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THROWN OUT: Anti-HS2 campaigners have permission for legal challenge refused in ‘disappointing outcome’

 Published on: 3rd December 2021   |   By: Bryn Holmes   |   Category: Uncategorized

Misbourne Environmental Protection (MEP) have been left disheartened after their legal challenge against the approval of HS2’s Chiltern Tunnels was thrown out by a High Court judge.

MEP, made up of concerned residents and scientists applied the for a judicial review into the Environment Agency’s (EA) decision with crowdfunded money.

They fear that the project will lead to irreparable damage to Shardeloes Lake, Misbourne Chalk Stream and Chilterns Aquifer.

However, Miss Justice Lieven rejected the attempt, stating: “I have found there is no arguable ground for judicial review… I refuse permission to bring judicial review proceedings.”

MEP cite a previous incident, where 2,500 tonnes of the construction material bentonite, which is highly damaging to flora and fauna in watercourses, was ‘lost’ at the Chalfont St Peter vent site last year.

They have also warned that the cement grout will fill up newly open fissures in the Aquifer (opened up by construction efforts), leading to grout migration that will damage the Misbourne permanently.

The Misbourne is known in the area as globally rare chalk stream and the Aquifer provides 20% of London’s drinking water.

However, Justice Lieven stated that not only did she believe the incident had no legal effect on the approval, but also that both HS2 and the EA considered the potential negative effects of the material and that the risk of grout migration was ‘extremely low’.

Dr. Jim Conboy, MEP Chairman, said: “It is ironic that following the cancellation of the Eastern leg, and collapse of the business case for HS2, the trail of destruction along the phase 1 route continues unabated.

Chris Wilson, Director of MEP, said: “Although the judgement wasn’t in our favour, it doesn’t and shouldn’t deflect us from scrutinising this damaging and unnecessary project.

“We remain deeply concerned as to the long lasting impacts this project could have on our aquifer and precious chalk stream.”

A spokesperson for HS2 said: “We’re pleased the court has once again confirmed that the Environment Agency went through the right processes when it approved the start of work on the Chiltern Tunnel.

“HS2 Ltd take our responsibilities incredibly seriously and we have a world-leading team of engineers, hydrogeologists, and environmental scientists in place to ensure that the tunnelling operation affords the right protection for the environment, and is completed as safely and efficiently as possible.

“As a result, there has been no significant effect on the aquifer since the start of tunnelling six months ago.”

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