Monday 30 July 2012
Groups opposing the construction of the HS2 high speed railway will get their moment in court this December to question the processes followed by the Government. In an eight day hearing beginning on December 3rd, Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for Transport, will have to explain amongst other things why responses from the HS2 Action Alliance, 51M Group and Heathrow Hub were omitted from the summary of the public consultation.
The Court will hear the Alliance's claims that the Government has not followed European legislation on environment and habitats in devising the HS2 scheme. The 51M Group of local authorities will be raising serious doubts about the validity of the public consultation on HS2 carried out last year.
If the Court decides that a judicial review of HS2 should take place the entire consultation could have to be re-run, taking into account all possible alternatives to the Government's preferred scheme.
Hilary Wharf of the HS2 Action Alliance welcomed the High Court's decision:
"Not only does the Judge agree our cases should be, and will be heard, but the Secretary of State has been forced to account for her actions in seemingly ignoring many consultation responses.
"The fact that three of the four claimants in this case have had their consultation responses mishandled is unbelievable."