COUNCILLORS and residents in the region opposed to the controversial high-speed rail plan are a step closer to defeat today after the Government emerged from a legal challenge relatively unscathed.
Rail minister Simon Burns said the Government had secured a ‘major landmark victory’ after it won on nine out of 10 points following the challenge by protesters.
The Birmingham to Manchester line is set to run within 10 miles of Burton, impacting on villages including Alrewas, Fradley and Kings Bromley, as well as Ashby, Measham and Moira in North West Leicestershire.
There was one piece of good news for disgruntled residents from the region set to feel the impact of the plans, however.
Though the proposals now look to be set in stone, the High Court ruled the Government’s approach regarding compensation to those affected to be ‘so unfair as to be unlawful’.
The prospect of enhanced compensation packages was the only positive news those affected were left to cling onto.
But the Government appear to be happy to let the protesters win that argument, and will be pleased to have escaped any legal issues concerning environmental impact, which could have held up the plans.
As the final blow was effectively landed by the Government, council bosses have now turned their attention to ensuring they make the best out of what they see as a bad deal, and recover as much compensation for affected residents as possible.
Mike Maryon, cabinet member for transport at Staffordshire County Council, said: “As a county council we are bitterly opposed to HS2, because of the massive impact it will have on our communities and the environment.
“However, I am pleased that the High Court has recognised that consultation on compensation was flawed and I think HS2 has to seriously rethink its proposals around compensation packages.
“We want to see more generous compensation offered to residents over a wider area and greater clarity and openness about what financial recompense will be made.”