UK: The Information Papers Deposited With The HS2 Bill

Last Updated: 20 December 2013
Article by Nicola Jordan

Our fourth and final blog (for now!) on documents deposited with the HS2 hybrid Bill takes a look at the Information Papers. These are a series of non-technical 'user friendly' papers designed to provide information to those outside the project.

The intention is that these will be updated and refined during the hybrid Bill process to address commonly asked questions by the public and by petitioners.

Those affected by the Bill should keep a close eye on this part of the HS2 website; if the experience of Crossrail is anything to go by, Government is likely to use the Information Papers as a way of giving various commitments and assurances about how they will carry out the project. So we can expect these papers to be updated and supplemented quite regularly during the Bill's passage, often without any publicity. The current Information Papers are as follows:

  • B1: The Main Provisions of the Planning Regime – this explains the main provision of the planning regime within the Bill. It sets out the two tier system described in previous blogs in relation to local planning authorities and explains the difference between qualifying and non qualifying authorities.
  • B2: Limits on Parliamentary Plans – this explains what the "limits of deviation" in the plans and sections are, and explains the need for flexibility for adjustments once detailed design has been carried out.
  • C1: Information for Property Owners – this paper sets out the arrangements proposed for the provision of information and assistance to owners and occupiers of property subject to compulsory purchase under the Bill. According to this paper, as a minimum, the communications exercise will include a letter sent to property owner and occupiers giving them an indication of whether the property they own or occupy is likely to be required and the best estimate available of the date on which such property is likely to be required. It also introduces the topics of exceptional hardship, blight and the Compensation Code (a series of principles for assessing entitlement to and amount of compensation derived from legislation and case law over the years).
  • C2: Rural Land Owners and Occupiers Guide – this paper outlines the agricultural and rural land property matters which will be adopted, and again introduces the Compensation Code, the draft Code of Construction Practise and Environmental Minimum Requirements. It also covers accommodation works.
  • C3: Ground Settlement – this paper sets out HS2's approach to assess and reduce as far as reasonably practicable any ground settlement resulting from underground works. It includes at Annex A the "Qualifying Criteria for Deed Concerning Settlement" and at Annex B, the Settlement Deed itself.
  • C4: Land Acquisition and Disposal – this paper outlines the policy on land action and disposal, explaining that although the Bill includes full land acquisition powers, the exercise of the powers will operate on the basis that no greater amount of land will be acquires that reasonably required following detailed design of the scheme.
  • C5: Safeguarding – this paper explains the safeguarding process which protects the land required for HS2 Phase One from conflicting development. It also links to HS2's Online Guide to Statutory Blight.
  • D1: Design Policy – this paper outlines the design policy and includes aesthetics and quality.
  • E1: Control of Environmental Impacts – this paper explains the controls contained in the Bill and in general legislation which, along with undertakings given by the Secretary of State, HS2 feels will ensure that environmental impacts will not be exceeded.
  • E2: Ecological Impact – this paper outlines how ecological impacts have been assessed and how these will be mitigated or compensated for during the construction period.
  • E3: Excavated Material and Waste Management – this paper outlines the approach for managing excavated material and waste arising from construction.
  • E4: Water Resources and Flood Risk – this paper outlines the approach taken to assess and mitigate the impact on water resources and flood risk of the scheme.
  • E5: Roads and Public Rights of Way – this paper outlines how the effect of HS2 Phase One on roads and public rights of way along the line of route will be managed.
  • E6: Mitigation of Significant Community Effect on Public Open Space and Community Facilities – this paper sets out the approach to the mitigation of the loss of public open space and community facilities and the circumstances in which the Secretary of State might acquire additional land for the purpose of mitigation.
  • G1: Consultation and Engagement – this paper sets out all the consultation and engagement that has taken place so far and that is ongoing in relation to HS2 Phase One.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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