A lot of constituents who are directly and specially affected by the HS2 project are now waiting for the petitioning process to begin.

The HS2 Hybrid Bill is going to be heard in the Commons on 28 April and once this takes place then the petitioning process starts. This will allow my constituents to object to the Bill’s provisions and seek its amendment through petitioning.

If you are affected, then keep checking my website – www.cherylgillan.co.uk – where I will give the precise details as soon as these are announced. However the draft motions laid in the House of Commons by the Government today state that the petitioning period will be from 29 April to 16 May for Councils and businesses (except Parish Councils) and to 23rd May for everyone else. If these motions are passed unamended on 29th April in the House of Commons these will become the official dates for lodging your petitions.

It is really important that, if you are affected, you should take part in the process. It will only last for this period of 3 weeks and it is essential to respond during that time because this will be the only chance.

Individuals, groups or organisations whose property or interests are affected can submit a petition. I urge everyone to do so. There is a useful ‘petitioning pack’ available, on www.parliament.uk/business/bills-and-legislation/current-bills/hybrid-bills.

Petitions will need to be presented in person, at Portcullis House, Westminster, London SW1. As your constituency MP, I can present the petition if you are unable to do so. In these circumstances, please bring the petition to my constituency office, which is at 7A Hill Avenue, Amersham, HP6 5BD, or post it to that address if you cannot deliver it in person.

Once the petitioning process is over, a select committee of MPs will be specially appointed to judge whether people are directly and specially affected. If they decide that you are, then you will be asked to give evidence to a meeting of the select committee. You may choose to appoint an agent to act for you, but I want to reassure people that the select committee will be sympathetic to members of the public who are not used to taking part in meetings like this.

It is crucial that everyone affected makes use of the opportunity to petition, because the MPs on the select committee will examine the evidence and the HS2 Hybrid Bill can be amended as a result.