Aarhus Committee finds for HS2AA and Hillingdon in HS2 Environmental complaint

HS2AA and Hillingdon Council are delighted that their complaints, concerning a failure to conduct a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for HS2, which were made against the UK Government and European Commission, have both been found admissible by the Aarhus Compliance Committee.

The next step is hearing how the UK Government justifies its position to the Compliance Committee given its duties under the international treaty known as the Aarhus Convention. The European Commission is involved in these proceedings because the UK’s Supreme Court contend that they are complying with the relevant European Union Directive.

Cllr Ray Puddifoot, Leader of Hillingdon Council, said:

I believe that the UK’s Supreme Court’s decision that a Strategic Environmental Assessment was not required in the HS2 consultation process is inconsistent with laws to protect the environment, leaving the UK in breach of the UN Treaty obligations under the Aarhus Convention.  I am therefore delighted that the Aarhus Compliance Committee will be investigating this matter”.

Hilary Wharf, Director, HS2AA commented

This decision is a crucial step in getting the Government to face up to their environmental responsibilities that they have tried to evade by adopting the Hybrid Bill method of getting planning consent for HS2. We have always said that the UK Government was wrong but the UK courts have favoured the Government.  The Aarhus Compliance Committee, part of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, has now recognised that our case against the Government needs to be heard”.

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