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Court rejects challenges to UK?s high speed plans

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> The High Court of Justice in London has thrown out almost all challenges raised against phase one of the proposed High Speed Two (HS2) rail network designed to connect London with Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. </span> <p>In what the UK government called “a landmark victory,” and “one of the biggest judicial reviews ever faced by government,” nine of 10 broad areas of challenge brought against its approval of stage one of the HS2 development were dismissed.</p><p>The only challenge upheld by the judge was regarding the consultation of residents who are to be compensated as a result of HS2’s development.</p><p>But the government said it would not appeal this decision, which would not delay the project’s development.</p><p>“The Secretary of State has decided that instead of appealing this decision the government will re-run this consultation in line with the judge’s finding that further consideration should have been given to other potential compensation models,” the government said.</p><p>“A re-run property compensation consultation will not affect the HS2 construction timetable in any way,” it added.</p><p>Indeed, the approval of just one of the 10 challenges is a huge result for HS2, which some experts suggested could have been fully derailed by the challenges if several were upheld.</p><p>As it is though, the government says it is now back on track to continue on with developing&nbsp the network.</p><p>HS2 is proposed as a high-speed rail network designed to continue from High Speed One, which connects the Channel Tunnel, between France and England, with London.</p><p>HS2 phase one, the subject of the High Court review, is to connect London with Birmingham, 164km to the north west, and is scheduled to begin construction in 2017, for completion in 2026.</p><p>Phase two of the proposed project will link Birmingham with Manchester, further to the north west, and with Leeds, further to the north. The government has also suggested that the network could eventually extend all the way to Scotland.</p><p>“HS2 is the most significant infrastructure investment the UK has seen in modern times and a project the country cannot afford to do without,” high-speed rail minister Simon Burns said. “The judgement ensures that nothing now stands in the way of taking our plans to Parliament.”</p><p>“This is a major, landmark victory for HS2 and the future of Britain,” the minister said.</p>