords) for making submissions in respect of the Environmental Statement.

Behind all of this however, the Transport Secretary (the Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP) asked the new chairman of HS2 Limited, Sir David Higgins, to prepare a report on the future of HS2, the best way of maximising the benefits of HS2 and managing costs.

The Higgins Report was released on Monday in Manchester, and this edition of CR:HS2 provides our comment on the Report’s conclusions as well as identifying some of the fundamental issues that remain to be resolved and highlighting some of the consequences of “HS2 Plus”.

There remain significant challenges ahead and, against a backdrop of a lack of clarity on property compensation for Phase One and no news as yet as to the results of the Environmental Statement Consultation, it remains the position that any affected or potentially affected land owners should be seriously considering:

  1. Making representations to HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport in advance of the Second Reading of the Hybrid HS2 Bill;
  2. Submitting a Petition against the HS2 Bill – following the Second Reading of the Hybrid HS2 Bill the opportunity will arise to Petition the Select Committee against HS2 (based on the Crossrail timetable, the deadline for doing so is unlikely to be more than two months from the date of the Second Reading); and
  3. Lobbying local Members of Parliament during the passage of the Hybrid HS2 Bill through Parliament.

The Charles Russell HS2 team (being experts on compulsory purchase, transport infrastructure cases and having been appointed as Parliamentary Agents for the Crossrail petitioning process) can offer experienced legal and commercial advice to help at each stage of the process. We would be delighted to discuss with you your options for holding the project to account, altering HS2 policy and protecting your interests, and we have already been instructed to submit Petitions on behalf of a number of our clients as soon as the Second Reading of the Hybrid Bill has taken place.

Click here to read more.