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Supreme Court rejects legal objection to High Speed 2

The UK Supreme Court has rejected a legal objection to the proposed new 'High Speed 2' rail line, which will connect London with Birmingham and beyond, reports the BBC.

The legal challenge was brought by opponents of the proposed £50bn project that will connect London with Birmingham allowing the journey to be completed in around 50 minutes, compared to one hour 24 minutes at present.

Subsequent stages of the HS2 project will connect other cities in the north of England including Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield. Journey times to Manchester from London's Heathrow Terminal 5 are expected to be around 90 minutes, less than half of the current journey time.

Opponents of the scheme say the vast cost and enormous environmental impact are not justified by the modest reductions in journey times. They also see the project as causing an unacceptable level of disruption to local communities.

They argued in court that the Government had not correctly followed the rules when assessing the environmental impact of the project.

The legal challenge was brought jointly by the HS2 Action Alliance (HS2AA) a campaign group, as well as local councils and Heathrow Hub campaigners.

The Supreme Court dismissed the appeals from an earlier Court of Appeal decision ruling that the Government had successfully adhered to the rules when conducting a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and had also followed the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive.

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer told the BBC that HS2 had been fully vindicated by the ruling.

"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," she said of the project.

The campaign director for HS2AA said this was not the end of the road.

"We are very disappointed, but it is absolutely not the end of the road. We believe this is a wrong decision," she said.