Heathrow third runway legal challenge set for Court of Appeal hearing

16 October 2019, 19:17

Campaigners are urging the Government to reconsider expansion at Heathrow
Campaigners are urging the Government to reconsider expansion at Heathrow. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Campaigners trying to block a third runway at Heathrow will have their legal challenge over the controversial plans heard by the Court of Appeal.

An anti-expansion group of councils, residents, environmental charities and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan brought four separate judicial reviews of the Government's decision to approve the plans at the High Court in March.

Those cases were dismissed in May, but their appeals against that ruling will be heard in London over four days starting on Thursday.

Giving reasons for his decision, which he made based on case documents without a hearing, the judge said: "The importance of the issues raised in these and the related proceedings is obvious."

The case, against the Department for Transport, is being brought by local authorities and residents in London affected by the expansion, and charities including Greenpeace, Friends Of The Earth and Plan B.

Paul McGuinness, chairman of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said: "If the unavoidable increases in noise pollution and poorer air quality were not enough, the recent inclusion of a net zero carbon target in the Climate Change Act has tightened the noose around Heathrow expansion even further.

"The Committee on Climate Change has highlighted that demand for aviation must be limited and that a third runway at Heathrow would inevitably mean restrictions on capacity at other airports across the UK.

"It's now vital for Government to pause plans for Heathrow expansion, to reassess airport capacity strategy for the whole country."

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.

Then transport secretary Chris 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.