On 17 July 2017, the government introduced the High Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) Bill into Parliament. This hybrid Bill is to authorise the next part of the HS2 railway network, known as Phase 2a. This will run between Fradley in the West Midlands and Crewe in Cheshire. A hybrid Bill mixes the characteristics of public and private Bills.
In January 2018 we published an update on the Bill in advance of its Second Reading in the House of Commons. For more information read our Phase 2a Bill update. The Bill secured its Second Reading on 30 January, by 295 votes to 12.
Second Reading triggered a petitioning period during which those whose property or interests are specially and directly affected by the Bill could submit a petition, or objection, against it, and a Select Committee was appointed to hear those petitions. A total of 187 petitions against the Bill were deposited, and the Select Committee began its hearings on 19 March.
On 23 March 2018 the government deposited an Additional Provision and Supplementary Environmental Statement to the High Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) Bill in Parliament. These provide additional environmental information and propose further amendments to the Bill. A total of 33 petitions against the Additional Provision were deposited.
On 24 May 2018 the Select Committee published a report announcing their first major decisions. Read our Bill update to find out more. On 25 June 2018, the government published its response to the Select Committee’s report.
On 23 July 2018 the Select Committee published their second report, covering the petitions heard following the main in principle cases at the start of their hearings. On 13 November 2018, the government published its response to the Select Committee’s report.
On 8 February 2019 the government deposited a second Additional Provision (AP2) and Supplementary Environmental Statement (SES2) to the High Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) Bill in Parliament. The changes are a result of the Select Committee process, ongoing discussions with petitioners and stakeholders and as a result of design refinements. New environmental baseline information has also become available. A total of 82 petitions against the Additional Provision were deposited. The Select Committee resumed its hearings on 25 March 2019.
The Select Committee concluded its hearings on 15 May 2019 and on 7 June 2019 the Select Committee published their third report. On 24 June 2019 the government published its response to the Select Committee’s report. The government also published a Command Paper setting out the government overview of the case for HS2 Phase 2a and its environmental impacts, in advance of the Bill receiving its Third Reading in the House of Commons.
On 15 July 2019 the Bill received its Third Reading in the House of Commons, with 263 votes for and 17 votes against. The Bill received its First Reading in the House of Lords on 16 July. The House of Lords petitioning period ran from 17 July to 16 August, and a total of 35 petitions against the Bill were deposited. Further information and guidance about the petitioning process can be found on Parliament’s website. The Promoter has refreshed its guidance relating to right to be heard challenges now that the Bill has been introduced in the House of Lords.
The Bill received its Second Reading in the House of Lords on 9 September but progress on the Bill, and the Select Committee’s hearing of petitions, was paused due to the dissolution of Parliament. Following the General Election in December and publication of the Oakervee review of HS2 and the government’s decision to proceed with Phase 2a in February 2020, the Bill was revived in the new Parliament. The Bill has been committed to a Select Committee who will consider the petitions deposited against it. The Select Committee began its hearings in March but hearings have been paused in light of the current Coronavirus restrictions. The Select Committee resumed its hearings virtually, by means of videoconferencing, on 20 July.
The Bill will grant powers to:
- build and maintain HS2 and its associated works
- compulsorily acquire interests in the land required
- affect or change rights of way, including the stopping-up or diversion of highways and waterways (permanently or temporarily)
- modify infrastructure belonging to statutory undertakers (e.g. utility companies)
- carry out work on listed buildings and demolish buildings in conservation areas
- carry out protective works to buildings and third-party infrastructure
- make necessary changes to existing legislation to facilitate construction and operation of HS2
This is a large piece of legislation and is accompanied by around 140 documents totalling 12,000 pages. We recommend reading the guidance documents in each section first. For the Environmental Statement these include the guide and non-technical summary. For the Equality Impact Assessment these include the report summary and the easy read summary.