HS2 anguish continues despite a legal ‘victory’ over compensation
Rulings over HS2 have been described as a ‘double-edged sword’ despite both sides claiming victory after Friday’s high court ruling.
Jeremy Wright, MP for Kenilworth and Southam warned the judge’s decision may simply mean prolonged anguish for many of those affected.
He explained that the results of the Judical Review will “not automatically change anything” and that campaigners will now have to battle with a fresh consultation to secure a fair compensation deal.
“A review analyses the way a decision was made not the correctness of that decision,” he explained.
“But it does mean that on the issue of compensation we have an opportunity to make the arguments again with renewed force and push ministers for a fairer deal.”
But he said the delay from a new consultation will not be welcomed by everyone.
“This is not universally good news. Those who responded and are waiting for an outcome on their future and compensation may have to wait even longer which will only add to the anguish.
“The government needs to make sure that it has a fair compensation scheme and if it cant afford that, then in my view, it cannot afford HS2.
“The question is, can we find a more acceptable compensation package, and I think we can.”
Mr Wright will now fight for the widely preferred ‘property bond’ scheme which was dismissed by HS2 but which would require the government to pay out the shortfall in current and unblighted market value for everyone affected.
No new consultation details have been made by HS2 Ltd, but after Fridays’ rulings were announced, the Department for Transport assured the project would continue “full steam ahead” and not be set back by a single day.
Rail minister, Simon Burns described it as a “landmark victory for HS2 and the future of Britain”.
“We have listened to the judge’s comments about the property compensation consultation and to save time and public money we will reconsult on this aspect - but this will not delay HS2.
“We remain fully committed to fairly compensating the public who are impacted.”
Warwickshire County Council - which was one of 15 opposing the conduct of the government and HS2 Ltd - was left “disappointed” by the results of the review.
Cllr Alan Cockburn (Con, Kenilworth) portfolio holder, said he was “dismayed” with Lord Justice Ouseley’s verdict but that they had to continue to work with HS2 Ltd if they are to stand “any hope of protecting precious countryside and its communities”.
Lord Justice Ouseley dismissed 9 major challenges including:
• That the government did not fully consider HS2 AA’s consultation response on compensation
• Challenges to fairness and lawfulness of the 2011 consultation
• That the government was required to comply with environmental an habitat directives
• That the Secretary of State predetermined the outcome of future aviation strategy
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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