The Supreme Court has rejected a legal challenge by objectors to Government proposals for pushing through the HS2 national high-speed rail link.
The highest court in the land heard accusations that the Government was “cutting corners” to push through the project, in breach of European environmental laws.
It was argued that the parliamentary hybrid Bill procedure being used by MPs was inappropriate.
Today seven Supreme Court justices unanimously rejected the challenge.
The judges ruled: “There is no reason to suppose that MPs will be unable properly to examine and debate the proposed project.”
They also ruled there was no need for the court to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).
Responding to the Supreme Court ruling, Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said: “We welcome that the Supreme Court has unanimously rejected the appeal, which addressed technical issues that had no bearing on the need for a new north-south railway.
“The Government’s handling of the project has been fully vindicated by the highest court in the land.
“We will now continue to press ahead with the delivery of HS2.
“The new north-south line will provide extra space for more trains and more passengers to travel on the network, delivering additional capacity where it is most needed.
“HS2 will also generate thousands of jobs across the UK and provide opportunities to boost skills.
“It is part of the Government’s long-term economic plan to build a stronger, more competitive economy and secure a better future for Britain.
“HS2 is also essential in helping rebalance UK growth - bringing greater prosperity to the Midlands and the North - and we are continuing with the crucial business of getting the scheme ready for construction in 2017.”
The legal challenge was made by objectors including the HS2 Action Alliance (HS2AA), Heathrow Hub campaigners and local councils along the proposed route in a bid to force reconsideration of the scheme to link London, the Midlands and the North.
David Elvin QC, appearing for HS2AA, told the Supreme Court at a hearing in October that the case concerned “the most important strategic rail decision this country has taken at least for a generation”.
The Department for Transport has described HS2 as “absolutely vital for this country if we are to meet the urgent capacity needs we face”.
Business leaders in Birmingham welcomed today’s announcement.
Tim Pile, President of Birmingham Chamber said: “HS2 has the potential to deliver transformational effect on the region. Research by Centro has shown that the scheme could generate 51,000 jobs and £4.1bn in growth every year.
“This will provide an essential stimulus to the regional economy and generate new business opportunities and jobs.
“In a poll conducted by the Chamber in Q4 2013, 45 per cent of our members said that HS2 would have a significant positive impact on the West Midlands economy, up from 33 per cent in Q3 2013.
“The Government’s spend on infrastructure in the last ten years has almost entirely been London-centric. HS2 represents an important shift in this trend and is exactly what the region needs.”