Bucks backs down on HS2 routes after court loss


Buckinghamshire Council will not appeal after the High Court backed a decision by planning inspectors to allow four ‘environmentally damaging’ lorry routes for HS2 construction traffic.

Under Schedule 17 of the High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Act 2017, HS2 Ltd is required to obtain approval for lorry routes from the relevant planning authority, but last year the council refused to make decisions on a number of cases, stating that it needed further information.

HS2 Ltd appealed to the Planning Inspectorate, which allowed its appeals. The council then applied to the High Court for judicial review, which considered the case in June and last week dismissed the application.

Cllr Steven Broadbent, the council’s cabinet member for transport, said: ‘We are bitterly disappointed with the result but the decision to go ahead and take these appeals to the High Court was always the right thing to do for our residents and communities.

‘Following robust counsel advice, we believe we had strong and very valid reasons to challenge the decisions of the Inspectors in allowing lorry routes to be used which will have an enormous and detrimental impact on our local roads.’

He added: ‘We have now met with our legal representatives to discuss next steps and after careful consideration we have decided not to appeal the decision.’

Cllr Broadbent said the council ‘will fully use the limited powers we have’, hold HS2 Ltd and its contractors to account, and work tirelessly to mitigate the impact of the construction and the project on local communities, environment and infrastructure.

The four lorry routes covered by the ruling are:

  • Small Dean Lane, Wendover to the strategic road network (SRN)
  • Small Dean Viaduct, Wendover to the SRN
  • Chiltern Tunnel North Portal to the SRN
  • three worksites at Little Missenden, Chesham and the North Portal to the SRN

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