Campaigners shrug off HS2 defeat as 'blip'

A court ruling rejecting the latest challenge to the HS2 rail plan is just a ‘blip’, campaigners said today.

HS2
How HS2 will look

Judges in the Court of Appeal have refused a challenge from campaign groups, who now plan to take their fight to the Supreme Court.

Fifteen councils and other objectors had asked appeal judges to order further assessment of the scheme as a whole.

But Staffordshire businessman Trevor Forrester, who is hoping to mount the largest class action legal case in British history against HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport, today vowed that the battle will continue despite yesterday’s rejection.

“The rejection of the appeals is a blip, and now I think the class action case is the only way forward,” he said.

“We know the business case for HS2 is flawed, and it has been a humiliating few weeks for HS2 Ltd with the costs escalating, the CBI withdrawing its support and Peter Mandelson expressing concerns. The fight will continue.”

Mr Forrester is currently trying to generate support from 100,000 households along the route to back his fresh legal bid.

Meanwhile, resident and campaigner Rolfe Pearce, who lives in Colwich, near Rugeley, said: “A sad day comes to pass that people hurt by a government project are having to take the Government to court to plead for their environment and their lives and property.

“Far from losing this battle, we are now ever more emboldened that the Government’s case is slowly slipping away from them, and support across the UK is slipping. So the campaign must ratchet up a gear for the appeal to the Supreme Court.

“This is now a fight I believe we can win. For the first time, I see the metal of the government corroding badly. They won the case just and as we gather ever more evidence we will show that the case for HS2 is not only flawed but now unsustainable.”

Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2, said: “In the original ruling and the appeal, the judges have not looked at whether HS2 is a sensible way of spending £50billion of taxpayers’ money. They’ve said it’s up to Parliament to make the decision.

“But it is vital that Parliament has the right information they need on the environmental devastation HS2 will cause, and as yet, HS2 Ltd simply have not done the work.”

The first phase of HS2 will stretch from London to Lichfield, with the second leg cutting through swathes of Staffordshire countryside stretching from Lichfield to Stone.

Phase one of the scheme is set to open in 2026, with the full Y-shaped second route open in 2032 to 2033.

But fears have been raised over the cost of the project, which currently stands at £42.6 billion, and the environmental impact it will have.

Fears have also been raised it will mean a reduction in the number of train services running in the Black Country and Staffordshire.

The original legal challenge brought by opponents to HS2 was thrown out in a ruling in March by Mr Justice Ouseley. Campaigners had to raise £100,000 to launch their appeal.

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Comments for: "Campaigners shrug off HS2 defeat as 'blip'"

go-hs2

All seven challenges against HS2 were rejected by the Court of Appeal.

HS2 will not mean a reduction in services through Staffordshire and the Black Country, rather an opportunity for growth in services.

The situation in Staffordshire, as elsewhere, is that we are running out of capacity on our existing lines. We have already spent £9bn on upgrading the WCML yet Staffordshire has seen services lost at Barlaston and Wedgwood.

Network Rail now says services will be lost at Stone and Rugeley TV unless HS2 is built to provide more capacity.

Put simply, with a shortage of capacity we will have to decide which services we can operate.

It's also worth noting - as it's often omitted - that Stafford will have a high speed rail service - a train that can run on high speed and existing lines - calling en route from Liverpool to London. This will have a significant boost for the town and locality.

Rather than reducing services HS2 releases capacity and allows us to INCREASE local and regional services on existing lines. It is not just about London. Taking Stafford as an example, rail journeys to Birmingham and Manchester are very busy and crowded and becoming increasingly important.

john jefkins

I see that Warwickshire cut £500,000 from its street lighting budget for 2013-2014.

Warwickshire then wasted £540,000 failing to fight HS2.

Would the people of Warwickshire have not preferred that their street lights remained on - instead of having that money wasted paying already rich lawyers for their failed campaign?

HS2 will free up our existing lines to carry more commuter trains.

HS2 will also keep rail fares down - because without its capacity demand will outstrip supply.

Whilst it also offers the choice of a HALVED journey time to places like Leeds, Manchester, Scotland or Europe, the slower trains on the old lines will still offer a competitive and cheaper alternative.

We need HS2 - and with passenger demand growing on average FASTER (5% /yr) than the Dft prediction of only 2%/yr we will probably need it open rather sooner than planned.

Fortunately nobody else takes 9 years (2017-2026) to construct this length of track.

The institute of civil engineers suggests that 5 yrs (ie 2022) is a more sensible opening date.

Melvyn

The new issue of Rail magazine published this week deals with money councils are spending on Anti HS2 group 51M and mentions the street light case and it also mentions how a Tory councilor in Aylesbury having lost £100 grand on High Speed Roulette wants to spend more as she does not want to lose face (never mind tax payers !) just to line Lawyers pockets on cases that would not stand up to a few minutes interrogation by a decent interviewer !

HS2 is WCML2 and it seems Coventry is now looking at leaving 51M and looking at benefits HS2 could bring to the city !

Trevor Forrester

To both John Jenkins and to Go HS2 comments above you are both totally wrong, and your assesments mean you believe in governement spin. The capacity case was blasted wide open by the PAC meeting when it was stated by the D fT that the figures were from the industry, creating their own profits, and where would you invest a £1 and get 70 p back in benefits which is now what this monster is down to. Its that financial failure and the failure to convince the public that a cost of £33bn, which has now increased to £50bn is preventing your governement from paying full and fair compensation to 300,000 properties, that are badly blighted now as a result of laying down this prefered route. They are prisoners to HS2, and cant sell or raise any further monry on their major lifes investment. The £50bn includes "2.4bn for compensation which they wont admit is closer to £30bn and once we have identified that and won an action for compansation for these poor people see if the governement has the stomach to continue. I would add that both of you surely want this train, but surely you would want every single person badly screwed which involves old people, wanting to downsize or move away closer to their children, or kids who have just moved into properties and now valueless, should be paid, and even every person pro HS2 wouldnt want to see that happen, as the next time it may be YOU