HS2AA announce decision to take Government to court over HS2

HS2AA Ltd announce decision to take Government to court over High Speed 2 (HS2)

3 April 2012:  We have had a brilliant response to our appeals for funds for taking legal action over the January 2012 decision on HS2.  In a matter of a few weeks thousands of ordinary people in communities from London to Staffordshire and beyond have responded to the appeals, giving most generously, and raising the six figure sum that was needed.

HS2AA are now able to announce that we can proceed with two judicial reviews.  One deals with environmental issues, and the other is about fighting for a fair deal for compensation. In both cases the Government failed to follow the proper processes required – if they had they would have reached a different conclusion.

We have two strong legal teams who are specialists in their fields and believe we have two powerful cases that Government must now answer.  SJ Berwins with David Elvin, QC, of Landmark Chambers are handling our environmental case, and Leigh Day & Co with David Wolfe, QC, of Matrix Chambers our compensation case.

HS2AA Ltd are the claimant and working with a wide range of resident groups, societies, parish councils, action groups, and environmental groups.

What this has shown is that the opposition movement has got even stronger as a result of the 10 January decision to proceed with HS2.  Ordinary people are frustrated that the Government are not listening and are joining together to fight this unacceptable waste of taxpayer’s money.

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Notes to Editors:

1. HS2 Action Alliance is the national organisation making the powerful case against HS2. It is a not for profit organisation working with over 70 local groups, who all believe HS2 does not represent an effective answer to the UK’s transport, economic or environmental needs, and support this action. HS2AA have also from the outset fought for fair and just compensation for those affected

2. The Government’s consultation on HS2 in 2011 included consideration of three options for compensation arrangements for those property owners suffering from ‘generalised blight.’ Justine Greening’s announcement on January 10th offered a further hardship based scheme for those subjected to property blight. Many thousands of people through no fault of their own now find themselves trapped in their properties.

3. The basis of the compensation Judicial Review centres on the fact that inadequate information was provided in the consultation, preventing the public from being able to give a meaningful response.  The decision was without proper justification, ignored their own criteria and relied on new undisclosed material.  Further, the decision did not meet the expectations that had been created by Government, who had promised a fair deal for those suffering losses due to a project alleged to be in the public interest.  If all the information had been provided, then the public could have responded to the questions and a different decision should have been reached.

4. The grounds for the environmental legal challenge are the failure of the Department for Transport to comply with the requirements of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Regulations 2004 and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010.

5. The SEA Regulations require a full strategic environmental assessment of any important infrastructure project and an assessment of all alternatives to be completed before any proposals are presented for public consultation. The Government failed to do this with HS2.

6. A separate letter of complaint regarding the UK Government’s non-compliance with the SEA Directive has also been sent by BBOWT (Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust) to the European Commission, inviting the Commission to investigate the actions of the UK Government on this matter.

For more information please contact: Richard Houghton Aspect Consulting Tel: 07803 178 037 Email:
richardwhoughton@gmail.com