HS2 protesters gearing up for court decision

 
Marion Dakers
PARTS of the controversial High Speed 2 (HS2) rail plan could be sent back to the drawing board this week if the High Court agrees with opponents of the scheme.

Residents and councils on the planned HS2 route between London, Birmingham and the north of England brought a judicial review in December, arguing that consultations on the plans had unfairly left them in the dark.

Mr Justice Ouseley is due to rule on the case on Friday. He has the power to quash the Department for Transport’s decisions on the £33bn project, which could cause years of delays to the rail link, the first leg of which is due to open in 2026.

The judicial review has already added to the scheme’s growing bills, which according to figures published by the Independent have passed £250m with four years until construction starts.

HS2 Limited, the DfT’s vehicle for the project, has set up a taskforce to rein in costs. “We are seeking to design HS2 within the published estimates but we know that construction here is more expensive than in other countries,” said HS2 chief executive Alison Munro.

A spokesperson for the DfT said the costs were a reflection of the project’s rapid progress.