HS2: Council to make qualifying authority decision

Update: The Council approved the recommendations to become a qualifying authority on 18 October 2016 and will sign the Planning Memorandum to enable this to happen.

The Council will make a decision next week (17 October) on whether or not to become a qualifying authority for the High Speed 2 (HS2) railway scheme, which would give the Council some powers when considering various applications relating to the HS2 scheme.

The Council remains opposed to HS2 because it will bring nearly two decades of disruption to Camden. If HS2 goes ahead, the Council is committed to securing the best deal for Camden by pushing HS2 Ltd to reduce the impact of the scheme on residents and businesses. One way we can reduce the impact on Camden is by agreeing to become a qualifying authority by signing HS2 Ltd’s planning memorandum, which sets out rules of conduct and administrative arrangements for local authorities and HS2 Ltd.

The HS2 Bill grants outline permission for the building of the railway and changes the Council’s normal planning powers by limiting the controls available to it. The Bill requires councils to become qualifying authorities in order to be able to consider a greater range of matters, including the detailed design of Euston Station and vent shafts and various other matters such as approving lorry routes. We are only able to become a qualifying authority if we have confirmed our intention to become one before the House of Lords reports to the House of Commons at the end of the Select Committee process.

Even after becoming a qualifying authority, the Council would have limited control in considering requests for approvals of details received in relation to the HS2 scheme. However, if the Council decided against becoming a qualifying authority, it would not be able to decide on some matters at all, and would have even less control available to it in determining detailed requests for approval on design and other matters.

A report is currently being considered by Councillor Phil Jones, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Transport and Planning with a recommendation that the Council becomes a qualifying authority and signs the planning memorandum in order to ensure that the Council maximises its control to enable us to secure the best outcomes for Camden.

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