Pickmere horse breeder questions HS2 High Court decision

John Keleher and Pat Mather run the Pickmere Stud, which lies directly in the path of HS2

John Keleher and Pat Mather run the Pickmere Stud, which lies directly in the path of HS2

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A PICKMERE businessman whose thriving horse stud farm will be demolished by HS2 has questioned a ‘dangerous precedent’ set by the High Court.

John Keleher runs the Pickmere Stud at School Farm, which lies directly in the path of the planned £42 billion high speed railway line.

Last week, the High Court threw out a judicial review brought by anti-HS2 campaigners, who argued the Government has not carried out a strategic environmental assessment under EU directives.

But John, a member of the All Cheshire Against HS2 and One Voice campaign groups, believes the decision leaves the door open for others to bypass legislation.

“It’s very difficult to understand how the Government can ride roughshod over this directive when it’s something they’ve signed up to,” said John.

“It’s really quite worrying. The Government are bulldozing this through and don’t want to listen to anybody else.

“This will certainly have a long reaching affect. If we’re disregarding these conditions now, then there’s a dangerous precedent set whereby others can disregard them for future projects.

“What’s to stop others turning round and saying: ‘Oh well, this directive didn’t apply to HS2, so why should it apply to us?’”

Delivering his judgement, Mr Justice Lindblom said: “Applying the principles identified by the Supreme Court, I find it impossible to conclude that the safeguarding directions fall within the scope of the SEA Directive.”

Afterwards, Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said: “I invite interested groups to work with us through the Parliamentary process on making HS2 the very best it can be, and not to waste money on costly and fruitless court cases.”

“The project had a huge vote of support in Parliament, recognising the importance of HS2 for the long term economy of the country. It will provide jobs, skills and free up space on our congested network for more trains and more passengers.”

What do you think? Email northwich@guardiangrp.co.uk or write to Guardian Series Newspapers, Theatre Court, Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 5HB.

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