In a judgment handed down on 6th August 2014, following a ‘rolled-up’ hearing on 10 June, Mr Justice Lindblom dismissed a challenge to the safeguarding directions issued by the Secretary of State for Transport to protect land likely to be required for the construction and operation of HS2 Phase 1. The challenge was brought by HS2 Action Alliance and Hillingdon LBC, who contended that the Secretary of State had acted unlawfully in issuing the safeguarding directions without having conducted an SEA. Granting permission to proceed with the claim but dismissing the claim itself, Lindblom J accepted that the safeguarding directions were “required by legislative, regulatory or administrative provisions” within the meaning of article 2 of the SEA Directive but rejected the contention that they constituted a “plan or programme” which “set the framework for future development consent of projects…” for the purposes of article 3(2) of the Directive, applying the principles identified by the Supreme Court in an earlier judicial review of the HS2 scheme (R. (on the application of Buckinghamshire County Council and others) v Secretary of State for Transport  1 W.L.R. 324). He concluded by stating that, had the SEA Directive applied to the directions, the failure to subject them to SEA would have justified a quashing order.
David Elvin QC and Charles Banner acted for the Claimants.