Latest Rail News

24.07.13

Court rejects HS2 challenges

All legal challenges to HS2 have been rejected, the Appeal Court has ruled.

Progress on the project will now go ahead, with the Government introducing legislation later this year and preparing for construction to begin in 2017.

The court agreed it was lawful for the Government to choose to rule out upgrading the existing network as a credible alternative, and ruled that the consultations and environmental and equalities assessments were all carried out lawfully.

Rail minister Simon Burns said: “By dismissing all seven grounds of appeal and declining to refer the case to Europe, this is the second time in four months a court has rejected attempts to derail HS2.

“Parliament is the right place to debate the merits of HS2, not the law courts and we will introduce the hybrid bill for Phase One before the year is out. I urge opponents not to waste any more taxpayers' money on expensive litigation and instead work with us on making HS2 the very best it can be.

“We continue to move forward with the crucial business of getting the scheme ready for construction in 2017 and delivering enormous benefits for the country.”

HS2 Action Alliance is appealing the decision.

Hilary Wharf, HS2AA director, said: “We will continue our fight to make sure that the Government does not duck its environmental responsibilities over HS2. We can see from the Phase 1 Draft Environmental Statement that cost savings are the top priority rather than protecting irreplaceable landscapes for future generations. The Government must properly take the environment into account.

“There is little case law on the specific point of law on which we lost. We are confident that our position is a strong one and we are pleased that the Court has allowed our appeal to the Supreme Court.

“It’s concerning however that we have to go to the highest court in the land to make the Government give the environment the respect it deserves”.

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Image c. HS2 Ltd

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