DfT can’t decide whether it has decided or not? – Judicial review day 4

The government began its defence of the HS2 rail line this afternoon with Tim Mould QC making the surprise announcement that the Secretary of State had ‘not made a decision to proceed with the HS2 rail scheme’ as it was still ‘only a policy’.

Fifteen local authorities have been in High Court this week challenging the Secretary of State’s ‘decision’ to run a High Speed railway from London via Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds. The local councils stated that the project has not been properly consulted on. In particular, HS2 has not been properly environmentally assessed as a whole so that residents and business affected could make a properly informed response.

Councillor Martin Tett, Chairman of the 51m alliance of local authorities and Leader of Bucks County Council said: “Today’s revelation is jaw-dropping and frankly farcical beyond belief. If the Secretary of State’s ‘Decision Paper’ is not a ‘decision’ then what is it? I think the whole Government and indeed most of the country know that they have made this decision and yet now they claim they have not. This is the same DfT that today’s Laidlaw Report has criticised so strongly for its dysfunctional working. HS2 is beginning to sound a lot like another WCML fiasco in the making.”

Cllr Sarah Hayward Leader of London Borough of Camden added: “The Government said today ‘it just wants to put an end to the process.’ What about our residents who fear losing their homes and businesses and the communities under threat . When will it end for them?”

The Judicial Review cases continue next week with HS2 Action Alliance’s on compensation and Aylesbury Golf Club putting their individual cases to Lord Justice Ouseley.

The outcome of each of the five judicial reviews is expected in mid-January 2013.

10 comments to “DfT can’t decide whether it has decided or not? – Judicial review day 4”
  1. Last week Alison Monro was still coming out with the old inaccurate information rhetoric… 55,000 consultation responses recieved, ONLY (!) about 120 houses to be demolished (of course they are not even people’s homes), Lille reaped the benefit in France. There were masses of DfT people taking on board these oft repeated lies. It is brainwashing tosh. Needless to say the Q and A’s were taken up by correcting the rubbish she had just said. She did not really respond to the corrections Maybe this is a new method of gerrimandering and getting out of answering the really difficult questions.

    At a recent CPRE lecure Mr. McLaughlin didn’t come up with anything new. He too just came out with the same old untruths.

  2. It seems to have gone through at last.The compensation open day at Southam was just another box ticking exercise for them.It opened at 9am they had no decent maps they were to be on stands and due to arrive by courier.They never did.the pamphlets for people to fill in to claim compensation were an hour or so late great for those who had come early and left.There were about 10 people there to consult none seemed to be able to tell where on earth they were the maps may as well been of the moon.I am a competent map reader and know the area I live in but with tiny road markings on only main roads it was very hard to work it out.

  3. Just tried half a dozen times to send an account of the poor consultation open day at southam but although i put it in right and changed it each time it told me i had made an error in entering the captcha code .very frustrating.

  4. Is this another government ploy to make every think hs2 might not happen producing doubt and unsternty for every one and what happened to the fast track statements made only days ago you could not make this if you tried but then it’s not there money they are waisting perhaps if was they would be a lot more carefull the way they spent our money

  5. “Only a policy”? Nearly £1bn spent already, a whole army of hs2 Ltd employees, local mitigation fora, umpteen plans, changes …. this is a really, really bad joke – or nightmare.

    • @lelli0: “Only a policy”? Nearly £1bn spent already

      Even for STOPHS2 advocates this is a stretch of the imagination (not to mention mathematical principles) or have you conveniently forgotten this factoid, reported in these very columns in September?

      In a written response to question from Cheryl Gillan MP, the newly appointed Transport Minister Simon Burns listed total expenditure rounded to the nearest whole number as £9 million for 2009-10, £24 million for 2010-11, £56 million for 2011-12 and £65 million so far for 2012-13


      Not sure about you @lelli0 but I make that £154million to date or £0.154bn – according to you that’s nearly £1bn spent already – really?

      • On this one I hope you are right. Let’s hope they have “only” spent £ 154 m so far. Although that figure appears to have been up to the end of August and the monthly run rate is likely to have gone up as more and more people are hired by HS2 Ltd and McLoughlin “cracks on” with the project .

        There is also some scope for interpretation in what Burns says. He could mean what has been shelled out in cash so far or he could be including the value of all contracts awarded. The two amounts will be very different.

      • In aswer to the cost question read this.
        On announcing her decision to go ahead with HS2, the very first question Justine Greening was asked came from Tory MP John Redwood. He asked how much would be spent this Parliament and was given the answer ‘A couple of hundred million pounds’. This reassured the former front-bencher right up until he received a letter from Greening saying that she had apparently recalled the cost of land acquisition, not all the consultancy and planning costs and that the actual costs were £750m this parliament. However, there was a bit of a problem with this £750m, as this was the original ‘this Parliament’ (2010-2015) cost touted in 2010. Indeed, in another question from Mr Redwood last March, the former Secretary of State Philip Hammond had given and answer of £773m. Again, that figure was slightly misleading as it failed to include the £46m which had already been spent at that point, bringing it up to £819m. This figure however has to come under question as we believe it does not include that ‘couple of hundred million’ for land acquisition, which would put the actual answer for spending this parliament at £1,019 million.

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