Attempts to block construction of the £42.6bn High Speed 2 (HS2) railway line have been thrown out by the Court of Appeal.
The court ruled in the government’s favour on all seven issues raised brought by three sets of claimants.
The Court of Appeal was reviewing the decision of Judge Justice Ouseley, who in March threw out all but one of the claims against the route of HS2 following a judicial review. Campaigners then took several of their objections to the Court of Appeal.
The court’s decision to reject their claims late last month leaves the government free to work towards a construction start date of 2017.
High speed rail minister Simon Burns welcomed the ruling. “By dismissing all seven grounds of appeal and declining to refer the case to Europe, this is the second time in four months a court has rejected attempts to derail HS2,” he said. “Parliament is the right place to debate the merits of HS2, not the law courts, and we will introduce the hybrid bill for phase one before the year is out.”
He added: “I urge opponents not to waste any more taxpayers’ money on expensive litigation and instead work with us on making HS2 the very best it can be.”
High Speed 2 Taskforce revealed
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has announced the members of the HS2 Growth Taskforce, set up to maximise the economic benefits of the High Speed 2 project (HS2).
Ministers believe the new high speed line will be a key driver for jobs and could generate up to 22,000 jobs in the next five years, rising to 50,000 by the late 2020s.
The task force is chaired by commercial secretary to the Treasury and former London Olympics organising committee chief executive Lord Deighton. The other members are:
Sir Howard Bernstein, chief executive, Manchester City Council
Sir Albert Bore, leader, Birmingham City Council
Sir John Rose, deputy chairman, Rothschild Group
Frances O’Grady, general secretary, TUC
Neale Coleman, mayor of London’s adviser on Olympic legacy
Tony Venables, professor of economics, Oxford University
Alison Nimmo, chief executive, Crown Estate
Julie Dore, leader, Sheffield City Council
Pete Waterman, board member, Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership
Matthew Colledge, leader, Trafford Council
Lorraine Baldry, chair, London & Continental Railways
Deighton said: “HS2 presents a massive opportunity to boost growth in regions across the UK and it’s vital that we talk to business leaders, public sector organisations, local government and the public about how we maximise the benefit to the whole of the country. “I am confident that together we have the right blend of experience and expertise to make sure HS2 delivers its full potential in terms of jobs and growth.”