26 July 2013
R (o.t.a HS2AA, Buckingham County Council and others) v. Secretary of State for Transport, 24 July 2013, Court of Appeal – read judgment
HS2 is the proposed high speed rail link to Birmingham and beyond. Its opponents sought to challenge the decision to promote it by way of a hybrid Bill in Parliament, saying that the process as a whole breached the various EU rules, including the need for Strategic Environmental Assessment under the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive 2001/42/EC and the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive 2011/92/EU.
The Court of Appeal rejected these contentions, as had the judge before them. But Sullivan LJ, a highly experienced planning judge, was far from convinced. He thought that a key question about the SEA Directive ought to be determined by the EU Court (the CJEU) before domestic judges could form a settled view on it.