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Ealing leader upbeat despite Supreme Court ruling on HS2
EALING Council leader Julian Bell remains positive following an apparent blow to HS2 protesters.
The Supreme Court last week ruled against legal challenges presented by HS2 Action Alliance, the 51M group of local authorities and Heathrow Hub Ltd.
Cllr Bell said the judgement actually vindicates Ealing Council's stance.
He said: “If we had gone down the judicial review route and joined the 51M, rather than using our technical reasoning approach, we would not have gone very far.”
Cllr Bell believes joining the group would have specifically risked the chance of successfully convincing HS2 Ltd of the cost benefit of a proposed tunnel.
Last year, after workingtogether with local groups including North Ealing Against HS2, the borough had confirmation from HS2 Ltd that a revised tunnel option for Ealing would be taken forward.
In support of HS2, Cllr Bell said: “We are trying to mitigate the impact to residents and also support the regeneration benefits of HS2 through the Crossrail Interchange at Old Oak Common.
“There will be tens of thousands of new jobs, while businesses will look to come here.
“In turn, it will bring jobs, prosperity and investment to North Acton and Park Royal.”
Supporters of the £57bn project believe HS2 will improve connectivity and job opportunities for communities between London, the Midlands and the north.
Those opposing HS2 believe the Government did not adequately comply with the Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) directive while planning HS2.
They also believe that there was a breach of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (EIAD).
The Supreme Court’s panel of seven rejected both of these these claims.
Hilary Wharf, director of HS2 Action Alliance, said: “The Government should be safeguarding our environment for future generations, and the simple fact is HS2 is an unnecessary and hugely damaging project environmentally.”
The Government has extended to February 27 the deadline to give opponents of HS2 time to respond to the environmental statement after 877 pages were omitted.
Reaching speeds of 250mph and providing seating for up to 1,100 people, HS2 trains will enable reduced journey times of up to 25 minutes between London and Birmingham.