Local authorities launch further appeal against HS2

Warwickshire County Council, in partnership with local authorities along the proposed high speed rail (HS2) line who form the 51M group, has lodged an appeal against the ruling of the Judicial Review announced earlier this year.

The group had issued a legal challenge to the Government on the HS2 plans based on an ‘unfair consultation and inadequate environmental assessment. The decision toproceed with the Y route – north of Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds – without properly consulting those who will be affected, was also considered unfair.

Having been unsuccessful with the Judicial Review outcome, Warwickshire County Council, along with another 15 authorities are now taking the next step, to the Court of Appeal, in a bid to get a full and fair assessment of the scheme.

Cllr Bob Stevens, Warwickshire County Council’s Cabinet member for HS2, said: “We are now going to the Appeal Court in a bid to get the Government to think again. We maintain that the business case is flawed, the environmental impact is damaging and has not been thoroughly considered, and there has been inadequate public consultation.

“It is clear that the case for HS2 does not stack up. We have seen in recent weeks a report by the National Audit Office questioning the business case and the predicted regeneration benefits, while the Major Projects Authority flagged the scheme as ‘amber’, saying it is unlikely to be delivered on time and on budget.

“Three more local authorities along the route of the line north of Birmingham have also added their voices to the opposition. They recognise that rather than helping their areas, the scheme is more likely to draw investment and jobs into London.”

The draft Environmental Statement has been issued for public consultation by HS2 Limited along with the Code of Construction Practice. Many concerns have been expressed about these documents and the county council is examining them in detail and will respond to the consultation ahead of the closing date on 11 July.

Cllr Stevens added: “This public consultation is just eight weeks in duration, which gives us very limited time to consider the content of many thousands of pages of information.”

Warwickshire County Council remains opposed to the HS2 project and agreed to work with other local authorities as part of the 51M Group – a consortium opposed to the HS2 proposals – which is providing a co-ordinated opposition to the scheme.

Schedule for the Court appearances starting 10 June 10.30am in the Master of the Rolls Court 71 before the Master of the Rolls Lord Justice Sullivan and Lord Justice Richards

The applications will be heard in the following order:

· HS2 Action Alliance Limited -v- The Secretary of State for Transport

· Buckinghamshire County Council & Others -v- The Secretary of State for Transport

· Heathrow Hub Limited and Another -v- The Secretary of State for Transport

Stafford Borough Council, Wakefield Council and Bradford Council are authorities on the route north of Birmingham who have recently declared opposition to HS2.