as part of a group legal challenge to a 3rd runway at Heathrow
people, has brought a legal challenge against the Government’s decision to give the green
light to third runway at Heathrow airport. The case is being heard today at the High Court. It is expected to last for 3 days. The Government and BAA claim that a third runway won’t breach air and noise quality
limits, and won’t undermine the UK’s fight against climate change. But the facts suggest
Speaking on behalf of the local councils Wandsworth leader Edward Lister said:
Lawyers representing the coalition will argue that the Heathrow decision which the government announced in January 2009 is fundamentally different from the proposals on which the Government originally consulted, meaning the consultation was deeply flawed and the decision unlawful.
After a high-profile campaign leading to reported splits and arguments in cabinet, the decision announced by Geoff Hoon included a number of additional measures presumably designed to appease the green lobby.The Government now say they will allocate extra capacity via something they call “green
slots” which, they argue, would only allow the most efficient planes to use the new runway,
and they have promised to limit growth according to carbon reduction targets, announcing a
new target to keep UK aviation emissions below 2005 levels by 2050.
The Government also announced to Parliament that only half of the capacity of the new
runway will be used, pending a review in 2020 of whether environmental conditions can be
met with full use of the runway.
Finally, the government failed to properly consider how the millions of extra passengers
generated by the runway would access Heathrow. The Piccadilly line, for example, would not
be able to cope and expensive transport upgrades may well be required – though they were
not considered in the consultation.
These and other issues call into question the rationale for the third runway – if the
With the environmental case for airport expansion already fatally undermined by the