What is a Hybrid Bill?
A Hybrid Bill is legislation issued by Parliament to secure powers to construct and operate major infrastructure projects which are promoted by Government. The Bill will introduce new laws or change existing ones to enable the delivery of the scheme.
Recent Hybrid Bills include the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Act (HS1) and Crossrail Act 2008.
In order to secure the required powers, HS2 Limited will work with the Government to develop a Bill for each stage which will be subject to debate within both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. A Select Committee will hear evidence from both promoters and petitioners to then be able to recommend changes.
Why is the Government using Hybrid Bills for HS2?
A Hybrid Bill will grant the deemed planning consent to build the HS2 network. In addition, it will also give powers to:
• Build, operate and maintain HS2 and its associated works.
• Compulsorily acquire all necessary interests in land to deliver the route.
• Change rights of way including stopping up orders for highway or waterway diversions (permanent or temporary).
• Modify infrastructure belonging to statutory undertakers.
• Carry out work on listed buildings and demolish buildings in conservation areas.
• Carry out protective works to buildings and third-party infrastructure.
What is the Hybrid Bill Process?
Following the first reading of the Bills for Phase 2a and Phase 2b, supporting documents which will include an Environmental Impact Assessment will be deposited. The public will have the opportunity to comment on the evidence, in particular the Environmental Impact Assessment. Following the second reading, the principles of the Hybrid Bill will be established before going to the Select Committee.
The Select Committee in each House will consider evidence put forward by petitioners and the promoter to determine whether recommendations and changes should be made to the Bill. A Public Bill Committee will then review the Bill which may result in further amendments, after which it will go to a third hearing within the House of Commons.
A similar process will then be followed by the House of Lords. The Bill will then return to the House of Commons where amendments by the Lords will be considered and acted upon if deemed appropriate. Only then will Royal Assent be granted and the Bill will become an Act of Parliament.
Read our full breakdown of the Hybrid Bill Process.
What is Safeguarding?
Safeguarding is an established part of the planning process. It is designed to ensure that land which has been identified for the delivery of major infrastructure projects is protected from conflicting development. As a result, HS2 Limited will become a statutory consultee in respect to future planning applications in and around the area of the route.
Safeguarding directions were issued in respect to Phase 2a in January 2016 and for Phase 2b in November 2016. However, in respect to Phase 2b, further consultation has been held on a number of proposed changes to the route. The final announcement on the route is due later this year.
When Will My Property Be Acquired?
Until Royal Assent is granted in respect to Phases 2a and 2b, HS2 Limited will not have compulsory purchase powers. However, as a result of safeguarding directions having been issued, a number of discretionary compensation packages have been introduced to avoid delay in assisting those with a statutory entitlement to compensation or a need to sell their property.
For more details about compensation click here.
With regard to Phase 1, we are advised that HS2 Limited has started to draft the appropriate acquisition notices to take possession of the land and property required. The first tranche of notices are due to be served in the Fourth Quarter of 2017 with the remainder being served on a phased basis in 2018. However, if you are located within the Safeguarded Zone (or Extended Home Owners Zone), there is still the opportunity to serve a Blight Notice under the Express Purchase Scheme.
What is a Blight Notice?
Where a property is impacted by HS2, a qualifying owner can serve a Statutory Blight Notice on HS2 Limited. A Blight Notice compels the acquiring authority (HS2 Limited) to purchase properties on compulsory purchase terms.
In order to qualify for a Blight Notice certain qualifications must be met.