Green­peace backs le­gal fight against third run­way

Cam­paign­ers sup­port coun­cil’s Heathrow ac­tion

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Alexan­der Ballinger alexan­der.ballinger@trin­i­tymir­

THE in­ter­na­tional en­vi­ron­ment cam­paign group Green­peace has now backed Hilling­don Coun­cil’s plans to take le­gal ac­tion over the pro­posed third run­way ex­pan­sion at Heathrow Air­port.

A de­ci­sion on ex­pand­ing ei­ther Heathrow or Gatwick air­ports was ex­pected to by made by the Govern­ment by the end of the month. But four lo­cal au­thor­i­ties that sur­round the air­port, in­clud­ing Hilling­don, have threat­ened to take le­gal ac­tion if Heathrow is ex­panded.

A pro-ex­pan­sion cam­paign group, Back Heathrow, has called the plans for le­gal ac­tion a waste of tax­pay­ers money.

Green­peace, now back­ing the coun­cils’ calls for a ju­di­cial re­view, says that the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts of ex­pand­ing Heathrow would be un­law­ful. Ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of Green­peace UK, John Sau­ven, said: “A third run­way at Heathrow would be an air pol­lu­tion and car­bon time bomb.

“It would jeop­ar­dise the govern­ment’s chances of meet­ing legally-bind­ing air pol­lu­tion and cli­mate tar­gets de­signed to pro­tect the health and se­cu­rity of mil­lions of peo­ple. If min­is­ters are will­ing to tram­ple over these fun­da­men­tal laws, we’re ready to take them to court to stop them.”

The coun­cils say other claimants could join their al­liance in the com­ing days as the de­ci­sion looms closer. Au­thor­i­ties plan­ning le­gal ac­tion are Hilling­don, Rich­mond, Wandsworth, and Wind­sor and Maiden­head.

Har­ri­son Grant Solic­i­tors have been in­structed to pre­pare a le­gal strat­egy, and Green­peace will be shar­ing the costs and ‘bring­ing new en­vi­ron­men­tal ex­per­tise to the part­ner­ship.’

Ac­cord­ing to the Air­port Com­mis­sion, lead by Sir Howard Davies and pub­lished in 2015, Heathrow and Gatwick are both reach­ing their full ca­pac­i­ties.

The com­mis­sion favoured a new north­west run­way at Heathrow be­cause it would pro­vide 40 new des­ti­na­tions and more than 70,000 new jobs by 2050.

But ex­pand­ing Heathrow to in­clude a third run­way would re­sult in the de­mo­li­tion of 783 homes.

The leader of Hilling­don Coun­cil, Coun­cil­lor Ray Pud­di­foot said: “A new run­way at Heathrow will make al­ready il­le­gal air pol­lu­tion lev­els around the air­port worse and give Heathrow a noise pol­lu­tion record worse that the top five Euro­pean air­ports put to­gether.

“We urge the Govern­ment to con­sider Gatwick as the most re­al­is­tic and sus­tain­able op­tion, and one which can be de­liv­ered at a much re­duced cost to the tax­payer and with far less dam­age to the en­vi­ron­ment and well­be­ing of peo­ple.”

Cam­paign direc­tor of Back Heathrow, Rob Gray, said: “Lo­cal tax­pay­ers will be an­gry that their money is be­ing wasted on lawyers and un­nec­es­sary le­gal ser­vices in­stead of on vi­tal pub­lic ser­vices.

“These coun­cils should not be squan­der­ing money al­lo­cated to them by hard work­ing tax­pay­ers, many of whom are proud of the jobs and in­vest­ment that Heathrow brings to the com­mu­nity.”

Mr Gray added: “Green­peace can spend its money how it likes but it is ironic that it should be back­ing four coun­cils that ac­tively sup­port Gatwick ex­pan­sion when Green­peace is sup­posed to op­pose build­ing any new run­ways any­where.”

The Gazette has ap­proached Heathrow Air­port for com­ment.

Photo: Jack Tay­lor/ Getty Im­ages

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