High Speed Rail

The Government's HS2 high-speed rail scheme suffered a setback today when the High Court ruled that the consultation process for compensating those affected by the multibillion-pound project ``was so unfair as to be unlawful''.

But the Government immediately announced that ``a re-run property compensation consultation will not affect the HS2 construction timetable in any way''.

The decision on compensation at London's High Court by Mr Justice Ouseley was a victory for the High Speed 2 Action Alliance (HS2AA), consisting of more than 70 affiliated action groups and residents' associations.

The HS2AA case on consultation was one of five separate cases brought to block the controversial scheme in its current form. It was the only one to succeed.

The Government greeted the overall outcome of the crucial legal battle as a victory and said: ``Work on a new high-speed railway from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds can continue.''

The first phase of HS2 would see a high-speed line running through Tory heartlands from London to Birmingham. A second phase extends the line to Leeds and Manchester to create what will become known as ``the Y network''.

The project is designed to cut journey times, ease overcrowding and boost regional business.