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Court of Appeal rejects HS2 legal challenge

Fri 26 Jul 2013

A legal challenge against the HS2 network has been rejected by the Court of Appeal.

The project involves the creation of a high-speed rail line between London and Birmingham, which is scheduled to open in 2026.

This will then extend to Leeds and Manchester, with these connections set to be up and running by 2033.

However, HS2 has proved controversial, with some people living along the proposed route objecting to the plans.

Seven broad areas of challenge were made against the project by objectors, but the Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of the government on each one.

Among the areas of contention were whether or not the government's ruling out of upgrading existing railway lines instead of developing the HS2 network was lawful, as well as the legality of its approach to consultation on the project itself and the proposed route.

With the Court of Appeal concluding the government has acted within the law, policymakers are now free to press on with their efforts to get HS2 up and running.

Simon Burns, the high speed rail minister, noted that this is the second time in four months that "attempts to derail HS2" have been rejected in court.

He insisted that the merits of the project should be debated in parliament rather than the law courts, as expensive litigation is a waste of taxpayers' money.

Opponents of HS2 were instead urged to work with the government on making the network "the very best it can be".

Mr Burns said the government is now planning to introduce the hybrid bill for phase one before the end of the year.

He added that it is continuing to "move forward with the crucial business of getting the scheme ready for construction in 2017 and delivering benefits for the country".

The government will also attempt to reclaim the costs it has racked up in these recent legal cases.

For further information on any of the points raised in this article please contact our Transport and Infrastructure Team

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