Schedule 5

Crossrail Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 9:30 am ar 22 Tachwedd 2007.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Temporary possession and use of land

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport)

I beg to move amendment No. 28, in schedule 5, page 98, line 25, leave out ‘28’ and insert ‘56’.

Photo of Ann Winterton Ann Winterton Ceidwadwyr, Congleton

With this it will be convenient to discuss amendment No. 29, in schedule 5, page 100, line 26, leave out ‘28’ and insert ‘56’.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport)

The amendments are identical. The schedule deals with the temporary possession and use of land. Whether the land is to be used for the construction of works, as with the lead amendment, or for the maintenance of works, as with amendment No. 29, the nominated undertaker is required to give only 28 days’ notice to the owners and occupiers of land of which he intends to take possession. That is not long if one has to make necessary arrangements and move off one’s land.

I seek to be fairer to those who are to be required to move off their land, and I think that 56 days, or two months, is a more suitable period. Given the length of advance planning that has gone into this project and the advance notice that will be given to people, giving 56 days’ notice should not cause the nominated undertaker any problems. I hope that the Committee will look favourably on the amendments.

Photo of Tom Harris Tom Harris Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

It is no surprise that we are having a debate about extending 28 days to 56, but I had expected it to be in a slightly different context.

The schedule allows the nominated undertaker temporarily to take possession and make use of land in connection with Crossrail works. It requires that 28 days’ notice be given by the nominated undertaker to the owners and occupiers of the land before possession is taken for constructing and maintaining the works. The amendments would double that notice period.

The 28-day notice period for the temporary possession of land is sufficient and well precedented in many private railway and hybrid Bills, as well as in the Department’s model clauses, which consider 14 days appropriate. Doubling the notice period would impose additional inflexibility on the nominated undertaker when it came to carrying out Crossrail construction and maintenance works efficiently.

Cross London Rail Links is already in touch with many of the relevant owners and occupiers, and, in many cases, has agreements in place for a longer notice period where the matter is of particular sensitivity and could reasonably be accommodated by the nominated undertaker. Agreeing such arrangements case by case is the appropriate solution when these matters arise. I therefore cannot support the amendment, and I hope that the hon. Gentleman will be satisfied by my assurances and withdraw it.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport)

I thank the Minister for his reply and I am pleased to hear that the Department has doubled the period recommended in its model arrangements. I am also pleased that he thinks 28 days a suitable notice period; I am sure that he will think the same on other matters, otherwise the Government might lose some members, I suspect. Having listened to his assurances and his concern about the restriction on flexibility, and taking on board the fact that the Government have already moved some way on this, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Tom Harris Tom Harris Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

I beg to move amendment No. 1, in schedule 5, page 101, line 27, leave out paragraph 6 and insert—

‘6 Section 13 of the Compulsory Purchase Act 1965 (c. 56) (refusal to give possession to acquiring authority) applies for the purposes of this Schedule as if—

(a) references to the acquiring authority were references to the nominated undertaker,

(b) references to compensation payable to the person refusing to give possession were references to compensation payable under this Schedule, and

(c) in subsection (1) for “this Act” there were substituted “Schedule 5 to the Crossrail Act 2008”.’.

The amendment is purely technical and reflects a recent change to the law on the enforcement of compulsory purchase orders. The change means that High Court enforcement officers and the high sheriff of each county can enforce compulsory purchase orders in England and Wales. The amendment will apply that change to the enforcement of powers in the Bill to take temporary possession of land.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport)

I have listened carefully to the Minister, but I seek some reassurance. Paragraph 6 of the schedule sets out the arrangements for enforcing the provision of any land, be it compulsorily purchased, required or taken temporarily, if the owner fails to give up or hinders the taking of possession. I can see why the Government might want to tighten sub-paragraph (3), and we would welcome that, but the amendment will mean that the paragraph applies only to land that is compulsorily purchased, as it enacts section 13 of the Compulsory Purchase Act 1965. That does not seem to allow the flexibility that the Minister wanted in other clauses or to have the same wider power implied in paragraph 6(1), which states that if the nominated undertaker is authorised, they can

“enter on and take possession of any land”.

Indeed, the explanatory notes reinforce that position. They refer to the arrangements for the

“enforcement of any possession required” of any land. Is the Minister satisfied that there will be no circumstances in which the power to enter and take land might not exist following agreement being given to Government amendment No. 1?

Photo of Tom Harris Tom Harris Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

I can reassure the hon. Gentleman that his concerns are unfounded. The Government do not believe that that will be the effect of the amendment. To clarify, the 1965 Act does not provide for compensation for temporary possession. Schedule 5 will give an entitlement to compensation

“to the owners and occupiers of land...for any loss which they may suffer by reason of the exercise in relation to the land of the power or powers conferred by this paragraph”— that is, paragraph 4. It follows the precedent set by previous railway Bills and the Transport and Works Act 1992 model clauses.

The amendment is about the office holders who will be able to enforce orders, and not the effect of those orders. It simply identifies who is responsible for an order. I hope that that gives the hon. Gentleman enough reassurance.

Amendment agreed to.

Question proposed, That this schedule, as amended, be the Fifth schedule to the Bill.

Photo of Tom Harris Tom Harris Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

I wish to make a few comments and clarifications on the schedule. It allows the nominated undertaker temporarily to take possession of and make  use of land in connection with carrying out Crossrail works. The table in paragraph 1 shows the land in question and the purposes for which it may be used—for example, mitigation works, utility diversions, means of access, provision of working space, highway access or a work site.

The schedule requires 28 days’ notice to be given to the owners and occupiers of the land before possession is taken, and the possession is time-limited to one year after completion of the works, unless the owners agree otherwise. Compensation may be payable for such possession, with any disputes about such compensation to be determined under the Land Compensation Act 1961.

Paragraph 2 requires the nominated undertaker, before giving up possession of any land used under paragraph 1, to put the land in question back into such condition as may be agreed in a scheme between him, the owners of the land and the local planning authority, or as determined by the appropriate Ministers. The paragraph also sets out what such a scheme may and may not require.

Paragraph 3 allows the nominated undertaker to use any road situated on land specified in paragraph 8 of schedule 6 for the passage of persons or vehicles. Compensation may be payable for any loss suffered as a result of such use, with any disputes about such compensation to be determined under the 1961 Act.

Paragraph 4 allows the nominated undertaker, during the maintenance period of any work, which is defined as being up to five years from the date on which the work is brought into general use, to enter upon and take possession of land within the Bill limits and within 20 m of any scheduled work, if such possession is necessary for maintaining the work. The power granted by the paragraph does not apply to any house or garden, or land not subject to compulsory purchase under the Bill, and the nominated undertaker must give at least 28 days’ notice to the owners and occupiers of the land before possession is taken.

The nominated undertaker may remain in possession of such land only as long as is reasonably necessary, and must, before giving up possession, restore the land in question to the reasonable satisfaction of the owners of the land. Compensation may be payable for any loss suffered as a result of such use, with any disputes about such compensation to be determined under the 1961 Act.

Paragraph 5 allows for private rights of way to be temporarily suspended and provides that compensation may be payable to anyone who suffers loss as a result of any such extinguishment, with any disputes about such compensation to be determined under the 1961 Act.

Paragraph 6 sets out the arrangements for the enforcement of any possession required under the paragraph should the owner or occupier of the land in question refuse to give up possession of it or hinder the taking of possession. It makes similar provision to that applying to the taking of possession following notice of entry on a compulsory purchase.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport)

We are grateful for the Minister’s extensive explanation of the schedule. I noted halfway through that explanation the interesting and welcome comment that compensation will be paid, and will be determined by an independent body, not the Secretary  of State. In other cases, the Secretary of State wanted to take those powers upon herself.

Question put and agreed to.

Schedule 5, as amended, agreed to.