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Campaigners hope High Court challenge will derail HS2

Artist impression of how a HS2 train could look Photo: HS2 Ltd

Campaigners say they hope to put plans for a High Speed Rail line running through the Midlands back to square one as they prepare to go to the High Court tomorrow.

They're appealing a judicial review earlier this year which ruled the Government could press ahead without complying with environmental regulations.

The HS2 Action Alliance managed to raise the £100,000 needed to make the challenge against the ruling, which was made in March and in favour of the progression of the high speed rail project.

The group is arguing that more thorough Environmental Impact Assessments should've been done before the route of the line was announced. It believes if more assessments had been done, a different outcome would have emerged into the future of the project.

It also says the public consultation into the £33 billion project was flawed.

The HS2 Action Alliance will start its fresh legal challenge against the Government tomorrow Credit: PA

One place where residents claim significant damage will be done is the Bourn Brook valley near the village of Hints in Staffordshire.

Although the area has special protection by the County Council's County Plan, which states that any development must blend in with the surrounding landscape, locals say this is being ignored and the current route proposed does not do enough to mitigate the effects of the line on the countryside.

The HS2 line is due to cut through the woods on the right and straight through this field Credit: ITV Central

HS2 Ltd, the Government owned company delivering the project, has stated in its own Environmental Assessment that the line will have 'Major Adverse' affects to the landscape.

David Outen lives in Hints around 400 metres from the proposed route, and is against HS2 on environmental grounds.

Whenever schemes of this sort are put forward the Government can seem to have special powers to override anything. I'm protesting against this scheme not from a personal point of view and the impact it has on me I'm protesting against the scheme because of the severe damage i think it's going to do to the environment.

– David Outen, campaigner

The HS2 Action Alliance has accused the Government of 'bully boy' tactics in the run up to the appeal, over attempts to stop a cap on legal costs.

Speaking ahead of the appeal, HS2AA, which represents more than 70 affiliated groups and residents' associations and a golf club, said:

“The Government’s failure to properly consider the environmental impact of HS2 and its alternatives has led them to the wrong decision. The Government is failing in its duty to protect the environment for future generations. HS2 doesn’t stand up on environmental grounds, has no business case and should simply be dropped.”

– Hilary Wharf, director, HS2AA

Ahead of tomorrow's High Court appeal by the HS2 Action Alliance, the Department for Transport issued the following statement.

"The High Court 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."

– Department for Transport

If the HS2 project goes ahead, by 2026, trains could be running at speeds of more than 200 miles per hour to link the North through the Midlands to London.

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