Latest HS2 Challenge Rejected By Judges
The Court of Appeal has rejected the latest challenge to Government plans to go ahead with the controversial HS2 rail project. Fifteen councils and many other objectors, including residents' associations along the route of HS2, had asked the appeal judges to order further assessment of the scheme as a whole. Anyone concerned that their property might be adversely affected by HS2 are advised to speak to a HS2 compensation solicitor to see if they can claim compensation. All grounds of the challenge to the national high speed rail project were dismissed; however, anti-HS2 campaigners drew comfort from a split in the three-judge court on the key question of whether a full strategic environmental assessment (SEA) should have been carried out to assess the impact of both HS2 and its alternatives. In their ruling, the judges said it was lawful for the Government to rule out upgrading the existing network as an alternative to HS2. They said the approach to consultation on the phase-one route had been carried out fairly and lawfully. Transport Minister Simon Burns said the latest ruling marks the second time in four months a court has rejected attempts to derail HS2. He said the Government will now be able to press ahead with getting the scheme ready for construction in 2017. Mr Burns added: "Parliament is the right place to debate the merits of HS2, not the law courts, and we will introduce the hybrid bill for phase one before the year is out. I urge opponents not to waste any more taxpayers' money on expensive litigation and instead work with us on making HS2 the very best it can be." But Buckinghamshire County Council leader Martin Tett, chairman of HS2 opponent the 51m Alliance, said: "This is another example of the Department for Transport and HS2 Ltd riding roughshod over public opinion, ploughing ahead regardless of what local communities want and ignoring the environmental merits of the alternatives."
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