HS2 on trial: ‘Consultation flawed because northerners have no idea where it’s going to go’

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Lawyers arguing the case against HS2 have told the High Court that a consultation on the plans was unfair.

Lawyers arguing the case against HS2 have told the High Court that a consultation on the plans was unfair.

Natalhie Lieven, representing the 51m group of councils along the the route, said the consulation was flawed as people were asked if they supported the line without a plan of how it would look in the north.

She said the vast majority of responses came from those on the London to Birmingham section but those in the north, where the line will eventually be built, had no idea where the route would go.

“There will be a large number of people directly and seriously affected by HS2 that had no idea about it when the consultation into whether the plans should go ahead took place.

“If you’re a local authority, you can know that a part goes through your area but you cannot know the impact as you don’t know if it’s going to go through a tunnel for example.

“Because of the scale of the project people might have a good idea of where the route will be in smaller projects but that’s not the case with HS2.”

The HS2 plans for the London to Birmingham section are set to go before parliament next year. The plans to Leeds and Manchester will be heard in 2014.

Ms Lieven said the Labour government, which launched the plans, would not have approved HS2 until after communities in both phases of the line had been asked.

The hearing continues.