High court chal­lenge over Heathrow fails

Coali­tion of coun­cils claimed third run­way was un­law­ful

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

AN at­tempt by cam­paign­ers to bring a High Court chal­lenge against a third run­way at Heathrow Air­port has failed.

A coali­tion of lo­cal coun­cils, in­clud­ing Hilling­don, Rich­mond, Wandsworth and Wind­sor & Maiden­head, to­gether with Green­peace UK and a Hilling­don res­i­dent, claimed the gov­ern­ment’s Oc­to­ber 2016 de­ci­sion to back plans for the run­way is un­law­ful.

It al­leges there was a fail­ure to con­sult be­fore re­sil­ing from un­equiv­o­cal prom­ises that it would never be built and that the gov­ern­ment has failed to recog­nise the project’s un­law­ful air qual­ity im­pacts.

Lawyers for the trans­port sec­re­tary ar­gued that the ju­di­cial re­view could not pro­ceed, say­ing it should not be heard un­til after the con­sul­ta­tion on the National Pol­icy State­ment (NPS) on avi­a­tion is pub­lished in 2017/18.

On Mon­day in London, Mr Justice Cranston struck out the case on the ba­sis that the court had no ju­ris­dic­tion to hear the claim.

Ray Pud­di­foot, leader of Hilling­don Coun­cil, said: “Peo­ple right across London have re­peat­edly voiced their op­po­si­tion to any ex­pan­sion at Heathrow, and our job has al­ways been, and con­tin­ues to be, to rep­re­sent our res­i­dents’ views and to chal­lenge this ter­ri­ble de­ci­sion to al­low a third run­way.

“To­day’s rul­ing is not the end of Heathrow’s prob­lems, it is just the first step in what will be a los­ing bat­tle for them and the gov­ern­ment, nei­ther of which can get around the prob­lem of un­law­ful air qual­ity im­pacts, let alone all of the other is­sues it faces.

“The bla­tant waste of public money by the gov­ern­ment at this time is lam­en­ta­ble.”

Lord True, leader of Rich­mond Coun­cil, said: “The gov­ern­ment has de­layed the in­evitable.

“The ex­pan­sion of Heathrow would be the worst en­vi­ron­men­tal de­ci­sion of any gov­ern­ment in mod­ern times.

“The process in which min­is­ters have made their de­ci­sion is now proven to be in­ad­e­quate, in­com­pe­tent and goes back on a six-year com­mit­ment never to ex­pand the air­port. We will be a thorn in the gov­ern­ment’s side un­til sense pre­vails.”

Green­peace UK ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor John Sau­ven said: “To­day’s rul­ing was about the tim­ing of our le­gal chal­lenge, not its merit.

“It doesn’t change the fact that min­is­ters have no so­lu­tion to the huge air and noise pol­lu­tion prob­lems caused by a third run­way.

“By forg­ing ahead with a flawed con­sul­ta­tion, min­is­ters are just de­lay­ing an in­evitable le­gal chal­lenge, wast­ing more time, en­ergy and public money in the process.

“Ex­pand­ing Heathrow will heap more mis­ery on thou­sands of Lon­don­ers al­ready breath­ing il­le­gal lev­els of air pol­lu­tion and make it im­pos­si­ble for the gov­ern­ment to com­ply with air qual­ity laws.

“The gov­ern­ment should ditch this project as they have promised to do many times in the past.”

CHAL­LENGE: (Top) The CGI vi­sion of the third run­weay; (above) the plan mapped out; (right) Hilling­don Coun­cil leader Ray Pud­di­foot

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