Judge backs government over HS2 environment survey

HS2 logo
HS2 logo

Campaigners against HS2 suffered another blow today after a judge dismissed claims the government had acted illegally by not carrying out a full survey of the train line’s environmental impact.

HS2 Action Alliance and the London Borough of Hillingdon Council brought the case to the High Court.

They claimed that the government was required to carry out a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) under the European ‘SEA Directive’, and had failed to do so before making safeguarding directions to protect the route of the planned railway.

But Mr Justice Lindblom said he found it ‘impossible to conclude’ that the safeguarding directions fell within the scope of SEA Directive.

He added: “I therefore conclude that the safeguarding directions are not a plan or programme which sets the framework for future development consent of projects.”

Transport minister Robert Goodwill said: “The High Court has once again dismissed a Judicial Review in respect of HS2.

“I invite interested groups to work with us through the Parliamentary process on making HS2 the very best it can be, and not to waste money on costly and fruitless court cases.

“The project had a huge vote of support in Parliament, recognising the importance of HS2 for the long term economy of the country. It will provide jobs, skills and free up space on our congested network for more trains and more passengers.”

Earlier this year the Supreme Court dismissed other appeals against HS2 which were backed by Bucks County Council.

More to follow.