The House of Commons Select Committee hearings on the High Speed 2 railway have got underway. Following an opening statement for the Secretary of State and briefing sessions for the committee, the first contentious business has been the standing of various objectors. The Secretary of State has challenged the locus (the right to appear) of 24 petitioners.
The first locus challenge to be heard was against the HS2 Action Alliance on 9th July and the arguments encompassed the role of the Hybrid Bill Select Committee (drawing on a 1948 Parliamentary report), the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive and the Aarhus Convention. Richard Harwood QC appeared for HS2AA.
James Strachan QC and Richard Wald are part of the team appearing for the Secretary of State. Justine Thornton, Christiaan Zwart and James Burton are amongst other members of chambers instructed by petitioners.