HS2AA announces it has raised funds to appeal HS2 Environmental Judicial Review Decision

The Government will be in the Court of Appeal on 10th June 2013 defending its decision not to comply with the Strategic Environmental Assessment Regulations while planning HS2. HS2 Action Alliance today announced that it has raised the necessary £100,000 to appeal the March 2013 Judicial Review decision.

Commenting on the successful fund raising, Hilary Wharf, Director, said;

“The British public have joined the National Audit Office (NAO) and Major Projects Authority and are putting their hard earned cash up to hold the Government to account for their incompetent handling of this white elephant.”

“The fact that HS2 Ltd chose the same day as the publication of the NAO report to slip out the wholly inadequate HS2 Environmental Statement, and is giving just eight weeks for a highly complicated consultation, shows that they simply don’t care what irreparable damage HS2 would do to our environment.

The environmental impact of HS2 would felt up and down the line, including bringing devastation to the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, destroying 33 irreplaceable ancient woodlands; threatening 350 unique wildlife habitats, 30 river corridors and 24 sites of Special Scientific Interest.

Ends

Notes to editors:

  1. HS2AA’s appeal concerns the Government’s non-compliance with the “Strategic Environmental Assessment Regulations”.  HS2AA argues that the SEA Regulations apply to HS2 because (1) the January 2012 decision contained a ‘plan or programme’ to develop HS2 and (2) it was ‘required’ as a result of the Secretary of State committing to the 2010 White Paper. Government should therefore have done a Strategic Environmental EA before embarking on a specific solution in HS2, as they instead did. An SEA requires alternatives to be examined and their environmental implications reviewed and consulted on.  These steps did not happen.  HS2AA believe a different solution would have emerged if the SEA Regulations and requirements had been followed.
  2. Judge Ouseley ruled in March 2013 that the SEA Regulations did not apply to HS2 (as Parliament will make the decision in a Hybrid Bill, while the Jan 2012 decision was only made by Government, not Parliament). However the Judge rejected Government’s claims that in any event they had done enough to comply with the requirements of the SEA Regulations, by conducting an Assessment of Sustainability.  This latter point meant the way was open to appeal, which was then granted at the time on the day of the judgement in March 2013.
  3.  The Court of Appeal case will take place before three judges (Master of the Rolls and two others) on 10 June 2013. The appeal is expected to last under a week.
  4. HS2AA are represented by SJ Berwin (solicitors) and David Elvin, QC, and Charlie Banner, junior counsel, both from Landmark Chambers

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