'This project is vital for the economy' says HS2 chief
A High Court judge has ruled in favour of campaigners challenging the Government's handling of HS2, the high speed rail route through the Midlands.
Although he rejected all but one of five legal challenges, Mr. Justice Ouseley said the Government's consultation process was unlawful.
HS2 Ltd argue the high-speed rail will boost the economy:
"This project is vital for the economy and for our country going forward. We need the capacity , we need to improve the connectivity between our major cities. The judgement today gives us the green light to press on with the project and deliver that for our major cities."
The High Court is to rule today on legal challenges to the Government's HS2 high-speed rail scheme.
Opponents are asking a judge in London to declare in a series of five cases that the multi-billion pound project is legally flawed and must be sent back for reconsideration.
The first phase of HS2 would see a high-speed railway line running through Tory heartlands from London to Birmingham.
The scheme has polarised opinion, with many residents' groups and local councils bitterly opposing it, but supporters point out the benefits of a reduction in journey times between the UK's two biggest cities.
If successful, the legal challenge could potentially delay the scheme for years.
The government will have to reconsult on compensation for people who live along the route of the proposed HS2 after a High Court judge ruled in favour of an anti-HS2 protest group.
The HS2AA group financed the case after appealing to the community for help.
Mr. Justice Ouseley upheld the challenge to the government's proposed compensation scheme on the grounds its consultation process was so unfair as to be unlawful .
Four other challenges to the Secretary of State were rejected. Joe Rukin from HS2AA said he was happy that one of the group's claims was upheld, but that HS2 would still be a disaster for many in the Midlands.
HS2 Ltd told ITV News Central, they are delighted with the overall outcome and HS2 is now on track bringing a boost to the region's economy with a super fast link from Birmingham to London. It will cost £33bn.
Rail Minister Simon Burns says this is a major landmark victory for HS2
The Government hailed the court's dismissal of four of the five cases against it as a "landmark victory".
Rail Minister Simon Burns said: "We have listened to the judge's comments about the property compensation consultation and, to save time and public money, we will re-consult on this aspect - but this will not delay HS2.
We remain fully committed to fairly compensating the public who are impacted by the scheme."
Government say court's decision will not affect HS2 construction timetable
The Government hailed the court's decision on the cases it won as a "landmark victory" and said the loss on the compensation case would "not affect the HS2 construction timetable in any way".
Rail Minister Simon Burns said: "This is a major landmark victory for HS2 and the future of Britain. The judge has categorically given the green light for the Government to press ahead without delay in building a high-speed railway from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds."