Tuesday 14 February 2012
The Chilterns Conservation Board fully supports the letter sent to the Secretary of State for Transport yesterday by the HS2 Action Alliance. The letter warns Justine Greening MP that the HS2 Action Alliance may legally challenge the decision to proceed with High Speed 2.
The grounds for the legal challenge are that the Department for Transport has not carried out a full strategic environmental assessment of the plans for HS2, and has not considered all possible alternatives to building the new line, yet despite this it has already presented the HS2 proposals for public consultation. The DfT has therefore failed to comply with legally-binding EU environmental regulations.
Steve Rodrick, Chief Officer at the Chilterns Conservation Board, said:
"The Conservation Board supports this action by the HS2 Action Alliance because it does not believe that the Government gave enough consideration to alternatives which would have avoided the massive impact of HS2 on the environment, not just in the nationally protected Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but all along the line.
"The reason why the EU introduced this legislation was precisely to make sure that the impact on the environment of major projects is given full weight, and that the public is consulted on a full range of options. Instead the Government presented us with just one route option for HS2 last year."
The formal letter from the HS2 Action Alliance is the first step in seeking a judicial review of the decision to proceed with HS2. Four Wildlife Trusts and more than 70 action groups and residents’ associations along the route support the letter in addition to the Chilterns Conservation Board.