Heathrow Airport awaits ruling on third runway

27 February 2020, 07:41

A decision is to be made today on Heathrow's third runway
A decision is to be made today on Heathrow's third runway. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

Heathrow Airport will find out today if a Court of Appeal challenge against controversial plans for a third runway has succeeded.

A group of councils in London affected by the expansion, environmental charities including Greenpeace, Friends Of The Earth and Plan B, and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, brought legal action over the Government's approval of the plans.

Leading judges will give their ruling at 10am on Thursday, following a hearing in October last year.

Lawyers for the campaigners previously told the court that, when considering the proposals, the then transport secretary Chris Grayling did not take enough account of environmental legislation or of climate change issues.

The campaigners appealed against a High Court ruling in May, which rejected four separate judicial reviews of the Government's decision to approve the plans.

They say the Government's National Policy Statement (NPS) setting out its support for the project failed to properly deal with the impact on air quality, climate change, noise and congestion.

Government lawyers urged the judges to reject the appeals, arguing that the High Court reached the correct conclusion.

The appeals were heard alongside a separate challenge by Heathrow Hub, a consortium with a rival proposal for the airport's expansion.

Support from Labour MPs helped push through the proposals to expand Europe's busiest airport with an overwhelming majority of 296 in a Commons vote in June last year.

Mr Grayling said at the time that the new runway would set a "clear path to our future as a global nation in the post-Brexit world".

Construction could begin in 2021, with the third runway operational by 2026.

Campaigners are expected to gather outside court before the ruling, from 9am.