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East Midlands Chamber News

HS2 challenge in Court of Appeal gets underway

A high speed trainAn appeal against the High Speed rail link to Birmingham, HS2 Phase One, began in the High Court today.

Four organisations brought five judicial reviews, covering ten specific areas of challenge, to overturn the decision.

A coalition of groups, including the HS2 Action Alliance (HS2AA), a group representing 15 local authorities and Heathrow Hub, unsuccessfully argued in March that the Government was required to provide a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) as part of plans for the line.

Mr Justice Ouseley, at London’s High Court, dismissed nine challenges to the £33bn project. Only one challenge succeeded, that being the way in which the property compensation consultation for HS2 had been carried out. The consultation is now being re-run.

But HS2AA has raised the £100,000 it needed to challenge the decision over the SEA.

An SEA would involve the Government in examining the environmental impact of the rail line, consulting on the findings and considering alternative routes, says HS2AA.

A spokesman for the Department of Transport said: “The High Court was firm in dismissing these challenges and the Government will continue to defend any challenge in the Court of Appeal.

“It is unfortunate but inevitable that opponents of HS2 will do whatever they can to delay the Government’s plans, but the Government remains committed to delivering HS2 as quickly as possible.”

According to HS2AA, the appeal hearing is expected to last less than a week with a decision in about a month.

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