Landmark ruling requires HS2 to give ’sufficient’ information for planning applications
by: ALESSANDRO CARRARA
High Speed 2 will now need to cover the court costs of a case brought by Hillingdon Council, which amounts to around £20,000
The High Speed 2 (HS2) railway project is now required by law to provide councils “sufficient information” for future planning applications across its development area.
The landmark ruling, which was made by the Supreme Court on 23 February, was praised by Hillingdon Council at its annual budget meeting last night (25 Feb).
Leader of the Council, Councillor Ian Edwards, said: “HS2 will now need to give the council sufficient information in order for us to properly determine their applications, which they have been refusing up until now. “We have challenged that and we have won all the way up to the supreme court. That will be a position in law that will apply across the whole of their development.”
Hillingdon Council initially brought forward the case following an incident in which designs for a newt pond being built by HS2 hadn’t been provided to the council. Cllr Edwards said that they needed this information in order to make an “informed decision” about the earthworks.
According to Cllr Edwards, on Tuesday, the Supreme Court reportedly refused to hear an appeal against a decision of the appeal court that had ruled in Hillingdon’s favour over the case. However, the ruling was approved in the end, and Councillor Edwards said the law on HS2 planning applications was now “settled once and for all”.
Cllr Edwards added that he remained in support of the democratic decision to build the railway, but stressed that council would work to mitigate the “worst impact” on Hillingdon’s residents.
Controversy has surrounded the project since its inception, and groups including Stop HS2 and The HS2 Action Alliance have fervently opposed the construction of the railway system. Protests came to a head two weeks ago when activists were evicted from one the longest-running HS2 protest camps in Harvill Road, Harefield.
HS2 declined to comment when asked about this week's ruling.