As previously reported the High Speed Two (London-West Midlands) Bill received its first reading in the House of Commons late last year.
The Bill will permit the construction and operation of the first phase of the new national high speed rail network which will connect London Euston to Birmingham Curzon Street.
It is due to have its second reading on Monday, 28 April 2014. At this second reading, MPs will debate the principles of the new rail network, which will in part be informed by the summary report prepared by the independent assessor on representations made on the environmental statement.
Once the bill passes second reading, the principle of the first phase of HS2 will have been established and can no longer be opposed. However, this triggers the formal petitioning process, where individuals, companies and organisations who are directly and specially affected by the bill can oppose particular provisions of the bill.
Petitions are presented in a particular format and once submitted to Parliament allow the petitioner to be heard by the select committee on the points raised in the petition. The select committee will be able to recommend changes to specific provisions of the bill where it agrees with objections raised in petitions. Petitions will vary depending on how the petitioner's property is impacted, but will commonly focus on reducing specific locational impacts, for example, by seeking commitments that temporary possession periods, construction impacts or permanent land-take are reduced.
Landowners and occupiers of residential or commercial property, local authorities and statutory undertakers should take immediate action if they think they may be affected. Local authorities and businesses must submit petitions before 5pm on 16 May 2014; while individuals and parish councils have until 2pm on 23 May 2014.