CHRIS Packham has lost a Court of Appeal bid to bring a legal challenge against the government over the controversial HS2 rail scheme.

The TV presenter, who lives in the New Forest, argued there were failings in the way the government reached its decision to give the project the go-ahead.

He took his fight to the Court of Appeal after being refused permission for a full judicial review over the government's decision to approve the scheme.

But in a ruling today three senior judges upheld the High Court's decision and dismissed Mr Packham's claim.

In a statement after the ruling, Mr Packham said he was "deeply disappointed" by the decision.

Giving the court's ruling, Lord Justice Lindblom said the court "rejected both of Mr Packham's substantive grounds of appeal as unarguable".

In written submissions, David Wolfe QC, for Mr Packham, argued ministers would have proceeded with making a decision on HS2 on the basis that the report from the government-commissioned Oakervee Review would have explained what they needed to know about the environmental impacts of the project, when in fact, it did not.

Timothy Mould QC, barrister for the government, argued that Mr Packham's claim should be dismissed.

In court documents, he said the High Court judges were right to dismiss the claim and that it "has no realistic prospect of success".

Mr Mould also said: "It is simply fanciful for the appellant to assume that the first respondent (the Secretary of State for Transport) knew nothing about the public legislative and procedural history of HS2, including the comprehensive assessment of environmental impacts undertaken in accordance with parliamentary procedures, beyond that which was drawn to his attention by the report itself."

In his statement, Mr Packham said: "We are a world away from the place we were when we issued the original claim for judicial review.

"Covid-19 has turned the state of the UK finances and the public's attitudes towards climate change upside down.

"People now see that a scheme for a railway which will tear up the countryside so that we can shave a few minutes off a journey time, makes no sense in the contemporary workplace.

"The HS2 project is not about the future, it's about preserving a past which has now changed so radically since the pandemic."

HS2 is a new high-speed rail network that, when completed, should connect London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, along with other points in the country.

In a statement, an HS2 spokesman said: "From the outset HS2 Ltd has taken our commitment to the environment extremely seriously."