Appeal Court rejects fresh HS2 challenge

The Court of Appeal has rejected a fresh attempt to block the proposed High Speed Two (HS2) rail link between London and Birmingham.

Three Court of Appeal judges upheld the ruling of Mr Justice Lindblom, sitting at London's High Court in August, which dismissed all grounds of the legal challenge launched by campaign group HS2 Action Alliance (HS2AA) and the London Borough of Hillingdon who challenged the legality of safeguarding directions introduced by the transport secretary for the London-Birmingham section of the scheme.

The aim of the directions was to monitor local planning applications and stop any construction work that could interfere with the project.

Lawyers for HS2AA and the council had argued that there had been an unlawful failure to undertake a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and ''land extending beyond the route of the proposed line'' had been included in the scope of the directions without any assessment of alternative options.

But the Court of Appeal judges yesterday backed the decision of the High Court and ruled that no SEA was required before making the safeguarding directions. 

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "The courts have once again rejected a legal challenge against HS2 as they have done on repeated occasions.

"The government has now won 20 out of 21 challenges to the project. The House of Commons has approved the hybrid Bill (paving the way for HS2) in a vote of 452 to 41.

"I invite interested groups to work with us to make HS2 the very best it can be, and not waste more public money on costly and fruitless court cases."

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