The UK’s highest court has rejected a legal challenge claiming the UK government has been ‘cutting corners’ to push through the HS2 high-speed rail project.
The challenge, put forward by objectors including the HS2 Action Alliance (HS2AA), Heathrow Hub campaigners and local councils along the proposed route, said the government has breached European environmental laws by failing to carry out a strategic environmental assessment.
The campaigners asked for the scheme to be re-evaluated, as they believed alternatives have not been properly considered.
However, seven Supreme Court judges have unanimously rejected the challenge today, referring the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
"There is no reason to suppose that MPs will be unable properly to examine and debate the proposed project," the ruling said.
Responding to the Supreme Court ruling, Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said: "We welcome that the Supreme Court has unanimously rejected the appeal, which addressed technical issues that had no bearing on the need for a new north-south railway.
"The government's handling of the project has been fully vindicated by the highest court in the land.
"We will now continue to press ahead with the delivery of HS2,” she said, maintaining the line, foreseen to connect London with Birmingham by 2026, will generate thousands of jobs and provide new opportunities to boost economy.
The HS2 construction, currently estimated to cost some £50bn, will affect about 170,000 households along the route, as well as possibly disrupting at least 10 natural sites of special scientific interest, the objectors said.
Speaking after the announcement, campaign director of the HS2 Alliance Emma Crane said she was disappointed but determined to continue the fight by raising a complaint by the European Commission.