The full ruling in the HS2 judicial review can now be downloaded.
hs2-summary (291KB, 7 pages)
hs2-judgment (Very large file: 2.3MB, 259 pages)
Two things are worth emphasizing from the ruling
- Justice Ouseley made it very clear that he was not looking at whether HS2 was a good scheme, saying in court “It will be apparent from the issues which I have outlined that it is not my task in this judgment to reach a view one way or the other on the merits of HS2.“
- Justice Ouseley said that whether the HS2 scheme was rational was not a decision for the court, but a political decision. He emphasized that there would be several opportunities for MPs to review HS2 in Parliament.
Campaigners were given leave to appeal.
Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Council said
“We have said all along that the government’s consultation was completely inadequate and are pleased that the judge agrees with this area of the case. The judgement found the compensation consultation to be wrong and that it failed to inform people affected by HS2. This means the government will need to look at the issue of compensation again….
“We intend to pursue and appeal a number of grounds. By securing our right to appeal we can continue to fight to protect our communities from the destructive legacy HS2 will create for decades.
“We feel the decision made today fails to fully grapple with our case or the parliamentary process and demonstrates a misinterpretation of the law. We have said all along that the government and HS2 Limited have made no proper assessment of the disruption and damage High Speed 2 will cause…
“The Judge dismissed our claims because he felt that no “decisions” had been made to proceed with HS2. Yet clearly the government has taken the decision to go ahead with this scheme already. Moreover, the Judge did not say our Claim was without merit, simply that it was too early to make a decision.
“We felt we should challenge HS2 now and not wait for more years of planning and public money to be wasted on this project.
“Where we challenged their failure to plan for a rise in passenger capacity at Euston station, the judge deemed the proposals ‘foolish’ yet not unlawful.”
Cheryl Gillan, Chesham and Amersham MP said:
“I am bitterly disappointed for 51M although I am pleased about the one aspect of the HS2 Action Alliance which was successful.”
“I still believe that the project is fundamentally flawed and I believe it will continue to be fought and it is not the end of the road.”
“The Court was scathing about the behaviour of the Department for Transport (DfT). The Judge said that the DfT, “bizarrely” opted for a compensation scheme which received just 21 responses in its favour from the public, out of 36,036 responses that commented on property blight.
“The Judge also said that the reasons provided by the DfT for its choice of compensation scheme were “in part very odd” and its consultation strategy reflected “muddled thinking” and was “doomed from the start”. His Judgement decided that the public were not given the information they needed to respond and DfT were found to have moved the goalposts in how they selected their scheme.
“The Judge was also highly critical of the DfT for losing HS2AA’s consultation response – which he said was a “sorry saga”. He described HS2AA’s 34 page response as “careful and substantial” and “detailed, well informed and fully reasoned” and he finds that “it was in reality just brushed aside” and never properly considered.”
Hilary Wharf, director, HS2AA said:
“Today’s judgement is a huge victory for the hundreds of thousands of people whose lives are blighted by HS2. The Government’s shabby attempt to railroad through an inadequate compensation scheme whilst ignoring the views of ordinary people have been judged to be unlawful.
Matt Jackson, Head of Strategy and Conservation Policy at the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) commented:
“The court’s decision today, if it stands, adds to the pressure for proper alternatives to be looked at when the draft of HS2 Ltd’s Environmental Impact Assessment of the route is brought out in spring, and for Parliament itself to take proper account of wildlife if the HS2 hybrid bill goes forward. The Judge has ruled that much of the consideration of impact on wildlife and the environment can take place later in the process, but we have grave concerns about how that will happen in practice.”