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1996-04-03 DoT-001
Department of Transport

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Central Railway must provide more information on plans John Watts


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Department of Transport

Central Railway must provide more information on plans John Watts
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date
3 April 1996
source Department of Transport
type Press release

note 105


Central Railway plc - the company planning to build a new freight
railway from the Midlands to the Channel Tunnel - have had
applications for waivers under the Transport and Works Act
refused, John Watts, Minister for Railways and Roads, announced
today.

The announcement was made in answer to a Parliamentary Question
from James Pawsey MP (Rugby & Kenilworth), the full text of which
is attached.

Commenting on the refusal to grant the waivers, John Watts said:

"As this project would clearly be of national significance,
it would need to be presented to Parliament for approval in
principle. But, before agreeing to any waivers under the
Transport and Works Act, Parliament must have adequate
information about the project for an informed debate.

"Having taken into account the views of MPs, local planning
authorities and other interested parities, the Secretary of
State is not convinced that the information Central
Railways is offering about the project, in place of the
prescribed plans and sections, provides an adequate
substitute. On that basis, we have refused Central
Railways applications for waiver directions under rule 12
of the Transport and Works (Applications and Objections
Procedure) Rules."

Central Railway's proposal would effectively result in a two-
stage application. A number of proposed scaled drawings would not
be provided until after Parliament approved the principle of the
project and before the public inquiry. The Secretary of State is
not satisfied that it would be possible for MPs and Peers to
reach an informed view on the merits of the project, even in
principle, without plans and sections drawn to the required
scale.

However, subject to further consideration, the Secretary of
State is prepared to agree to partial waivers for the serving of
application documents on certain local planning authorities and
other statutory bodies. He may also be prepared to waive full
compliance with the rules relating to the placing of site
notices, subject to being satisfied that persons affected would
not be materially prejudiced by such a decision.

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1. Central Railway plc are intending to make an application
under the Transport and Works Act 1992 (TWA) seeking powers to
build a new freight railway from near Lutterworth in
Leicestershire to the Channel Tunnel. The proposed route would
include reinstating part of the old Great Central railway line,
from Lutterworth to Rugby and south to link into the Chiltern
Line, and acquiring part of the Chiltern Line. A 6-mile tunnel
would be required from Olympia to Streatham from where the
railway would run adjacent to the existing Brighton line through
East Croydon to south of Coulsdon. A new tunnel through the North
Downs would take the railway to Tonbridge and then to Ashford and
Folkestone, mainly adjoining existing railway lines.

2. The company first applied for waivers from compliance with
certain of the requirements in the Transport and Works
(Applications and Objections Procedure) Rules late last year.
That application was subsequently withdrawn but a modified
application was made on 4 March. Central Railway based the
application on the fact that the Secretary of State would almost
certainly refer the project to Parliament under section 9 of the
TWA for votes in each House on the principle of the proposals.
They argued that it was unnecessary to produced some of the
detailed plans, sections and cross-sections of the works for the
purpose of the Parliamentary stage. Such documents would, if
necessary, be provided if Parliament approved the scheme in
principle.

3. The Secretary of State decided to place a copy of the waiver
applications and supporting material, in the Library of the House
of Commons and to consult the local planning authorities along
the proposed route. Views were also invited from a
representative sample of statutory undertakers and from certain
other interested bodies including the Country Landowners
Association, the Ramblers Association and the National Trust.
A large number of representations were received, with a majority
expressing opposition to the granting of waivers on the grounds
that this was contrary to the spirit, if not the letter, of the
TWA, and that the consequence would be an application for powers
which was inadequately specified to enable Parliament to properly
assess the scheme in planning, environmental or commercial terms.
The National Trust in particular were concerned that its power
to invoke Special Parliamentary Procedure in respect of
inalienable Trust land is severely curtailed if Parliament passes
resolutions approving the project. The Trust, which has a
statutory duty to protect its inalienable property, expects the
TWA rules relating to plans and sections of works affecting its
land to be fully complied with at the outset.



HOUSE OF COMMONS
Mr James Pawsey (Con - Rugby and Kenilworth):

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he has reached
a decision on the application by Central Railway plc for
directions under rule 12 of the Transport and Works (Applications
and Objections Procedure) Rules granting waivers from
compliance".with certain application requirements in respect of
the Central Railway project.

MR JOHN WATTS
Yes. Having taken into account the views we have received from
MPs, local planning authorities and others, my rt hon Friend the
Secretary of State has decided to refuse Central Railway's
applications for waiver directions under rule 12 of the Transport
and Works (Applications and Objections Procedure) Rules, in so
far as they relate to the provision of plans, sections and
cross-sections of the works. Subject to further consideration of
the scope of non compliance, he is prepared to agree to partial
waivers in respect of the serving of application documents on
certain local planning authorities and other statutory bodies.
He may also be prepared to waive full compliance with the rules
relating to the placing of site notices, subject to being
satisfied that persons affected would not be materially
prejudiced by such a decision. My rt hon Friend's reasons for
refusing waivers are set out in a letter sent today to Central
Railway plc. Copies of the letter have been placed in the House
of Commons Library and will be sent to all MPs with a
constituency interest.

Wednesday 3 April 1996
1761/95/96
Department of Transport


Railhub Archive ::: 1996-04-03 DoT-001





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