HS2 pro­test­ers go to United Na­tions

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

PRO­TEST­ERS against HS2 have ap­peared in front of the United Na­tions to make their case against the pro­ject.

The HS2 Ac­tion Al­liance pre­sented to the Aarhus Con­ven­tion Com­pli­ance Com­mit­tee at the United Na­tions in Geneva on Thurs­day, March 10, fol­low­ing the UK Supreme Court’s de­ci­sion in Jan­uary 2014 that the UK govern­ment had not acted un­law­fully in bring­ing for­ward its plans for the con­tro­ver­sial rail scheme.

HS2 Ac­tion Al­liance, based in Amer­sham, pre­sented its case on the ba­sis that the govern­ment had failed to carry its du­ties un­der Ar­ti­cle Seven of the Aarhus Con­ven­tion, and had not looked enough at al­ter­na­tives to HS2 be­fore press­ing ahead with it.

The con­ven­tion states that plans and pro­grammes from the govern­ment must be trans­par­ent and pro­vide the nec­es­sary in­for­ma­tion to the pub­lic.

How­ever, HS2 Ac­tion Al­liance says this was not the case, as some op­tions for the line were ruled out with­out pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion, and no in­for­ma­tion was given about the en­vi­ron­men­tal ef­fects of some of the op­tions con­sid­ered.

The UK govern­ment ar­gued it had dis­charged its du­ties un­der Ar­ti­cle Seven by car­ry­ing out its con­sul­ta­tion in 2011 and that the con­sul­ta­tion met th­ese re­quire­ments.

The Aarhus com­mit­tee will write to the UK govern­ment and the Euro­pean Union in the com­ing weeks with some ques­tions.

A state­ment from the HS2 Ac­tion Al­liance said: “Th­ese com­mu­ni­ca­tions demon­strate the weak­nesses in the cur­rent frame­works for pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion in the UK and Euro­pean Union.

“HS2 Ac­tion Al­liance would like to thank its le­gal team and the gen­er­ous in­di­vid­u­als across the coun­try who have gen­er­ously con­trib­uted to en­able this ap­pear­ance to take place.”

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