High Court split decision on HS2 case

Wednesday 24 July 2013

Today the Court of Appeal handed down its decision on the case brought by the HS2 Action Alliance against the Government, in which the Alliance argues that a Strategic Environmental Assessment should have been carried out on the proposed HS2 line, and that by not doing so the Government is in breach of EU legislation.

The three Court of Appeal judges considering HS2 Action Alliance’s case were divided on whether a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) should have been undertaken for the proposed high speed line.  Two judges (the Master of the Rolls and Lord Justice Richards) found against HS2AA and one judge (Lord Justice Sullivan) found for HS2AA.

In light of this split decision HS2AA asked that the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, now hear the matter and the Court of Appeal granted this request.

The SEA case rested on four key issues. Whilst, on three of these, all three judges agreed HS2AA was right, on the fourth, only one judge agreed with our position.  

Commenting on the decision, Hilary Wharf, director, HS2AA, said;

“We will continue our fight to make sure that the Government does not duck its environmental responsibilities over HS2. We can see from the Phase 1 Draft Environmental Statement that cost savings are the top priority rather than protecting irreplaceable landscapes for future generations.  The Government must properly take the environment into account.

“There is little case law on the specific point of law on which we lost. We are confident that our position is a strong one and we are pleased that the Court has allowed our appeal to the Supreme Court.

“It’s concerning however that we have to go to the highest court in the land to make the Government give the environment the respect it deserves”.

Read the full press release from the HS2 Action Alliance.


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