Gillan: MPs face 'tight timescale' on HS2 consultation

Cheryl Gillan

Cheryl Gillan

First published in News Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

CHERYL Gillan has said MPs will be up against a tight timescale to consider HS2 consultation responses ahead of a key Commons debate.

Prime Minister David Cameron wrote to the Chesham and Amersham MP to say a report summarising the 21,833 responses to the HS2 Environmental Status will be available to MPs next Monday.

The controversial project's Hybrid Bill - effectively the scheme's planning application - will be discussed in Parliament later this month.

But Mrs Gillan said members wouldn't be left with enough time to consider the report properly and said the timescale was "designed to fit in with HS2 Ltd's calendar".

The former Welsh Secretary added the consultation had "fallen short both in terms of providing the public with the necessary information and adequate time in which to formulate their responses".

Mr Cameron's letter to her said: "Under the Hybrid Bill procedure these consultation responses will be summarised in a report by an independent assessor appointed by Parliament.

"Parliament has tasked their assessor to deliver its report by April 7, after which it will be available to MPs to consider ahead of the Second Reading of the Bill.

"I am confident that Parliament’s officials will ensure that all the consultation responses will receive due consideration."

Mrs Gillan said: "This again is an incredibly tight timescale and one which appears designed to fit in with HS2 Ltd’s calendar. I am afraid I do not enjoy the same confidence that the justified and detailed concerns of my constituents and others who responded to the consultation will be given adequate analysis.

"I will be taking the matter up with the House authorities to ensure that MPs get a reasonable period of time to analyse and reflect on the consultation."

The letter added the issue of property compensation for residents affected by building work along the route of the line would be clarified "at the earliest opportunity".

But Mrs Gillan said: " I have been deeply disappointed by the delays over announcing this scheme."

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