HS2AA’s Judicial Reviews Against HS2 Start Monday 3rd December

Two judicial reviews against HS2 (the planned high speed link between London and Birmingham) being brought by HS2 Action Alliance (HS2AA) start on Tuesday, 4th December 2012 in the High Court with His Honour Mr Justice Ouseley  presiding.  Rulings are expected in January 2013.

Three other cases are being heard together with HS2AA’s, the proceedings starting on Monday 3rd December and expected to conclude Tuesday 11 December.

HS2AA’s judicial reviews challenge Government over their failings to comply with environmental legislation and to carry out a fair consultation on compensation prior to the go ahead being given for HS2 by the Department for Transport in January this year.  51m, Heathrow Hub and Aylesbury Golf Club are also taking cases to the High Court.

Commenting on the upcoming legal cases, Hilary Wharf , Director, HS2AA, says; “The Government is trying to force through HS2 without following proper process.  We have two strong cases coming to court next week that expose how the Government has been unlawfully taking short cuts in its decision making processes. Our cases concern environmental issues and the consultation on compensation.

“HS2AA has raised the money for the legal actions from many hundreds of individual donations from ordinary people who feel angered and frustrated by the Government’s flawed decision to proceed.  This has enabled HS2AA to employ two top legal teams.  We are confident in our arguments and while Government has consistently ignored the compelling case against HS2, they can’t ignore the courts.” she added.

Environment challenge 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.

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.

The Habitats Regulations protects species and habitats that are considered to be of European significance. The Government failed to conduct an ‘appropriate assessment’ as required by the Regulations.

Compensation challenge 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 the Government’s 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 national 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.

This challenge affects thousands of people who live in communities impacted by HS2 who are badly impacted by property blight.

Ends

Note to Editors:

HS2 Action Alliance is a 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.

On 20 July 2012 HS2AA along with 412 others (including three taking judicial reviews) learnt from HS2 Ltd that their detailed response to the 2011 consultation got lost due to ‘processing errors’.  Despite this HS2 Ltd say none of the omitted responses introduced any new matters hence the consultation summary  and HS2 decision still stand.

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