Local councils launch court battle against high speed rail link
Wednesday 4th April 2012
A group of local authorities has launched its fight against the high-speed rail project.
The 18-strong consortium, called 51m because they claim that the scheme would cost each parliamentary constituency £51m, has lodged a judicial review of the £33bn HS2.
If the High Court decides that the councils have a case, their claim could be heard later this year.
The scheme, which would involve the demolition and blight of thousands of properties, is being opposed by councils outside London, and by two London authorities – Labour-controlled Camden and Tory-run Hillingdon.
The rail line would begin in Camden – demolishing more than 200 homes and putting a further 200-plus at risk of demolition – and finish in Birmingham.
The councils argue that there has been inadequate consultation and that the impact on Euston Station has not been properly considered. The group also argue that the environmental impact of the route has not been taken into account.
Martin Tett, chairman of 51m and leader of Buckinghamshire Council, said the group considered it had ‘no alternative’ to legal action after being ‘excluded’ from consultation on the plans.
He said: “We have clear legal advice that there is a substantial case to be made against the Government for the cavalier way they took this decision.”
He added that analysis has shown the business case for HS2 is ‘fundamentally flawed’.
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