THE battle to stop HS2 from going ahead suffered a major blow today when the Supreme Court rejected HS2 Action Alliance’s (HS2AA) appeal that the Government should comply with the Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) Directive while planning HS2.
The impact, according to protesters, is that Governments can avoid laws designed to protect the environment by getting planning permission from Parliament, rather than from an independent commission or inspector.
Plans for HS2 will see a new line on the Manchester spur cut through parts of Trafford, including Warburton, to a new station at Manchester Airport, on its way to the city centre.
But HS2AA will now bring a complaint to the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee. The Committee has the power to find that the Supreme Court’s decision leaves the UK in breach of their UN Treaty obligations under the Aarhus Convention.
HS2AA is also planning to bring a complaint to the European Commission. If the complaint is accepted, the UK Government will be taken to the European Court of Justice to explain why it has not completed a Strategic Environmental Assessment for HS2..
Hilary Wharf, director, HS2 Action Alliance, said: “We always knew this would be a long fight.
“A number of the judges, led by Lady Hale, thought long and hard about whether the issues HS2AA raised should be referred to the European Court of Justice.
“This and the fact that we were given right to appeal to the highest court in the land shows how seriously the need for an SEA should be taken.
“We will continue to press the Government to meet its environmental obligations. The Government should be safeguarding our environment for future generations and the simple fact is HS2 is an unnecessary and hugely damaging project environmentally.”
"Without the support of thousands of people across the country we would not be able to press the Government to take its environmental responsibilities seriously."