29 JULY 2013
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In spite of rising objections from a variety of ‘experts’ Britain’s High Speed 2 rail project is still on track.
The Court of Appeal rejected challenges lodged against plans by objectors including residents' groups and 15 councils along the route. The decision was made following four days of hearings at the Royal Courts of Justice in June. The decision was welcomed by the coalition Government which said it would be “moving forward as planned with introducing legislation in Parliament later this year and getting the scheme ready for construction in 2017”.
Minister of State for Transport Simon Burns 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”. Objectors say the exact opposite saying that MPs are the only people who use First Class and are clearly biased in their opinions. They claim that the time savings are marginal and that the money could be better spent elsewhere.
The Court of Appeal said the objectors could bring a further plea on the grounds of whether the scheme was subject to two EU directives requiring the Government to assess the impact of both HS2 and its alternatives.
Phase one of the scheme (London – Birmingham) is due to open in 2026, with the full Y-shaped route to Manchester and Leeds to follow in 2032 or 2033. www.hs2.org.uk
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