HS2 campaigners consider European appeal

Bucks Free Press: File photo File photo

THE fight against HS2 is set to go to Europe, with a Bucks-based action group planning to launch a further appeal.

Last week the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal brought by campaigners, finding in favour of the government over a key environmental assessment.

Judges at the UK's highest court found the government had not contravened any law by failing to carry out a Strategic Environmental Assessment of the project.

But members of the HS2 Action Alliance disagreed with the verdict and have announced their intention to potentially fight the court decision at the European Court of Justice.

The Amersham-based campaign group - one of three to bring the court action - say the judges' refusal to refer the matter to the European court is in breach of its obligations under the EU's Aarhus Convention.

The Convention rules public authorities should make arrangements to "enable the public affected and environmental non-governmental organisations to comment on proposals for projects affecting the environment, or plans and programmes relating to the environment".

Members of the HS2 Action Alliance say this was not done - and now plan on bringing complaints to the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee and the European Commission.

If either complaint is upheld, the matter will be considered by the European Court of Justice.

The HS2 Action Alliance said the Supreme Court decision had "obvious EU-wide implications".

Group director Hilary Wharf said: "We always knew this would be a long fight. A number of the judges, led by Lady Hale, thought long and hard about whether the issues HS2AA raised should be referred to the European Court of Justice.

"This and the fact that we were given right to appeal to the highest court in the land shows how seriously the need for an Strategic Environmental Assessment should be taken.

"We will continue to press the government to meet its environmental obligations. The government should be safeguarding our environment for future generations and the simple fact is HS2 is an unnecessary and hugely damaging project environmentally."

Comments (9)

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10:09am Tue 28 Jan 14

miccles says...

Well I hope they are going to use private money, and not council tax money?
This is partly the reason why this county is one of the worst for its dire pot hole ridden roads.
Well I hope they are going to use private money, and not council tax money? This is partly the reason why this county is one of the worst for its dire pot hole ridden roads. miccles
  • Score: 14

10:24am Tue 28 Jan 14

thethe says...

If they believe they have a case then I agree it is best to try and take it to a higher court. There is still time for this Government to see sense and to admit that HS2 is nothing but a short term job creation scheme
If they believe they have a case then I agree it is best to try and take it to a higher court. There is still time for this Government to see sense and to admit that HS2 is nothing but a short term job creation scheme thethe
  • Score: -12

10:41am Tue 28 Jan 14

no1buzz says...

why keep wasting money on a lost cause? Face up to it, it's going to happen!
why keep wasting money on a lost cause? Face up to it, it's going to happen! no1buzz
  • Score: 12

11:58am Tue 28 Jan 14

sparky49 says...

Interesting this one. Consider this, If the Labour party say before the next election that they are going to cancel HS2, would the True blue tory voters vote Red?
Interesting this one. Consider this, If the Labour party say before the next election that they are going to cancel HS2, would the True blue tory voters vote Red? sparky49
  • Score: 2

12:19pm Tue 28 Jan 14

MellyJ says...

Wasting our money. You are flogging a dead horse
Wasting our money. You are flogging a dead horse MellyJ
  • Score: 9

2:13pm Tue 28 Jan 14

s6blr says...

If those who want to fight it fund the fight themselves great

I'm not paying for it!
If those who want to fight it fund the fight themselves great I'm not paying for it! s6blr
  • Score: 12

7:12pm Tue 28 Jan 14

gpn01 says...

s6blr wrote:
If those who want to fight it fund the fight themselves great

I'm not paying for it!
Ok. So let's set up two funds: one to fight it and one to fund the £53bn to pay for it. I sure don't want my money wasting on it and would much rather money goes towards building a truly worthwhile and modern infrastructure.
[quote][p][bold]s6blr[/bold] wrote: If those who want to fight it fund the fight themselves great I'm not paying for it![/p][/quote]Ok. So let's set up two funds: one to fight it and one to fund the £53bn to pay for it. I sure don't want my money wasting on it and would much rather money goes towards building a truly worthwhile and modern infrastructure. gpn01
  • Score: -14

10:09pm Tue 28 Jan 14

padav says...

"and now plan on bringing complaints to the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee and the European Commission" All I can say is good luck with that! Any attempt to make an appeal on this basis will take years and fail, incurring yet further expense and frustration. There is only one legitimate avenue of dissent now and that is the forthcoming General Election in 2015, when HS2 will remain a live issue in a limited number of constituencies along the route. During April 2015, I foresee a lot of hot air and not much success for anti-HS2 campaigners in Bucks as First Past the Post voting works its unique trick of frustrating challenge from outsiders and allowing incumbents to survive.
"and now plan on bringing complaints to the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee and the European Commission" All I can say is good luck with that! Any attempt to make an appeal on this basis will take years and fail, incurring yet further expense and frustration. There is only one legitimate avenue of dissent now and that is the forthcoming General Election in 2015, when HS2 will remain a live issue in a limited number of constituencies along the route. During April 2015, I foresee a lot of hot air and not much success for anti-HS2 campaigners in Bucks as First Past the Post voting works its unique trick of frustrating challenge from outsiders and allowing incumbents to survive. padav
  • Score: 10

10:44am Wed 29 Jan 14

Windsorian says...

I see The Lawyer 27.9.13 had an article "HS2 legal bill to hit £5m as Supreme Court battle looms" in which the DfT state "We will be seeking to reclaim costs from the relevant parties for those claims."

Perhaps the anti-HS2 Brigade should pay the existing costs for which they are responsible, before starting any new appeals ?
I see The Lawyer 27.9.13 had an article "HS2 legal bill to hit £5m as Supreme Court battle looms" in which the DfT state "We will be seeking to reclaim costs from the relevant parties for those claims." Perhaps the anti-HS2 Brigade should pay the existing costs for which they are responsible, before starting any new appeals ? Windsorian
  • Score: 6

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