THE fight to derail HS2 was back in court last week as the Court of Appeal heard arguments on why a judicial review decision should be overturned.
In March this year, the High Court dismissed nine grounds for judicial review challenges against then transport secretary Justine Greening’s decision to proceed with the scheme to connect London to the north of England via Birmingham.
But the court upheld a challenge to the consultation process for the government’s compensation scheme for property owners along the route.
Mr Justice Ouseley ruled it had been ‘so unfair as to be unlawful’.
At the Court of Appeal last week, the HS2 Action Alliance (HS2AA), the 51m Group – 15 local authorities including Hillingdon Council and Bucks County Council – and Heathrow Hub Ltd all had their cases heard by the Master of the Rolls, Lord Dyson, siting with Lord Justice Richards and Lord Justice Sullivan.
The main point of objection by HS2AA and 51M was whether the government had ignored European Union directives over the environmental impacts of the line when the original decision document was published.
David Elvin QC, presenting the case on behalf of HS2AA, said the government had not carried out a strategic environmental assessment, as required under European law for plans which would affect the environment, as the line and its construction certainly would.
Councillor Martin Tett, the leader of Bucks County Council and chairman of 51m, said: “The government has failed to carry out a thorough assessment of HS2 and in particular has failed to assess and consult on the better and cheaper alternatives.
“They should have carried out a full and open consultation.”
Heathrow Hub Ltd mounted its appeal on the grounds its consultation response was not considered by the government.
A decision is due to be handed down in the next month.
n Lots and lots of HS2 lorries – letters on pages 14-15.