Camden adds concerns about Euston station work in joint challenge to £32bn high-speed line

An alliance of councils opposed to the £32bn high-speed rail line will proceed with a legal challenge to the project, with an application for a judicial review expected to be lodged today.

The legal challenge comes as the government appointed Douglas Oakervee chairman of HS2 Ltd for a minimum three-year term. The former Crossrail executive chairman will take up the post next month.

But the impending legal challenge could delay the £32bn project. The alliance of 18 councils - dubbed 51M in reference to the estimated £51m cost of the line to each UK parliamentary constituency - wrote to transport secretary Justine Greening last month to outline their objections and warned that they would seek a judicial review of the decision to go ahead with the scheme.

This week 51M said the government had dismissed its concerns, leaving it with no option but to pursue legal action.

The 18 councils were this week joined in their campaign by London’s Camden council, which had sent a separate “letter before claim” to the transport secretary, citing concerns about the redevelopment of Euston station and the impact it would have on the local community.

Camden councillor Sarah Hayward said the action was aimed at “either stopping HS2 or getting the government to take our concerns seriously and mitigate the impact of the project”.

Separately, another group, the HS2 Action Alliance, is also preparing a legal challenge, arguing that the government has failed to honour its environmental obligations and to properly consider alternative routes.

A DfT spokesperson said the government had “struck the right balance between the reasonable concerns of people living on or near the line […] the environment and the need to keep Britain moving”.