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02/06/2013
Anti-HS2 group force govt back to court.


Anti-HS2 group force govt back to court.

 

A group against the High Speed Rail 2 project (HS2) has raised the cash to lodge an appeal on the environmental judicial review.

The HS2 Action Alliance has now forced the government back into court on June 10, with Whitehall saying it will 'continue to defend any challenge'.

The group, which is 70 local community groups and residents' associations, claims the scheme will have a significantly detrimental environmental impact along the line, including damage to the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, 33 ancient woodlands, 350 wildlife habitats, 30 river corridors and 24 sites of Special Scientific Interest.

Hilary Wharf, director of the alliance, said: 'The British public have joined the National Audit Office (NAO) and Major Projects Authority and are putting their hard earned cash up to hold the Government to account for their incompetent handling of this white elephant.

'The fact that HS2 Ltd chose the same day as the publication of the NAO report to slip out the wholly inadequate HS2 Environmental Statement, and is giving just eight weeks for a highly complicated consultation, shows that they simply donít care what irreparable damage HS2 would do to our environment.'

A Department for Transport spokesman said: 'The judge was firm in dismissing these challenges and the government will continue to defend any challenge in the Court of Appeal.

'It is unfortunate but inevitable that opponents of HS2 will do what ever they can to delay the government's plans, but the government remains committed to delivering HS2 as quickly as possible.'

It follows more bad news for HS2, as the Cabinet Office's Major Projects Authority report placed the scheme on an 'amber/red' rating, meaning ministers had concerns about its viability, an National Audit Office study questioned the business case and several northern councils raised concerns about the value for money of the project.

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