HS2 campaigners in new court bid

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Published: Tuesday 25th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Campaigners waging a legal battle against the Government’s high-speed rail project HS2 are back in court today.

In August they suffered a blow at the High Court, but are continuing their fight before judges at the Court of Appeal.

Their latest challenge centres on the legality of directions introduced by the Transport Secretary for the London-Birmingham section of the scheme.

The HS2 Action Alliance (HS2AA) and Hillingdon Council in west London argued during the proceedings at the High Court that the directions were fatally flawed and should be quashed.

But Mr Justice Lindblom, sitting in London, dismissed all grounds of the claim.

Today, Lord Justice Longmore, Lord Justice Sullivan and Lord Justice Lewison will be urged by the campaigners to overturn his decision.

During the High Court hearing, David Elvin QC, appearing for HS2AA and Hillingdon, said the Transport Secretary had issued ”safeguarding directions” to protect land wanted for the project until development consent was obtained from Parliament.

The aim of the directions was to keep a close watch on local planning applications and stop any construction work that could interfere with the project, but the consequences were a ”blight” for local people and businesses.

Mr Elvin argued there had been an unlawful failure to undertake strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and ”land extending beyond the route of the proposed line” had been included in the scope of the directions without any assessment of alternative options.

The campaigners argued that the directions fell within the scope of the European Directive on SEAs because they constituted a plan or programme setting the framework for future development consent of the HS2 project, and thus an assessment was required.

But Mr Justice Lindblom ruled the challenge must fail because it could not be said that the directions ”constitute or function as a framework”.

Published: Tuesday 25th November 2014 by The News Editor

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