Chris Packham refused permission to appeal on decision relating to construction of HS2


Re: R (Packham) v Secretary of State for Transport [2020] EWCA Civ 1004

HS2 is a high-speed railway project designed to connect London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, with intermediate stations linked to the existing national rail network. Its construction is envisaged in phases, under the High Speed Rail (London– West Midlands) Act 2017 giving the necessary powers for the construction and operation of each phase. These proceedings concern a challenge by the applicant, Christopher Packham, to the Government’s decision on 11 February 2020 to proceed with HS2. The grounds of challenge involve consideration of the Oakervee review report and climate change issues. Mr Packham seeks permission to appeal against the Divisional Court’s refusal to grant permission to apply for judicial review.

The applicant maintained two grounds of appeal. The first was that the Government erred in law by misunderstanding or ignoring local environmental concerns and failing to examine the environmental effects of HS2 as it ought to have done. The second was that the Government erred in law by failing to take account of the effect of the project on greenhouse gas emissions between now and 2050, in the light of the Government’s obligations under the Paris Agreement and the Climate Change Act 2008.

Held: the court upholds the Divisional Court’s decision and refused Mr Packham’s application for permission to appeal and the application for permission to apply for judicial review. The court rejected both of Mr Packham’s substantive grounds of appeal as unarguable.

David Wolfe QC was involved in this case.