Opponents of the £32bn high speed rail line to Birmingham and the north of England will put their case against the project to a judge this week
The judicial review process, which brings together five separate legal challenges against HS2, starts in the High Court today and is expected to last all week.
The requests for judicial review have been lodged by organisations challenging the government’s decision to press ahead with HS2.
Legal experts say that should the High Court give the green light to the judicial reviews, the process could last six months or even longer, raising the prospect that an outcome will not be reached by May, when the HS2 hybrid bill is scheduled to be included in the Queen’s Speech for the 2013 parliamentary session.
One of the judicial review requests has come from 51M, a group of 15 largely rural councils, which oppose the project on five grounds which, they claim, meant the decision to approve the project was flawed, leading to “major and serious errors of law”.
The 51M group also includes the London Borough of Camden, which has cross-party support for an action that is largely focused on the impact the project will have on residents around Euston station and the wider borough.
Destination High Court: see here for a full analysis of the legal challenges to HS2
Two separate challenges have also be launched by a campaign group called HS2 Alliance, which comprises over 70 local interest groups, with one application arguing that the government failed to honour its environmental obligations, under European law, and the other focusing on the lack of proper consultation and the failure to properly consider alternative routes.
A further legal challenge has been lodged by Heathrow Hub Ltd, a company established to develop proposals for a transport interchange connecting HS2 with Heathrow, Crossrail, the M25 and Eurostar. The company is challenging the decision on the proposed route and is seeking support for an alternative route, which includes diverting the line via Heathrow.
A further legal challenge has been launched by Aylesbury Park Golf Club, part of which will be lost to the proposed line.