A date for the court case against the Government’s decision to press ahead with the £33 billion High Speed 2 project has been announced.
All five cases against HS2, including the one launched by fifteen councils - members of 51m - will be heard together over a seven-day period in the High Court of Justice starting on 3rd December 2012.
At a meeting in London on 27th July 2012, the Government’s solicitors and the five parties challenging the lawfulness of the Secretary of State’s decision met with the Judge Mr Justice Ouseley to set the timetable for the challenges to be heard in the courts and agreed that the cases will be heard together but organised separately. There will be an agreed running order and the Court will give its decision on each case after all five have been heard.
Councillor Michael Doody, Leader of Warwick District Council said, "We are delighted that the judge has decided to review this case which has no credible business plan and is a waste of taxpayer’s money. In a time of national austerity we must continue to protect our local businesses and residents whom will not benefit from HS2.
The reduction of the railways would drastically affect businesses within Coventry and Warwick district. What has failed to be communicated is that the HS2 line does not run into Birmingham New Street station, but instead into and from Curzon Street.
The £32 billion would be better spent on enhancing the current railway networks as a whole instead of just the two cities, therefore boosting local business and encouraging future entrepreneurs into the area."
John Hammon, Development Portfolio Holder for Warwick District Council added: "It is with reluctance that that we have had to take this case to the law to remove once and for all the blight which is affecting so many people’s lives."
The costs to the 15 councils will be reserved. No decision has been made on costs as yet and this will be dealt with at a later date.
The Government has decided to proceed with the development of a high speed rail network. Visit the Department for Transport website for details of the decision and next steps.
The 51m alliance of councils opposing HS2 say that although they have no objections to the principle of high speed rail, they will continue to fight the current flawed proposals, following news that the Government plans to press ahead with the £32 billion project. 51m Leaders will now be examining the decision and considering whether there are grounds for a legal challenge.
"This is an immensely bad decision for Warwick district and Britain as a whole," said Councillor Michael Doody, Leader of Warwick District Council. "At a time of national austerity with rising unemployment and a massive deficit how can spending more than £32 billion on a rail line be justified? The impact on our local area for both businesses and residents is a huge concern. Our stance remains the same - we will continue to work with the 51m group and remain united in our opposition."
The Council’s Executive considered a report on HS2 at its meeting on January 6th 2011 (PDF). The Council agreed to support Warwickshire County Council in opposing the HS2 proposal.
Both councils are members of 51m, a group of 13 local authorities actively challenging the HS2 scheme through a national campaign. £51 million is the cost of HS2 to each and every parliamentary constituency in the country.
The Government ran a consultation on High Speed Two until July 2011. Information including the consultation document and route maps can be found on the consultation website. Further information on HS2 can also be found on the HS2 website and the Warwickshire County Council website.
Public interest debate
Members of the group were invited to speak at a debate on 9th March. Papers for the meeting.
Compensation measures and Exceptional Hardship Scheme
The Secretary of State’s announcement on HS2 detailed a new package of compensation measures to help those affected by the scheme.
You can find more information and download the guidance and an application form on the HS2 Ltd website.
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