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HS2 compensation process judged unlawful

The high court has ruled that the Government’s consultation process for compensating those affected by HS2 was “unlawful” – but in nine other areas the judge ruled against anti-HS2 campaigners, meaning there should be no delay in the project’s timeline.

Five judicial reviews were combined into one, brought against the Government by councils, environmental campaigners and residents who will be affected by the route.

Mr Justice Ouseley decided in the Government’s favour on nine out of ten broad areas of challenge. Instead of appealing the successful case, the consultation will be re-run, giving further consideration to other potential compensation methods. A re-run property compensation consultation will not affect the HS2 construction timetable in any way, the DfT stated. Government sources said it would seek to recover costs. 

High speed rail minister Simon Burns said: “This is a major, landmark victory for HS2 and the future of Britain. The judge has categorically given the green light for the government to press ahead without delay in building a high speed railway from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.

“HS2 is the most significant infrastructure investment the UK has seen in modern times and a project the country cannot afford to do without. The judgement ensures that nothing now stands in the way of taking our plans to Parliament.

“We will now move forward as planned with the crucial business of getting the scheme ready for construction in 2017 and delivering enormous benefits for the country.

“We have listened to the judge’s comments about the property compensation consultation and to save time and public money we will reconsult on this aspect – but this will not delay HS2. We remain fully committed to fairly compensating the public who are impacted by the scheme.”

There is a useful guide to the legal decision here

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at

Image c. HS2 Ltd


Jak Jaye   17/03/2013 at 13:31

Just another railway going from somewhere to nowhere,i mean what is there in Birmingham that youd want to get there in 45 minutes? its a tory vanity project as is the Crossrail,i thought we were supposed to be up top our eyes in debt.

Peter   18/03/2013 at 12:53

So deciding that most of something wasn't illegal is a 'great victory' and 'the green light to press ahead'. All the people with dodgy investment schemes will be delighted that this is the governments attitude. This was merely reviewing the legality of proceedings, and the judge made that point very clearly, and in fact found the government broke the law. Just because it's mostly legal doesn't make it sensible.

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