It seems the plans to build the third runway at Heathrow have been thrown into doubt, with Court of Appeal blocking it, based on it take climate commitments into account.
Heathrow Airport will itself challenge the appeal in the Supreme Court, however, Her Majesties Government said it would not, viewing it as a private initiative.
The case was brought before the Court of Appeal by ht by environmental groups, councils and the Mayor of London.
With this, the current plan to expand Heathrow with the third runway is currently sitting dead in the water.
It’s never been easy to agree to expand Heathrow
Expanding Heathrow has always been controversial, with with a planned growth in 2009 which was announced in the then Labour Leader Gordon Brown – only for it to be shot down by the Conservative/Liberal Democrats coalition in 2010.
In 2015, the Airports Commission announced that Heathrow should be chosen for expansion, rather than a new airport in the Thames Estuary or expansion of Gatwick or Stanstead.
In 2018 and more can-kicking action, MP’s finally agreed to vote on an expansion (with the current Prime Minster conveniently being away… after saying
“I will lie down with you in front of those bulldozers and stop the construction of that third runway.”
Today marks yet another stumble in the expansion of the main passenger hub in the UK
Heathrow Airport released a statement
“The Court of Appeal dismissed all appeals against the government – including on “noise” and “air quality” – apart from one which is eminently fixable. We will appeal to the Supreme Court on this one issue and are confident that we will be successful.
In the meantime, we are ready to work with the Government to fix the issue that the court has raised. Heathrow has taken a lead in getting the UK aviation sector to commit to a plan to get to Net Zero emissions by 2050, in line with the Paris Accord.
Expanding Heathrow, Britain’s biggest port and only hub, is essential to achieving the Prime Minister’s vision of Global Britain. We will get it done the right way, without jeopardising the planet’s future. Let’s get Heathrow done.”
Will Rundle, head of legal at Friends of the Earth, said
“This ruling is an absolutely ground-breaking result for climate justice. We were fighting a project that would have had dire implications for present and future generations.”
“We are delighted with The Court of Appeal’s ruling, which goes to show the massive importance of the legal system to check the clear abuse of state power by government, such as in this case.
“Shockingly, this case revealed that the government accepted legal advice that it should not consider the Paris Agreement when giving the third runway the go-ahead. The Court has said very clearly that was illegal.
Let’s see how the appeal go
Today will be a setback for the expansion plan – make no mistake, and Heathrow Airport will be coming up with a plan to address these issues.
Whilst the airport believes that the barriers are achievable, the environmental stakeholders will use legislation to try and keep the expansion from happening (citing the move to the UK attempting to move to the nation to being carbon-neutral by 2050).
As for being competitive? Expect the usual arguments to come out (which I won’t rehash here).
Suffice to say – the direction to a third runway at LHR remains as hard as ever.