Monday 17 December 2012
A 9-day hearing in the High Court from 3rd-13th December had five cases presented to challenge the Government's proposals and procedures over the development of the High Speed 2 rail line. Strong arguments against HS2 were made by a number of groups including the 51M group of local authorities opposed to HS2, the HS2 Action Alliance and Heathrow Hub.
Evidence of flaws in the public consultation process, the compensation scheme and the environmental assessment of the line were presented to the court. A number of revelations emerged during the hearing. These included the fact that the capacity on trains on the West Coast Mainline at peak times is only 52%. These data, which undermine the case for building the HS2 line, were only released by the Government because of the pressure of the High Court challenges.
It was also revealed that the proposed link from HS2 to Heathrow would have a benefit cost ratio of only 0.3:1, meaning that for every £1 spent on the link the country will only get 30p back. This was contained in a memo from HS2 Ltd CEO Alison Munro, released under disclosure.
The judge who presided over the hearing, Lord Justice Ousely, is likely to give his decision regarding all five legal challenges early in 2013.