Review of Hybrid Bills process launched to boost infrastructure

 

Senior MPs and Lords have launched a review of how parliamentary procedures on Hybrid Bills, such as the HS2 Phase One Bill, could be modernised.

It follows comments by the Commons Select Committee on the HS2 Bill and could change the way large infrastructure projects are signed off by Parliament.

”Local
Hybrid Bills are used for major infrastructure projects such as HS2

The review has been commissioned by the chairman of committees in the Lords and the chairman of ways and means in the Commons.

In a statement, they said: ‘The review will look at ways to simplify and modernise procedure to help all those involved in future hybrid Bills and make processes more user-friendly for everyone concerned.'

The Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) welcomed the move. Marie-Claude Hemming, its head of external affairs, said: ‘Hybrid Bills are necessary for major infrastructure projects, which often address both public and private matters.

‘Yet often the Hybrid Bill process acts as a constraint on the delivery of large projects. This is because Parliament is limited in the time and resources that it has available to it, meaning that the process can be lengthy and expensive to complete.

‘CECA welcomes this review as an ideal opportunity to look at streamlining this procedure, while ensuring that the democratic process is not undermined by any proposed changes.’

Hybrid Bills are often used to enable the development of major infrastructure projects such as the Channel Tunnel, HS2 and Crossrail.

They are presented by the Government and involve special procedures, including petitioning.

Overall, 2,586 petitions were deposited against the HS2 Phase One Bill and its additional provisions, causing the committee considering it to sit for 160 days over nearly two years.

In its report, that committee suggested a number of procedural changes and said: ‘We urge the House, and ministers, to consider such changes in good time before the next hybrid bill is introduced.’

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