March 15, 2013

High Court rejects legal challenge to Britain's HS2

Written by 
  • Print
  • Email

FOLLOWING an extensive judicial review, the High Court in London today rejected nine of the 10 legal challenges brought against the first phase of High Speed 2 from London to Birmingham and Lichfield.

The court dismissed challenges to the fairness and lawfulness of the 2011 consultation on phase 1 strategy and the phase 1 route, as well as claims that the project failed to comply fully with relevant environmental and equality legislation. Challenges to the secretary of state's decisions on the central London terminus at Euston, the link to High Speed 1 and the branch to Heathrow Airport were also rejected by the judge.

The judge also agreed that it was lawful for the government to rule out upgrading the existing network as a credible alternative to HS2 on the grounds that such incremental improvements would fail to meet the government's objectives of boosting long-term capacity and economic growth.

The 15 local authorities which brought challenges against the government lost on all seven grounds of challenge they pursued. The government will now seek to recoup legal costs from the claimants.

The only complaint upheld by the court concerned the way in which the property compensation consultation had been conducted. In a statement, the Department for Transport (DfT) says the government has decided not to appeal against the court's decision, but will instead repeat the consultation in line with the judge's ruling that alternative compensation models should be considered in the process. The DfT says this will not delay the schedule, and work will continue as planned with the aim of starting construction on the 190km first phase in 2017.

Get the latest rail news

IRJ Rail Brief newsletter covers global railway news