A law expert today said the Government should brace itself for legal challenges to plans for a high-speed rail link in Yorkshire.
Matthew Howarth, partner and head of the commercial litigation team at law firm Gordons, said he had received “several” approaches from people and organisations who would be affected by the proposed local element of the HS2 scheme.
Under plans announced in January, the network’s northern line will run from Birmingham to Leeds before turning east and passing Garforth, Micklefield and Church Fenton.
Mr Howarth, whose firm has offices in Leeds and Bradford, said there had already been five substantial judicial review applications by groups opposed to the route proposed for the initial London-Birmingham section of HS2.
A judicial review is a court proceeding where a judge considers the lawfulness of a ruling made by a public body.
And Mr Howarth believes more reviews could be on the way in relation to the Yorkshire route.
He said: “It’s clear that groups of well-organised and impressively-represented objectors have been able to mount formidable judicial review challenges to the decision-making process on the southern stretch of HS2 and lessons learned in those cases will inform further challenges in the north.”
He went on: “We expect to be contacted by more potential objectors as the consultation process over the proposed northern route continues.”
Work on the northern section of the HS2 system is scheduled to get under way in the mid-2020s.
It is hoped, as things stand, that the new line will be up-and-running in 2032.
As previously reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post, councillors in Leeds have called on the Government to hold urgent talks with residents concerned their communities could be ripped apart by HS2.
Speaking last month, Leeds City Council leader Coun Keith Wakefield said: “We are not against the investment or the project, but we would look for discussions about those communities that may be affected.”
HS2 would cost £32bn but would also reduce the current Leeds-London Kings Cross rail journey time of two hours and 15 minutes by almost an hour.