‘This decision defies common sense’: County council leader vows to fight HS2 High Court ruling

Bucks County Council leader and chairman of 51m Martin Tett
Bucks County Council leader and chairman of 51m Martin Tett

The leader of Bucks County Council and an anti-HS2 group has vowed to appeal the High Court ruling that local authorities were properly consulted on the rail link.

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.

But nine of the other 10 objections were thrown out by the court as the Government claimed it was ‘full speed ahead’ for the £33 billion rail link.

Councillor Martin Tett, chairman of the 51m alliance and leader of Bucks County Council said: “Firstly we are delighted that the judge agrees with the HS2 Action Alliance’s challenge that the compensation consultation was fundamentally flawed.

“This decision will have a real impact on the lives of so many people whose homes and lives are currently blighted by this scheme.

“Secondly, we find the court’s reasoning for not supporting our case against the failure to properly consult on the principle of the scheme totally bizarre.

“The government has argued, and the judge accepted, that the government hasn’t made any decision yet on HS2 – not only on the northern ‘Y’ route but that it hasn’t even taken a decision to proceed with the London to Birmingham section.

“For all who watched the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and other members of the cabinet announcing the routes to Manchester and Leeds only a few weeks ago this must feel like some kind of ‘parallel universe’.

“We will obviously appeal this decision as it defies common sense. We are also particularly concerned at the DfT’s view, which the judge accepted, that the business case and environmental impacts of HS2 don’t need to be considered yet.

“His view is that Parliament may be able to fully consider the principle of HS2 and its environmental implications and if it doesn’t then we can challenge this later.

“This defies reality and risks a very bad scheme being ‘nodded through’ the political process and then facing further legal challenge in several years time. By then vast amounts of taxpayers money will have been spent on a scheme which could be scrapped. It would be better to face up to the deficiencies in the decision making and the HS2 scheme, now.”