HS2 Judicial Review starts

The bitter battle regarding the London to Birmingham high-speed rail link opened in the High Court on Monday.

The court will conduct a judicial review over the controversial scheme based on five legal challenges from its opponents and critics.

The challengers are: The 51M Group, an alliance of 18 local authorities, Heathrow Hub, a pressure group campaigning for better links to the airport, HS2 Action Alliance, representing more than 70 action groups (bringing two separate challenges) and Aylesbury Golf Club.

The court cannot order the scrapping of HS2 but it can force others actions. For instance the scheme’s lengthy public consultation to be repeated if it believes the original process was flawed.

If this were to happen, the delays it would bring about would be likely to prevent the necessary legislation being passed this parliament.

Campaigners are hoping this would represent a fatal blow and the project would be shelved by the next administration.

However, James Del Mar, Head of Knight Frank’s HS2 team, says those whose properties will be affected should continue to plan for the worst. He said: “Although there is very vocal opposition to HS2 in parliament from a number of MPs with constituencies along the route, it should be remembered that the scheme still has broad cross-bench support.

“David Cameron has already been forced to make a number of U-turns since taking charge of the coalition and so far has shown no willingness to add HS2 to this list.”

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