Heathrow: Environment campaigners win appeal against third runway

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Campaigners have won a Court of Appeal ruling over controversial plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport on environmental grounds.

A group of councils and environmental organisations launched legal action over the government’s 2018 approval of the plans.

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

Lords Justice Lindblom, Singh and Haddon-Cave today ruled in their favour, saying the government had not given enough consideration to its commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change when setting out its support for the proposals in its National Policy Statement.

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.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who supported the legal battle, hailed the decision as a “major victory” for Londoners who care about climate change.

He 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.”

WATCH: Campaigner Rob Barnstone says the verdict is the 'beginning of the end' for the expansion

Heathrow has said it will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court – the highest court in the country.

The airport claims a third runway is needed because both of its current runways are full and have been operating at 98 per cent capacity for more than a decade.

This morning’s result could prove difficult for Boris Johnson, who has long opposed the expansion of the west London airport but is now the Prime Minister of the government that backed it

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

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