Heathrow Airport third runway in CHAOS: Court rules plans illegal

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. 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 government will reportedly not appeal against the court ruling, according to Peter Walker, the political correspondent for the Guardian. 

After the ruling was announced, Mr Khan tweeted: “We won! Today we blocked the Tory government plans to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

“Today’s judgment is a major victory for all Londoners who are passionate about tackling the climate emergency and cleaning up our air.”

Lords Justice Lindblom, Singh and Haddon-Cave said the government failed to take account of its commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change when setting out its support for the airport expansion in its National Policy Statement (NPS).

The UN’s Paris Agreement, which came into force in November 2016, commits signatories to tackling climate change by taking measures to limit global warming to well below 2C.

Lord Justice Lindblom told a packed court: “The Paris Agreement ought to have been taken into account by the Secretary of State in the preparation of the NPS and an explanation given as to how it was taken into account, but it was not.”

The judge said that, having seen the decision in advance, the Government did not oppose a declaration that the NPS was unlawful and had not sought permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

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

Prime Minister Boris Johnson opposed the expansion of the west London airport when he was London’s mayor and promised to “lie down … in front of those bulldozers” to stop the runway being built.

Earlier this month, he said there was “no immediate prospect” of construction beginning.

This is a developing story, more to follow…

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