The Government has claimed a ‘landmark victory’ after only one HS2 judicial review was successful at the High Court today (Friday).
Justice Ouseley ruled that the property compensation consultation was ‘all in all so unfair as to be unlawful’ and said that it would need to be rerun. The Department for Transport has said it will not appeal this decision but that it will seek to recoup legal costs from the 15 local authorities who brought the case to court.
The compensation challenge argued the Government provided inadequate information during consultation preventing people from forming an opinion.
HS2 Action Alliance group said the compensation review was a ‘massive win for everyone opposed to HS2. The judge was scathing about the Department for Transport’s decision making on compensation, describing their actions as odd, muddled and bizarre’.
The Government claims the ruling will not cause a significant delay to the HS2 line from London to Birmingham being built by 2025.
However, campaigners failed to convince the judge on nine other objections, including that there was poor assessment of HS2’s environmental impact which was brought by the action alliance group.
It has said it will seek to appeal against the environmental decision and will release further details on fundraising and the next steps soon.
The Department for Transport tweeted: “Full speed ahead after landmark high court victory for HS2”
High speed rail minister Simon Burns said: “This is a major, landmark victory for HS2 and the future of Britain. The judge has categorically given the green light for the government to press ahead without delay in building a high speed railway from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.”
“HS2 is the most significant infrastructure investment the UK has seen in modern times and a project the country cannot afford to do without. The judgement ensures that nothing now stands in the way of taking our plans to Parliament.”
“We will now move forward as planned with the crucial business of getting the scheme ready for construction in 2017 and delivering enormous benefits for the country.”
“We have listened to the judge’s comments about the property compensation consultation and to save time and public money we will reconsult on this aspect - but this will not delay HS2. We remain fully committed to fairly compensating the public who are impacted by the scheme.”