COUNCILS have spent £800,000 on legal challenges against HS2 - money a councillor said should have been spent on services instead.

Around a quarter of a million pounds of council cash was spent on an unsuccessful Judicial Review in the High Court, while an additional £550,000 has been spent on studies and reviews to argue for improved mitigation against the controversial project.

The figures were revealed at Chiltern District Council's full council meeting last night by former leader Nick Rose.

He said the authority was one of several who had contributed funds towards the mitigation fight and the cost of legal fees. The money has come from each council's reserve funds.

Cllr Rose added the final total spent had not yet been finalised.

He was responding to a question from Cllr Mohammad Bhatti asking how much Chiltern District Council had spent on fighting HS2.

The Labour member for the Newtown ward said: "Even though I don't see that this government will listen to us and will stop the project, this is the money that comes out of our reserves budget. It should be better spent on improving our residents' living standards."