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Hillingdon joins new High Court challenge over HS2 route controls
HS2Action Alliance and Hillingdon Council will be in the High Court tomorrow (Tuesday) to challenge the Government over the controversial high-speed rail project.
Mr Justice Lindblom will hear a fresh judicial review challenge on HS2, this time over the Transport Secretary’s decision to issue safeguarding directions without first undertaking a Strategic Environmental Assessment.
The hearing has been listed for one day only, with judgment likely to be reserved and issued at a later date.
If the hearing on safeguarding is successful, the current ban on developing land identified for the route of phase one would be lifted and could not be reinstated until the Government has completed a valid environmental assessment.
Cllr Ray Puddifoot, leader of Hillingdon Council, said: “Despite the Government telling us that resistance is futile, we will continue our fight against this flawed plan, however long it takes. This is not a done deal.
“We also remain committed to assisting residents’ groups and local businesses and will continue to help wherever possible with the resources and support people need.”
Hilary Wharf, of HS2 Action Alliance, said: “Since the start of this project, there has been a sorry story of the Government trying to avoid important environmental protection requirements which are enshrined in law.
“We believe the same environmental and planning law standards should apply to HS2 as any other project, and we are prepared to go to the High Court to protect that principle.”
Hillingdon is facing disruption over many years should the current plans for HS2 proceed, including the placement of a new landfill, one of Europe’s largest, next to thousands of homes.
Impact on the borough includes loss of important amenities such as the Hillingdon Outdoor Activity Centre, numerous wildlife sites, disruption to traffic and local businesses.
A Department for Transport spokesman said: "HS2 is a vital part of the Government's long-term economic plan and we are determined to ensure Britain will benefit from the jobs, skills and extra capacity it will provide.
"We are confident the decisions taken on HS2 have been taken lawfully and fairly and are vigorously defending this legal challenge.
"Attempts to obstruct HS2 have already been firmly rejected by three courts and we are very confident this latest claim will not succeed."