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Heathrow expansion labelled "unlawful" in landmark court ruling
Heathrow expansion labelled "unlawful" in landmark court ruling

Heathrow expansion labelled “unlawful” in landmark court ruling

The expansion plans at Heathrow Airport have been halted after a court ruling.

The Court of Appeal declared the third runway plans that were approved by the government are unlawful because climate commitments have not been taken into account.

In a first for a major infrastructure project in the UK, judges have said that plans are illegal because they breach the commitments made by the UK to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tackle the climate emergency.

It is a groundbreaking ruling, the effects of which could reach much further than Heathrow Airport; it also positions the net-zero commitment by 2050 front and centre of future policy plans.

Various environmental groups, councils and the Mayor of London put forward the case to the Court of Appeal, which resulted in scenes of jubilation outside the court room.

It has to throw the controversial third runway scheme at Heathrow Airport into serious doubt; the Prime Minister has been always been against the expansion, and the Transport Secretary – who has previously cast doubt on the scheme – responded to the ruling by tweeting that the decision would not be appealed by the government.

Unless the government can make the case that the expansion is compatible with commitments under the Paris agreement, which would involve radically reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it places real questions marks over the project.

Heathrow say they will appeal the decision, and believe the judicial review “explicitly does not prevent Heathrow expansion from moving ahead.”

A 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 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 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.”

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