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LONDON-The Court of Appeal has cleared the way for a pound 1 billion ($1.64 billion) extension to London Underground.

The court threw out a challenge by protestors–the Prince of Wales among them–who claimed infrastructure works would adversely affect the 19th century Bishopsgate Goods Yard. LU wants to build a station and a large mixed-use development on the East London site, as part of its extension of the East London line.

The verdict added that the argument for work on the extension to proceed as quickly as possible was ‘overwhelming’. Lord Justice Buxton said : ‘The need for and benefits of the East London Line Extension are undisputed.’

He added: ‘Extensive evidence has been filed by London Underground and by the Strategic Rail Authority demonstrating that in practical terms there is no alternative to the present plans, and that any further delay would almost certainly be fatal to the project. That evidence, which comes from technical professionals and not just from administrators, has not been challenged.’

The court had been asked to consider a challenge to an earlier ruling in which a high court judge ordered the council to re-consider its grant of consent for the scheme. But he added that if proper procedures were used, there would be nothing to stop the council arriving at the same conclusion and granting consent for the development

But this verdict was challenged by local residents who argued that the requirement of the European Union for Environmental Impact Assessments to be done had not been complied with.

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