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Chris Packham to seek permission to appeal dismissal of HS2 challenge

Broadcaster Chris Packham is to seek permission to appeal a Divisional Court ruling that dismissed his review challenge over the Transport Secretary’s decision to continue with the HS2 rail project.

Lord Justice Coulson and Mr Justice Holgate ruled earlier this month that Mr Packham’s application for permission to apply for judicial review must be refused and there was no justification for the grant of any interim injunction to prevent the carrying out of clearance works in six different woodlands, most but not all of which are in Buckinghamshire.

Announcing his plan to appeal, Mr Packham, who is represented by law firm Leigh Day, argued that the Divisional Court misunderstood grounds 2 and 3b of his case which related to consideration of environmental impacts and consideration of the implications of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change on the project.

Leigh Day said he would argue in his appeal that the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Transport were told that the Oakervee Report, on which the government based its decision, set out a sufficient account of the scale and significance of the environmental impacts of Phase 1 of the project, when in fact it had not done so.

He will further argue that although the Secretary of State was aware that HS2 would contribute significantly to climate change in the period up to 2050, he was not told of the legal implications of that for the UK’s international Paris Agreement obligations and therefore failed to take into account the Paris Agreement when making this decision.

Mr Packham said: “Despite the devastating dismissal of our case by the High Court I am determined not to give up. In these times of climate and environmental emergency, resilience is key. Now is not the time to give up, now is the time to muster and protect what we have left. It is heart-breaking that we were not able to stop the clearance works that have already begun on this project…

“I deeply believe that I still have a strong case against this ludicrously environmentally damaging project and I will argue in my appeal that the High Court judgment missed key points which still need to be answered.”

Carol Day, solicitor at law firm Leigh Day, added: ”Mr Packham is seeking to argue that the High Court failed to properly address parts of his claim in relation to the loss of irreplaceable ancient woodlands and climate change. He believes that if the Government is determined to proceed with this costly and damaging project, it must be on the basis of a full and proper understanding of the environmental impacts. Now more than ever it should be recognised that meeting our international environmental obligations has a vital part to play in protecting nature and human health.”

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