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HS2 appeals dismissed by the Supreme Court

The DfT is celebrating after the Supreme Court threw out the appeals against HS2, effectively bringing the outstanding legal actions to an end.

The HS2 Action Alliance, supported by local authorities and the Heathrow Hub Ltd, led an appeal claiming that the government was required to comply with the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and failed to do so.

Local authorities also led a claim that the hybrid bill would breach the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive.

Despite the Court of Appeal ruling in the government’s failure on all seven challenges, appellants were granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court on two grounds.But today the Supreme Court ruled against the appeals.

Transport minister Baroness Kramer said: “We welcome that the Supreme Court has unanimously rejected the appeal, which addressed technical issues that had no bearing on the need for a new north-south railway. The government’s handling of the project has been fully vindicated by the highest court in the land.

“We will now continue to press ahead with the delivery of HS2. The new north-south line will provide extra space for more trains and more passengers to travel on the network, delivering additional capacity where it is most needed. HS2 will also generate thousands of jobs across the UK and provide opportunities to boost skills.

“It is part of the government’s long-term economic plan to build a stronger, more competitive economy and secure a better future for Britain. HS2 is also essential in helping rebalance UK growth – bringing greater prosperity to the Midlands and the north – and we are continuing with the crucial business of getting the scheme ready for construction in 2017.”

Centro chief executive, Geoff Inskip, said: “The Supreme Court ruling is great news because it is essential we press on and build HS2 without delay to deliver jobs and economic growth to the regions.

“At Centro we are working hard with partners to ensure we have the right infrastructure in place to maximise the economic benefits and bring much-needed capacity on our increasingly crowded railways.

“Our research concludes that high speed rail will deliver 51,000 jobs and £4.1bn per year benefitting people right across the West Midlands.

“HS2 will bring fast, direct services but it will also release capacity on our busy and congested existing network for more local, regional and freight services.”

But Hilary Wharf, director of the HS2 Action Alliance, said: “We always knew this would be a long fight. A number of the judges, led by Lady Hale, thought long and hard about whether the issues HS2AA raised should be referred to the European Court of Justice. This and the fact that we were given right to appeal to the highest court in the land shows how seriously the need for an SEA should be taken.

“We will continue to press the Government to meet its environmental obligations. The Government should be safeguarding our environment for future generations and the simple fact is HS2 is an unnecessary and hugely damaging project environmentally.”

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


Jb   24/01/2014 at 18:49

The need for HS2 might be more credible if the former MR and GCR routes to the NW were re-opened first and then any case for overcrowding considered. It is astonishing that the Government and the Chancellor in particular seem to be prepared to spend such a huge sum of money to increase capacity when such capacity was made redundant in the late 1960s. If these lines were re-instated (at a fraction of the cost of HS2), any surplus cash could be used to replace the gaps in our system which were created in the Beeching era. This would seem to be a much more prudent use of resources.

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