High Speed 2 hearing reaches Court of Appeal

A four day hearing is underway at the Court of Appeal to hear appeals seeking to quash the Government’s strategy for a new high speed railway line from London to Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.

Objectors estimate that it will cost far too much to get HS2 up and running, predicting costs of £58 billion and rising. Official assessments have previously put the cost at £33 billion.

Fifteen councils and a number of other objectors, including residents’ associations along the route, are challenging a High Court refusal to order further assessment of the scheme.

Landmark Chambers reports that David Elvin QC and Charles Banner are acting for HS2 Action Alliance Ltd (instructed by SJ Berwin LLP), who contend that the Command Paper was a “plan or programme” engaging the SEA Directive and that the Appraisal of Sustainability undertaken by the Government fell short of the requirements for SEA.

Nathalie Lieven QC and Kassie Smith QC (of Monckton Chambers) act for a consortium of local authorities led by Buckinghamshire County Council (instructed by Harrison Grant Solicitors), who contend the proposed Hybrid Bill process by which the Government proposes to obtain development consent for HS2 is contrary to the requirements of the EIA Directive and also that the consultation process leading to the Command Paper was flawed and in breach of the Equalities Act 2010.

Charles Banner acts for Heathrow Hub Ltd (instructed by Nabarro LLP), who support HS2AA’s case on SEA and also contend that the Government’s admitted failure to take into account its consultation response due to an administrative error rendered the decision unlawful.

Tim Mould QC, Jacqueline Lean and Richard Turney (instructed by the Treasury Solicitor) act for the Secretary of State for Transport.

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