Heathrow third-runway blocked by court ruling

The UK’s court of appeal has today ruled that plans for a third runway at London Heathrow airport are unlawful because they do not take into account government commitments relating to climate change.

The summary of judgements states: ”We have concluded, in particular, that the designation of the [plans] was unlawful by reason of a failure to take into account the government’s commitment to the provisions of the Paris Agreement on climate change, concluded in December 2015,” 

The ruling addressed a challenge – brought by a number of local authorities, the mayor of London, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and Plan B Earth – to the UK government’s Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS), which was designated in mid-2018.

The UK’s Planning Act requires that the policy set out in the ANPS “must … include an explanation of how the policy… takes account of government policy relating to the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change”, the judgement explains.

In response to the court ruling a Heathrow spokesperson said:“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.”

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