Michael Fabricant is delighted that the House of Commons Transport Select Committee will conduct a full inquiry into the economic arguments for and against HS2. Michael says: "Some weeks ago I asked a number of MPs to join me in writing to the Chairman of the Transport Select Committee asking that the Committee conduct a full inquiry into HS2. I was disappointed and surprised to learn that it wasn’t already on the schedule of work that they had planned to undertake. I also discussed this with Louise Ellman MP, the Committee Chairman.
"I am now delighted to hear from the Committee Clerk, Mark Egan, that such an inquiry will now be undertaken. This will provide an opportunity for Philip Hammond (Transport Secretary) to set out the economic and transportation arguments for HS2 while, I am sure, the Anti HS2 Alliance and others organisations and individuals will be presenting alternative solutions for our rail system.
"While the findings of a Select Committee are not binding on Government, they do receive considerable publicity and the Secretary of State is obliged to comment in writing on each of the findings of the Committee following publication of their report. The hearings of the Committee, including all the evidence sessions, will be public and will be broadcast. Transcripts will be available on the Parliamentary website. I hope that this inquiry will shine a clear light onto the arguments for and against the construction of a new high speed line.
"This public inquiry will happen in parallel with the Public Consultation organised by the Department of Transport into the route to be taken by HS2 if it goes ahead. The consultation will last 5 months and the Secretary of State will announce his findings at the end of 2011 or the beginning of 2012. He will also take the findings of the Select Committee into account. If it is decided that HS2 should proceed, it will then go to a further Committee of inquiry – a ‘Hybrid Bill Committee’, which is also public, and will sit for 2-3 years. This is a long process, but I am keen that there should be transparency and the opportunity for all sides to present their arguments."
In his email to Michael Fabricant, Mark Egan – Clerk to the Transport Select Committee said:- "I thought you would be interested to know that the Transport Committee has decided to conduct an inquiry into the project. Terms of reference are currently being drawn up but the inquiry is likely to focus on the economic case for the project rather than the specification of the route. We will publish the terms of reference on our website next month."
The Committee website is: