HS2 Action Alliance reaches funding target to progress with appeal on enviromental grounds

High speed Javelin train at Ashford station, HS2

Source: TheJRB

The high-speed rail line to Birmingham is to face further legal wrangling after protesters against the scheme raised enough funding to appeal an earlier High Court ruling against their objections to the project.

The HS2 Action Alliance has now raised the £100,000 it needed to lodge an appeal to the High Court’s ruling which said the scheme had met the necessary environmental assessment requirements.

In March, a High Court judge rejected nine out of ten objections to the way the scheme had been prepared by the government in a judicial review.

Among the objections rejected was HS2 Action Alliance’s claim that the scheme had not met the Strategic Environmental Assessment Regulations

However, Justice Ouseley gave the campaign group leave to appeal at the same time as handing down his judgement.

HS2 Action Alliance had been uncertain as to whether it would progress the appeal until last weekend when it raised enough money to bring the case.

Hilary Wharf, director of HS2 Action Alliance, 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 its incompetent handling of this white elephant.”

The hearing is set to take place on 10 June along with a raft of other appeals on five of the other eight grounds rejected at the initial high court hearing.

Justice Ouseley has already granted permission to appeal his decision to reject the claim that the government’s decision not to consult on the proposed ‘optimised alternative’ route, put forward by the 51m group of local authorities, was not legal.

But campaigners will seek permission to appeal on a further four grounds on 10 June.

Campaigners are seeking leave to appeal on the following four grounds:

  • The decision to promote HS2 by way of a hybrid Bill breaches the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive.
  • The consultation carried out in 2011 was unlawful because it failed to provide sufficient information on the routes north of the West Midlands.
  • The Department for Transport made a mistake of law by not producing an equalities impact assessment.
  • The decision to locate the London terminus at Euston was irrational because the government did not set out how it would address the lack of capacity on the underground there.

Getting permission to appeal is important for those appealing because it means the case can be taken to the Supreme Court if the claim itself is then defeated in the Court of Appeal.

If a case is denied permission to appeal by the Court of Appeal it cannot be taken any further.