UK government attempts to accelerate approval for HS2
In the newly-published Integrated Rail Plan, ministers said they would seek parliamentary approval for the HS2 Phase 2B Western and Eastern Legs, as well as the Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) programme, using a series of hybrid bills. The UK parliament has previously only considered hybrid bills, which are typically used to secure backing for major government-sponsored transport infrastructure projects, one at a time. But the government now hopes to challenge that precedent and introduce three potentially “overlapping” hybrid bills into parliament to “expedite the process.”
“Hybrid bills generally take around three years from Bill deposit to Royal Assent,” the plan said, “although timescales can vary and running bills concurrently is likely to realise consents more quickly.”
Infrastructure planning expert and ‘Roll A’ Parliamentary Agent Robbie Owen, head of infrastructure planning and government affairs at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said the planned ‘rule’ change was “particularly significant.”
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