R (HS2 Action Alliance Ltd.) v Secretary of State for Transport [2014]

  • Created by: channyx
  • Created on: 20-03-20 19:02


Following a report from a government-established company (HS2 Ltd), the Secretary of State for Transport published a Command Paper outlining the proposed route that the first phase of HS2, a high-speed railway, would take, and commenced a consultation. Various responses objecting to the proposals were received, but the government did not change its plans.

In consequence, the government made a safeguarding direction for all land encompassed by the HS2 proposals to prevent 'incompatible development', which meant that individuals could ask the government to buy any property they owned in the HS2 development envelope. Similar steps were taken in relation to the second phase of the project.

The applicants argued that, among other things, the proposal to authorize the construction of HS2 via the hybrid bill procedure was insufficient to comply with the requirements of the European Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive. The hybrid bill procedure is like the ordinary public bill procedure in all respects, except that there is 'an additional select committee stage after the second reading in each House, at which objectors whose interests are directly and specifically affected by the bill (including local authorities) may petition against the bill and be heard' (Lord Reed).

It was contended by the appellants that the requirements of the EIA Directive would not be fulfilled via this process because it did not enable 'effective public participation', given that the government '[had] already taken the critical decision' to proceed with the project. Furthermore, in view of the government's policy position, all parliamentary votes would be whipped and subject to time constraints, such that effective parliamentary…


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