THE Government was accused of “cutting corners” to push through plans for a new high speed rail line to Leeds yesterday.
Campaigners trying to block plans for the line, known as HS2, are asking the highest court in the land to force the Government to revisit its plans.
They argue ministers failed to properly assess the impact of HS2 on the environment as required by European Union rules.
The first phase of HS2 will see a line built from London to Birmingham. In the second phase of the project, lines will be built connecting to Leeds and Manchester.
David Elvin QC, representing the HS2 Action Alliance, told the panel of seven Supreme Court justices that there had been “no assessment” of the proposed Y-shaped route.
“What we have here is a cutting of corners,” he said.
The proposed routes would see HS2 wind through the East Midlands and South Yorkshire before delivering passengers to a new station in Leeds city centre on land close to ASDA House.
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “HS2 is absolutely vital for this country if we are to meet the urgent capacity needs we face.
“Attempts to obstruct HS2 have already been firmly rejected by two courts.
“The Government will continue to defend any challenge in the Supreme Court, but strongly believes Parliament is the right place to debate the merits of HS2, not the courts.”
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg yesterday criticised Labour for hinting it may backtrack on its support for HS2.
“It is betraying the north of England, it is betraying the great cities of the north by being so equivocal about HS2,” he said.
Mr Clegg described HS2 as “one of the most important infrastructure projects for this country’s future” that would help close the North-South divide.